The Youth Arts Safari is a three week summer camp hosted by the George Washington Carver Museum in Austin, TX. The Program explores creativity through music, movement, arts & crafts while learning about Black contributors to the Arts.
GTBP provides movie enriched curriculum for the culturally responsive classroom. Through partnerships with educators, schools and cultural organizations, we are creating opportunities for youth to become more informed about the world around them and excited about learning.
A chance meeting evolves into a partnership
During SXSW 2019, Trinket Lewis of GTBP attended the Arts & Cultural Centers Educational Resources panel. There, she met panelist Faith Weaver, the Education Coordinator at the Carver Museum. Trinket thought GTBP’s goal of transforming youth through a movie enriched curriculum would resonate with the museum's educational programming, and she introduced the concept to Faith. A few weeks later, Faith reached out with a partnership offer.
“I liked that GTBP uses film as an educational resource, and thought their curriculum could be a good satellite program for the Carver Museum.” - Faith Weaver, Culture & Arts Education Coordinator
Excited about the partnership, the founders embraced the opportunity to pilot the GTBP summer program and entered a classroom of middle schoolers to see their vision of transforming future leaders come to life!
AMElia'S CLOSET MAKES THE CUT
Rooted in social-emotional learning (SEL), with all the right ingredients from empathetic characters to social issues like self-esteem, integrity, and empowerment, GTBP elected to create a learning experience around the short film, Amelia's Closet. GTBP decided the film fit perfectly into the lives of middle schoolers, as they are faced with a critical life transition when children struggle with a host of environmental adjustments.
Amelia’s Closet is a coming-of-age short film about an 11-year-old girl who is heavily bullied at school and often left feeling powerless. Writer & Director Halima Lucas was inspired to create the film while she was a film student at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.
Young people who are perceived as different from their peers are often at risk for being bullied. We saw Amelia's Closet as a glimpse into the world of a young girl who is bullied and her journey to self-empowerment." -Trinket T. Lewis, GTBP
Action! GTBP ENTERS THE CLASSROOM
GTBP was tasked with creating a curriculum that was easy to facilitate and absorb, allowing space to connect with the Leaders during a week of instruction.
After creating a fun environment with “Where Do You Stand?” - an activity that stimulates learning through movement - and introducing 'Spikey' - the classroom discussion management toy - GTBP was able to tackle controversial statements and open a dialogue about bullying.
GTBP transitioned fleeting thoughts into real life experiences by introducing a clip from the film Wonder. In this film, a boy with facial differences enters a mainstream elementary school for the first time.
"There is a girl at my school that is always alone and sad. I think she needs a friend. I’ll try to be her friend this year and maybe so will my friends.” - Safari Arts Leader
The Leaders impressed us with their thoughtful questions and comments about themes like isolation, revenge, and integrity. The energy level was so high, we couldn't wait until the next day to show the movie.” - Rakeda L. Ervin, GTBP
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT...
The Leaders were excited to watch Amelia’s Closet! Before showing the movie, GTBP challenged the Leaders’ preconceived ideas with the Essential Question, “How do our relationships with others affect us?” New vocabulary terms were introduced, setting the Leaders up to fully receive the content of the story.
"Movies are a great way to spark engagement and curiosity among students when the content is relevant to their lives. The Leaders found personal connections to the characters in "Amelia's Closet." -Rakeda L. Ervin, GTBP
"Watching the movie and talking about bullying really makes me think about the kids at my school. I want to see kids not being mean and judging others.” -Safari Arts Leader
TALKBACK WITH HALIMA LUCAS
Talking with writer and director Halima Lucas offered the Leaders a rare opportunity to understand the depth of Amelia’s pain and her experiences in the story.
"Movies have the power to insert you fully and completely into someone else’s world. It is a meld between the mind of the viewer and writer, as the writer has allowed you to see the world through a character’s eyes." - Trinket T. Lewis, GTBP
Questions From The Safari Art Leaders- "Were any events in the movie inspired by your life?” - “Where was Amelia’s mother?” - Did this make her angry?” - “How did Amelia feel the first time she stole from her classmate? Why did she continue?”
Halima was impressed with the Leader’s questions! GTBP felt proud of them for their inquiries that challenged Halima to share insight about her motivation and decisions for the characters.
"It was such a joy and so fulfilling to be able to talk with the kids about Amelia's Closet. It's important to have a dialogue and talks like this about film themes and messages because it encourages deep thought and reflection about the subject matter and how it relates to their own lives! - Halima Lucas, writer and director of Amelia's Closet
THE FINAL SCENE
The GTBP summer program culminates with collaborative projects. The Leaders chose how they wanted to transform the film's characters by using different creative executions. The projects would be presented at the end of the summer program's Show ’N’ Tell ceremony.
Projects improve the learning experience, strengthen collaboration, and promote communication, creativity, and critical thinking skills. Students who have a creative mindset have a desire to learn new things throughout life” -Rakeda L. Ervin, GTBP
One group designed a poster to promote the sequel of Amelia’s Closet, where Amelia forgives, finds empowerment, and possibly forges a bond with the students in her class.
SHOW 'N' TELL CEREMONY
The Leaders shared their experiences with parents, staff, volunteers and collaborators.
"Get The Big Picture was amazing! I liked the fun activities, talking about Amelia’s challenges with the director, and working with my team to present the project. - Safari Arts Leader
“Our Leaders group was really excited about the addition of GTBP to Youth Arts Safari Summer Camp. They thoroughly enjoyed the creative group activities, interaction, and teaching by the GTBP staff.” -Faith Weaver Camp Coordinator, Youth Arts Safari Camp
BUILDING CHARACTER, ONE SCENE AT A TIME
“What a rewarding and fun week! Each day, we witnessed the growth of the Leaders’ confidence and curiosity. Providing a safe space, and fun learning environment allowed everyone to listen, speak, and be heard."-Rakeda L. Ervin, GTBP
"The group of Leaders was AMAZING! In our 1st class, we were able to connect with strategic playful engagement, that allowed us to open dialogue about their personal experiences with bullying. By our 3rd class, the leaders natural intellect, curiosity and empathy for Amelia meant they understood how someone’s family environment and peer interactions can affect one’s life - good & bad. If these kids are a glimpse of our future, we are TRULY in excellent hands. We hope to bring GTBP to every classroom .” - Trinket T. Lewis, GTBP
Thank you Halima Lucas, Faith Weaver, the George Washington Carver Museum and Genealogy Center, GTBP volunteers, and Humanities Texas for helping to make this experience possible.