Wisdom Arts Laboratory
Roshida Abira Ali, Director
It is a privilege to direct the Wisdom Arts Laboratory. I work with extraordinary artists who have a passion for creating a community atmosphere where intuition, invention and imagination thrive.
Our programs include:
Community Fridays - free art-making events in the fall.
After-school classes for students aged 6 - 12.
Camps for children in the summer, winter and spring
Internships for teens
Community Fridays take place outside, on our sun dappled outdoor campus, next to the Historic Orange Grove Quaker Meeting House. The Rowe & Gayle Giesen Trust has been supporting our Community Friday events since 2010. These events serve multiple generations and families as a whole. Community Fridays offer parents, who are often financially strapped, an educational after-school activity for their children that is free of charge. At each event we have live music and set up 5 to 7 activity stations. We always include a range of diverse materials and projects focused on a theme. For instance, for the "Into the Forest" theme, we made Flower Crowns with silk flowers, wire, glue, ribbon and notions. Participants painted and assembled clunky wooden snails, which wobble along when pulled by a string. We made take-home gardens where people could touch and smell fresh earth, while arranging succulents, clay, and stones. Ozma Riley Bryant transformed many happy children into forest animals with her masterful face paintings. Look for Community Fridays in October 2017.
Arts and Science Camps
WAL offers thoughtful, whimsical camps for children ages 5 – 12. We start by brainstorming ideas for curriculum at the WAL Development Committee meetings. One year we held a Mad Scientist Camp, students made face molds in clay and then cast them in a starch based homemade non-toxic rubber. These transparent rubber faces were wired for light up eyes, then attached to wooden robots built in Lupe’s classes. In that same camp, students foraged at a local garden for ingredients to make herbal mixtures and natural dyes. All of our camps include plenty of outdoor play. There is nothing like being in the moment at camp. It is a pleasure to witness the engagement of studio time, friendships developing on the play-yard, and the artwork at the culminating exhibition, or the performance or runway fashion show. During these moments, I have witnessed both quantum leaps and subtle changes in both students and art teachers.
Teen Camp Internships
Our internship program offers teenagers who are interested in arts education a chance to assist in the classroom and to supervise younger children on the playground. Former WAL parents, whose children had recently transformed into teenagers, requested that we start an internship program. The goal is to help teens develop responsibility and job seeking skills. I was personally very excited to work with this age group. Our interns are loved and admired by the younger campers.