April 17, 2014

Did you know that only 5% of the art currently on display in U.S. museums was made by women artists? Sixth grade student Alex Kyriakakis welcomed a large audience to Walden School’s Spring Sing, and in the spirit of learning, introduced the show’s theme:  “CREATIVE WOMEN: Exploring Music, Dance, and Storytelling.”

The performances by all students in grades Pre-Kindergarten through sixth grade highlighted the work of female artists. Students thought this was an important topic to explore as a community for several reasons. Kryiakakis said, “According to the US Census in 2009, there are 158.6 million women in the United States. That is a big imbalance when only 5% of our museums’ artists are women. We know historic “social conventions” limited the training or access available to women artists and the ways they could market art to patrons. And some may say this gender bias is less obvious today, but contemporary women artists still face obstacles.”

Her classmate Abigail Sewell continued, “For our performance this evening, our classes have picked all female musicians, dancers, and storytellers because we think if Art is supposed to be a reflection of society, we have to make spaces like these available to tell the Brave Herstoryof the Arts.”

The performance began with Pre-Kindergarten students scatting a song inspired by the First Lady of Song, Ella Fitzgerald, with the help of Walden School Storyteller Stephanie Townes. Other acts included choreography inspired by Martha Graham and Isadora Duncan, songs by Nina Simone and Bessie Jones, and the evening concluded with the entire auditorium singing along to the Carole King/ Sara Barellies medley recently performed at the Grammy Awards.

Sixth grader Dax Gutshall closed the evening’s performance with a bit of history about King’s activism and her collaboration with Barellies saying, “As we close our show we would like to celebrate all of the brave women that have been spoken of here tonight, and remind ourselves about the simple importance of bravery in our everyday lives. Please welcome 4th and 5th graders to the stage to perform their rendition of  ‘Beautifully Brave.’”

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