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Celebrating a world-wide trait

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By Kirsten Laskey

An interest in partying is a world-trait. Thursday, Aspen Elementary School will be whooping it up in the form of a carnival.

The entire school is getting involved, Stephanie Rittner, an art teacher said, is getting involved. Kindergarteners through sixth-graders will participate in a parade, exhibit their artwork and second- and first-graders will perform a dance.

Music will also be played.

The parade, which will be for parents, will begin at   1:45 p.m.

The program was supported by a Fine Arts Education grant. The state awards the grant, Rittner said and the district received the money for its elementary art for the past four years.

An exhibit held at the Santa Fe Folk Art Museum inspired the curriculum.

“We were looking at the idea of the world being a global community,” Rittner said. “So instead of looking at differences, I wanted to look at similarities so a number of years ago, the Folk Art Museum is Santa Fe did a show on carnival costumes from around the world, so I just used that as the inspiration for the project with the kids.”

She explained Aurelia Gomez of the Folk Art Museum put together the curriculum, which included a guide of carnivals, pictures of costumes and masks, a video of the different parades and celebrations and background information on the countries.

Rittner’s students looked at artwork and carnival celebrations held in countries throughout the world including the U.S., Venice, Brazil, Trinidad, Tobago, Switzerland, Bolivia and Spain.

Students also studied the costumes and discussed how all these countries share a commonality, which is they all like to celebrate.

 Rittner said the students have really responded positively to the program. They were eager to learn something that is applicable to the entire world.

“They like knowing they do the same thing in Brazil … we have a multi-cultural (community),” Ritnner said.

She explained one of her students, who is from Argentina, said a carnival is celebrated in that country, too.

“It was nice to see the kids make a global connection in a good way,” Rittner said. The public school district has been fortunate to have this grant to make programs like the carnival possible, she said.

“I think LAPS has been very lucky to receive this grant and we are in jeopardy of losing it next year because as of now we don’t have anybody to write it,” she said. “My hopes would be that somehow we will problem solve it and try it for one more year.”

Without the grant, Rittner said, the artist-in-residence and music programs will not be possible.