Through the artists-in-residence program, local artists are provided with creative spaces to present programming in the Sistrunk neighbourhood at five locations offered by the Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale (HACFL). “We wanted to offer artists community space so that they could engage with the community while showcasing their craft,” said Scott Strawbridge, director of development and facilities for HACFL.
One space, Young At Art Art House, a community art studio, hosted a program of four Teach the Teacher healthy eating classes led by Karen Cherry and husband, chef Chad Cherry. “If we can teach the leaders in the community better nutrition and healthy lifestyles then they can go out and spread the word,” Chad Cherry said during a class in which he prepared nutritious and delicious meals. Other classes focused on the foundation of nutritional cooking and stocking a pantry; grocery shopping in area stores; growing a garden; and creating individual action plans for healthy eating.
TOUCH (Transforming Our Community’s Health) Broward and the Broward Cultural Division sponsored the program, through the Destination Sistrunk initiative. “Learning and self-awareness are foundational goals of Destination Sistrunk,” said Grace Kewl-Durfey, Broward Cultural Division’s arts education administrator. Art House is also hosting artists Myrna Meerof and Tara Chadwick in the artist-in-residence program. Meerof, of Parkland, reads fairy tales such as Sleeping Beauty, Peer Gynt and The Nutcracker to children, which includes partially completed illustrations that the children fill in with color, as well as music and period costumes from opera or ballet performances of the story.
“We’re trying to prepare [them] for kindergarten through the introduction of reading comprehension,” Meerof said. “Studies have shown that intervention in pre-school can bring success in school all the way through college.” Chadwick, of Miramar, uses dancing, singing and the spoken word in cultural productions. “I’m trying to spark interest in self-learning,” she said. “I want them to know who they are and where they are.” Read more in the next few blogs about other creative residency spaces, The Megaphone, Cannonball Studios and events at The Elks Lodge.