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Behind the Workshops

They are the staple to Bright Starts’ goals, unity and inspiration. Without them, Bright Starts would only be a dream with hopeful potential. Bright Starts would not be where it is today if it wasn’t for the dedication and devotion of the teachers.

Adrienne Sanchez has been a fiber art teacher at Bright Starts for three years. Her commitment to the program falls in the summer, when she has taught students how to make jackets, suits, wall pieces and dolls. Sanchez shows her students how to cut the fabric, paste it, dye it, and sew it together for a final production.

“When the kids connect with fabric and using a machine for the first time, they’re so happy.” Sanchez said. “They know now they can do art with the fabric and that’s the joy.”

“We have Harriet Whims who is a professional writer and she spends time helping students craft a story and also helps them write plays.” McCallum said. “She helps them develop concepts of character and at the same construct puppets and learn how to manipulate them.”

Whims is one of the 25 to 30 artists McCallum hires every eight month period for the 22 workshops provided. The artists who invest their time in the program usually hear about the Bright Starts program through word of mouth or through the Baltimore Promotion of the Arts.

“Artists are pre-selected to go into schools and do residencies,” McCallum said. “There is a one day meeting where you can meet the artists and interview them which is something I have done in the past. People who are attached to the Baltimore Promotion of Arts, which is a huge public interest agency, the names are funneled to Bright Starts who are interested in teaching.”

McCallum works hand in hand with her program assistant Chevon Jay, a junior art major attending Howard Community College. The duo meets frequently and decides on particular workshops they would like to implement for the eight-month period.

“We create a skeleton of the kinds of workshops we want to see and we see from our general roster (of artists) who we want to plug in and what classes, and then we will work with those artists to identify the project for the workshop.” McCallum said. “Most of them have a good deal of experience teaching (and) they’re anxious to try new things.”

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