Beauty and Hope in the U.S.

For our show American Valentine (Feb. 13-16, 2020 at Indiana Repertory Theatre), company dancers were invited to chorograph what they found beautiful or hopeful about our country. Beginnning in August 2019, we approched several organizations to see if they would create art and/or written pieces with the same idea that the dancers worked with. Those responses would be displayed in the IRT lobby during our show, allowing audiences to potentially deepen their experiences at the theater. 

Herron High School

Icarus collage web

Herron High School art teacher Susan Grade invited her students to create a sculpture to represent their vision of what they found hopeful and/or beautiful about the U.S. After much discussion, they created the Artists’ Statement below as a starting point. “I tried to guide the students, but also to stay out of their way,” said teacher Grade. “This is their vision/project.” The group decided to focus on Icarus from Greek mythology as being a hopeful image, but also as a warning. Our wings give us freedom, but we must not fly too close to the sun. We must be thoughtful about how we use the freedoms we’ve been given in the U.S.

Herron artists statement

Participating Students 
Chance Blackwell, Zachary Bland, Omoro Burns, Jacob Dinsmore, Jaila Duncan, Tiana Esposito, Haden Green, Lilly Gustin, Ethan Houser, Isabella Melini, Elaina Murphy, Kameron Overton, Trevor Roesch, Kimberly Sansbury, Kristin Shaw, Hunter Tobin, Francis Van Schaik, Max Walker

Westlake Elementary School

Westlake 3rdFraders web

Third graders at Westlake Elementary School were invited to answer any of the following prompts on paper hearts, as a Valentine to the U.S. Their options were: One thing I love about America is..., America is great because..., I love America because..., _________ is why America is great, and The reason I love America is...

Third Grade Teachers at Westlake Elementary School
Amy Hollingsworth, Jibrea Perryman, Ashley Sasser, Kristin Watson, Jessica Williams

Indiana Writers Center

Writers Center web

Curated by Barbara Shoup

Hope Is Like a Skateboard
Hope is like the grip tape on my
skateboard that’s barely holding on
because it’s been used too many times.

Hope is the glue that puts the
new neon green grip tape on so it
can make it.

Hope is the wheels on my board that
go through dirts and cracks but never
stop moving.

Hope is the way my board will
let me do a 360 nose grind tray flip
and not crack from the pressure.

Hope is the power of the board
that doesn’t show.

Hope is the magic of the board
that will take you anywhere you want.

Hope is all in an ordinary, special,
beat up, prize winning board, just
like it’s in you.

I’m teaching kids to read. Three who couldn’t read last year can read now. Two who made mistakes last week are reading fluently now One asked me, “What does this word mean?” 

Hope lives in the eyes of children.

One of my students has been going out of his way to correct his peers when they use anti-queer slurs. In his words, “No one deserves to feel like they are less.”

My moment of hope is when I’m in nature and I see a majestic bald eagle perched really on its nest, overlooking the land below. I feel it’s powerful, both literally and metaphorically —we will overcome and survive anything, like the bald eagle. 

Watching children of all races/sexualities playing with one another. Not caring or aware of their races/sexualities. Seeing that gives me hope that there will be a day that our differences will be celebrated more than divided/criticizes.
—Ms. Latrice Young Duniquellc 

The teenage young men and women I teach look adults in the eyes and are entirely comfortable with me even though I am an old woman to them. We respect each other’s humor, thoughts, backgrounds, experiences, ages.

A simultaneous, exquisite fuschia-tinged moonrise and sunset Friday (11/8) night is my hope of late. Unusual that it doesn’t relate to humans, yet my hope is this kind of beauty in nature will bring more to work to heal our climate, our Earth. 

I work in school administration. That mean much of my day is spent “giving detention,” a practice I find worthless, when I consider the greater call of changing lives. But, recently, a student gave me a “thank you” card for being a person she can trust and who brightens her day That day, I saw HOPE.

Events like [The World We Live(d) In], where the focus is on truthful expression gives me hope. Plays, open mics, talk-backs, and any other production.
—Dom Shelby 

Christel House Academy South

ChristelHouseAcademySouth web

Students in grades 9-12 at Christel House Academy South were asked to discuss what artists contribute to the world. So, What is an artist? Students were engaged in a discussion on how artists create, respond, perform, and connect to and through music and various forms of the arts to communicate various topics. They were then asked to write a paper with one of two themes: What does America Mean to Me or What Do I Want America to Become. This essay was presented as an opportunity to use their "artist voices” and process to communicate their perspectives on the topics given. I did connect this essay to the IDOE Music ensemble "connecting" Standards.
— Sedalia Brown, Teacher

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