Artist-in-Residence Site:  Benton-Stearns Voyagers
324 3rd Ave. S., Sauk Rapids (Con. Dist. 6)

Collaborating Teacher: Patty Zimmerman
Teaching Artist: Papa Diop
Art form: Drumming/Dancing

Project Overview
During the residency students were introduced to Senegal, Djembe drumming and West African dancing. Papa shared his cultural experience and an encouraging story about his recovery and how art is important in the development of everyone. Students worked collaboratively with peers, staff and the artist to discover how to play the Djembe, learn traditional songs and dances. By encouraging students to explore movement and sound in an intimate, hands-on manner, they had an opportunity to learn a unique genre of music and dance, which promotes cultural awareness. Students had the opportunity to perform for the school and community on the last day of the residency. View a news article and video:

Project Highlights

“Since we are a small special education site our students’ only chance to experience music lessons is through a program like VSA Minnesota. While this is not a long term experience, the mere chance to participate in a residency program is an incredible opportunity for our students! It was a joy to see how he interacted with students and the rapport that developed between them. He was patient, offered feedback in a positive and nurturing manner, and talked to the students about his life journey and pointed out that they, too, have ‘bumps in the road’ but to persevere. Papa most definitely enhanced the feelings of self-worth in our students. This residency was the topic of conversation between staff and students all week long and for several days into the next week.” – Patty Zimmerman, Teacher

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