C.G. Woodson students work
on multi-cultural showcase
BY CHANEL DAVIS
Students at Cjtrter G. Woodson are
learning new move^ that they'll be ready
to show off at the end of the week in a
The Hispanic Arts Initiative and the
school have teamed up to create a program
that will allow students to participate in a
cross-cultural program between Latino
and African-American communities, the
school's largest demographics.
The Initiative, a nonprofit, is dedicated
to ensuring that Latino culture and artists
are authentically represented and integrat
ed into the Triad communities.
"The shifts aren't really being
addressed in the school system so the idea
of this three-week residency is to explore
the shared cultural heritage between
Latinos and African-Americans because
Latino is very diverse and it has many ele
ments in it," said Executive Director Maria
H. Sanchez-Boudy. "We certainly have a
lot of indigenous and African influence. In
fact in Cuba, our music is called Afro
Cuban music since it has so much influ
The program is funded by the The /fits
Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth
County through a Wells Fargo Arts-In
Education Grant and allows for artists to
come into the school and work with stu
dents for three weeks. Each week a differ
ent cultural influence is addressed.
"We get a grant every year to work in
the schools and I already had an earlier
relationship with Carter G., so for this year
I dedicated to address social topics and
work it through the arts," Sanchez-Boudy
"I know that there have been tremen
dous population shifts in this country over
the past 10 to 15 years."
The artists work with third-, fourth
and fifth-graders using interactive dia
logue, music and dance to focus on the
positive aspects of the school's diversity.
The school, which started out as an
African-American charter school, has seen
an influx of Latino students within the last
few years, according to Sanchez-Boudy,
due to the school's location.
"Waughtown and Vargrave is really the
heart of the Latino community. There's
been a shift in their (Carter G. Woodson's)
student body, which has gone from 100
percent African-American to a 50-50 per
cent very fast," Sanchez-Boudy said.
"With that comes challenges with cultural
Sanchez-Boudy said that the best way
to help with the integration is to use the
arts, especially dancing.
"The arts, in my opinion, become a
very good platform to explore what we
have in common and bridge the cultural
gap. The arts are neutral," she said.
" When you're watching someone
dance salsa, what's going through her
mind is not "gosh they're Latino" or this or
that. You just move to the music, your
body dances and you enjoy the moment."
The school has also appreciated the
ing the opportunity to the area.
"The opportunity for children, in any
school environment, particularly ours, to
become educated on the global behavior of
a shared culture is important historically,"
said Ruth Hopkins, executive director at
Carter G.Woodson school. "It is important
that this initiative has been set up to ensure
the correct dissemination of information
about cultures. They've been able to set up
a classroom setting, in our library, every
Tuesday this month where they've brought
in enriching artists that showed the style of
art, dance and musical song that twines the
two cultures together."
The session culminates with a final
performance on Friday, March 20, called
"Our Shared Cultural
Heritage" which will be held
in the school's gym, 437
Goldfloss St., from 6 to.7
p.m. The concert, which is
free and open to the public,
reflects all of the different
cultures that were studied.
"The concert is open to
the public because I wanted
to make sure we had as
much community impact as
we possibly could for this grant," Sanchez
Hopkins also invites parents and. the
community out. too, so that students can
share the information they've learned and
hopes that attendees come prepared to
learn something new about each other.
"There has been a great response and
participation from students. The best thing
we could do to share this information with
the community is to try and get them to
come together on Friday to see these dif
ferent costumes, instruments and do a seri
ous teach-in with the information and
enjoyment around the cultures. We are
more alike than we are different in this
world," she said.
For more information, go to http://his
panicartsinitiati ve .org.
Iara Calheira Kendrick teaches the children dance moves.
Daniel Diaz played drums to teach the children
about Latino music and dance.
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