Category Archives: Arts

Starry Nights: Summer Arts and Entertainment in Springfield, Ohio

One of the joys of summer is getting out your lawn chairs or blankets and heading to a local park with the family. For five weeks every summer, residents of Springfield, Ohio, who venture to the park can find a variety of music and entertainment there. From pop to jazz to theater, local performers and nationally known acts bring summertime joy to thousands of area families. And the best part? It's all free.

Springfield's Summer Arts Festival is a better bargain than ever this summer as economically stretched families look for things to do. Sponsored by the Springfield Arts Council, the event is beginning its 44th season at Veteran's Park Amphitheater, just minutes from downtown Springfield. There is no fixed seating, except for a small set of bleachers on the south side of Cliff Park Road, so concertgoers bring chairs or blankets and sit on the hillside that forms a natural tiered setting for listening to performers on the stage located at the bottom of the hill.

In 2004, the popularity of the Festival led to the completion of restrooms, concession stands, and a hospitality terrace. The following year, a new stage with a lighting canopy was added, along with asphalt paths, a concrete pad for reserved seating up front, a building for production control, and handicapped seating pads throughout the Grand Lawn area.

Food and beverages are available at reasonable prices but many attendees bring along their own pop and snacks. Limited reserved seating in the orchestra "pit" is available for $10 but you still supply your own chair or purchase a "rent-a-chair" seat for $5. Parking is free too, but the regulars know to go early to grab good places for both the car and their chairs. No one ever seems to mind when Arts Council members pass the hat at intermission because the Festival is such an incredible value.

Starting off the 2010 Festival on June 17, 18, and 19 is the family musical Annie, presented by the Ohio Lyric Theatre and the Springfield Arts Council. Guitarist Ernie Hawkins will take the stage on June 20. On June 22, the United States Air Force Band of Flight's New Harmony will perform. The group is stationed at nearby Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Fairborn, Ohio, just northeast of Dayton.

Other acts in the five-week Festival that show the diversity of the offerings include the Golden Dragon Acrobats, Neal E. Boyd (from America's Got Talent), the Celtic band Cherish the Ladies, bluegrass music from The Muleskinner Band, and the well-known jazz group Spyro Gyro. Several tribute bands will appear including Parrots of the Caribbean (performing the music of Jimmy Buffet), Hotel California (performing the music of The Eagles), The Dark Star Orchestra (performing the music of the Grateful Dead), and Evil Ways (performing the music of Santana). Light classical music is also on the bill with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, the United States Army Field Band and Chorus, and the Gem City Sweet Adelines.

Food on the terrace will be coordinated with the music on certain weekends including an Irish and Spirits Fest and a Rhythm and Ribs Fest. On Saturday, June 26, Kidsfest is a full day of children's theater and other activities.
In addition to educational programs in the schools, the Springfield Arts Council has a winter concert series called "Broadway and Beyond" that brings in touring musicals and well-known singers.

Sources: www.springfieldartscouncil.org
Summer Arts Festival brochure
personal experience

 

 

Finding a Performing Arts Summer Camp on a Budget

It can be difficult to find things for your child to do when school has abandoned them for the summer. This is where a summer camp could make things easier. While some kids are into sports and outdoor adventures, others prefer the performing arts. Finding a low-cost performing arts camp can be a challenge especially if your unsure of the outcome. Here are some suggestions that can help your kids enjoy the summer without flattening your wallet.

City community centers offer a wide range of summer camps and workshops in the performing arts category. This is a great way to find your child's interests without a lot of commitment. There are a few added bonuses while using a community center. One being the location. Most city's have centers placed throughout, so finding one close to your work or home shouldn't be a problem. Another being "no experience required." These camps are not picky. Having fun seems to be there main objective, so your child will probably feel less intimidated and more willing to participate. Last, who could forget the contribution to the community factor. The teachers are members of the community who receive a portion of the fee or high school kids trying to further their education. At either rate you know your hard earned money is going to a good cause. If your having trouble find one near you check out your state's web page, it should be under the park and recreation section.

For children who are specifically interested in acting, a local children's theater is the way to go. They offer summer camps for a variety of ages which range from beginner to advanced. Prices can run a little more with less locations available, but it's worth the experience. You child is taught by a trained actor and a performance usually follows the camp. I know from experience that space is limited in these facilities so being informed about registration dates and not procrastinating is a must.

Not all of us have the resources to send our child to a professional ballet school but don't fret there are other options. If your child is interested in dance but you don't know where to start, a camp is a great introduction. You might even find a school that offers a variety workshop so your child can get a feel for the different types of dance. Most local studios offer summer camps for a reasonable price. They are less competitive then high end companies and the experience is always appreciated when your child is ready to move up.

If your daughter is well on her way to becoming a rock star there is a camp in Portland Oregon that is right up your alley. The Rock N Roll camp for girls has gotten rave reviews and is worth checking out. Girls ages 8-18 are given an opportunity to create a real band as well as build confidence while they rock out. The camp offers 4 sessions which are all a week long. Tuition is fair but getting there could be an issue since it's in Portland. The only catch is you need to apply and space is limited. Checkout www.girlsrockcamp.org for more info.

A resourceful site to check out if you are interested in music camps is www.mustcreate.com. It's a sight aimed at music in schools, though under the "learn and find" tab there is a great deal of information on camps and teachers. You can search under a specific instrument which is helpful is you want to pick-up where school instrumental left off.

Finding an affordable performing arts camp for your child doesn't have to be painful. There are plenty of wallet saving options that come with an added bonus. When summer passes us by your child could still take classes through the facilities regular programs. Just be aware that most have limited space so don't procrastinate.

The American Academy of Dramatic Arts Summer Program

The American Academy of Dramatic Arts is the only school in the United States offering an actual degree in the field of acting. With Campuses in New York and Los Angeles the Academy offers the perfect proving ground for aspiring actors by helping them to develop into professionals while assisting with their personal growth.

Though the Academy has two campuses, the school functions as a single entity. For the young student who is yet unable to fully commit to a career, the American Academy of Dramatic Arts Summer Program is the perfect summer commitment to the young actors career.

The basic curriculum for the summer program includes Acting, Voice and Speech, Vocal Production, and Movement. The Acting track involves the students learning the importance elements crucial to their success at the craft of acting. The techniques used include student participation in improvisation and scene study exercises. Students are taught to find their truth in an imaginary circumstance. The Voice and Speech track students learn to hone their voice as an instrument by focusing on articulation, stress and phrasing, and intonation. The Vocal Production track works parallel to the Voice and Speech Track by reiterating the importance of the voice and speech as the actor's instrument. The Movement track focuses on basic dance techniques, and coordination with focus on the body as the instrument of the actor. Classes for all tracks of the basic curriculum are in session for four hours a day Monday through Thursday. Students also have the option of taking elective classes while at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts Summer Program. These elective include classes such as Fencing, Shakespeare and Audition Techniques, and Musical Theatre.

To be accepted into the American Academy of Dramatic Arts Summer Program, all prospective students must apply, audition, interview and provide photographs. Auditions require two contrasting monologues, one of comedic nature and the other dramatic. The monologues must be from published plays, one period and the other contemporary. They must be delivered by memory and should not exceed two minutes each. The application fee is $50.00, tuition is $1900.00, and additional electives costs $90.00 each. Classes for the summer session will begin on July 9, and end on August 16th.

For more information on the American Academy of Dramatic Arts Summer Program visit the Web site or call 1800-463-8990 for the New York Campus. For the Los Angeles campus call 1800-222-2867.

Best Jobs for Liberal Arts Majors

If liberal arts majors expect to be welcomed by potential employers at graduation time, they are clueless idiots. There's nothing wrong with spending four years studying the minor works of Yeats, but unless you expect to get a job with good old dad, you've wasted your time. I managed a large company's public relations division for 25 years, and had the responsibility of hiring some 20 new employees a year. They were all creative artists, but in much more practical ways.

I didn't consider myself prejudiced against liberal arts majors. After all, I was the proud owner of a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, but it did me absolutely no good when I first went looking for a job. I starved until I got an assistantship in a grad school business communications program. I had nothing but understanding and sympathy for liberal arts grads who applied for work with my division. But I also had my own hard-nosed reasons for not choosing them as new employees.My requirements were simple. For my art section, I preferred applicants to have degrees in the practical arts, such as ad design, illustration and print graphics. This was before the computer graphics revolution, so the rules may be changed somewhat, but I don't think the situation is that different. I also demanded applicants bring along a portfolio of commercial art pieces to the interview, not traditional water colors, pastels and oils. They were my requirements because I needed people who could sit down the first day and design a sales promotion piece, a conference program or an ad.

For my editorial section, I demanded degrees in PR, advertising or business writing. Too many of the applicants for these jobs, especially those liberal arts majors, showed up with inspiring poems, autobiographic treatises and essays on … yes, Yeats, among others. I didn't need dreamers, and just as with the artists, I hired writers who could from day one on the job put together competent ads, sales promotion campaigns, write executive speeches and business conference continuities.

I considered these qualification simple enough for anyone to understand, and checked often with university ad and commercial art staffers to let them know that my demands were the industry norms. Unfortunately, when I spoke to liberal arts professors, most either scoffed at my crass attitude or didn't have a clue about what I was explaining.

The best paths for liberal arts majors, in my experienced and prejudiced opinion, is to change their majors as quickly as possible and go for a business degree. Of course, if they are independently wealthy and will never have to compete in the business world. I apologize for calling them idiots. They're really only misguided and foolish dreamers.

Walnut Hill Summer Arts Program

When one thinks of premier art schools, the ultimate not only in the arts but academically as well, Walnut Hill is certainly at the top of the list. This is not just a school but more so a community where the common interest is arts, excellence, and the well being of the students of this prestigious institution. During the summer the school provides the opportunity for other students from around the world to experience the Walnut Hill Summer Arts Program.

The Walnut Hill Summer Arts Program is located at 12 Highland Street in Naticky Massachusetts, at the Walnut Hill School designed for students between the ages of 13-18, inclusive of grades 9th through 12th. This is a coeducation boarding and day secondary school for the arts. Where the focus of the school is on the arts the academic program consists of college-preparatory classes. The arts area covers intensive training in writing, the visual arts, music, ballet, and theatre.

Where not everyone has the opportunity to attend such a school due to location or other limitations, the perfect solution is the Walnut Hill Summer Arts Program. Children come from around the world to attend this premier arts program. The residential program involved students staying at one of the eight halls on campus, which are close to the classrooms and performance arts area. Housing accommodations will vary from doubles to quads based on availability. Though the program is coed, the residential halls are not.

The student to Residential Advisor is approximately 12 to 1. Student campers will have access to all facilities including the fitness center, the computer center, the campus center, and the campus swimming pool. Three meals a day will be provided in the dining hall Monday through Saturday, with meals served twice on Sundays. For the safety and well being of all students that is a Health Center on campus with a doctor on call 24-hours per day.

The Walnut Hill Summer Arts Program offers a very versatile curriculum for visiting students. Most students participate in programs based on their personal focus however, the programs offered include the following: Dance Programs, Creative Writing Programs, Chamber Music Programs, Opera Programs, Theater Programs, and a Visual Art Programs. For more detailed information regarding application, admission, dates and sessions, tuition, and registration deadline, the Walnut Hill School must be contacted directly. For more information on the Walnut Hill Summer Arts Program call 508-653-4312, or visit the Web site for complete details.

Summer in Salt Lake City: Utah Arts Festival

This year marks the 35th annual Utah Arts Festival. Started in 1977, the festival is a celebration of all things artistic, and a great place to enjoy Utah's true diversity. In 2010, Utah Arts Festival ranked 14th out of the nation's top 100 festivals, going up against heavy-hitters such as the Tournament of Roses parade. This is one of my personal summer highlights in Salt Lake City, and I've made a point to attend every year since I've moved here.

The festival celebrates all types of art, from paintings and sculptures to music, dance, and even fashion. There is always something happening on one of the five stages, from ethnic dance to poetry slams. There are screen-writing sessions and a workshop about making your own comic book. Fear No Film screens movies in the library's main auditorium. Along with performances, there are over 100 booths where artists display and sell their work. Jewelry, metal work, glass-blowing, it's all here. The festival aims to showcase all forms of artistic expression, and make us all ask the question, what exactly is art?

Although I love to see the performances and peruse the booths, my absolute favorite part of the festival is the food! Local favorites and high-end culinary artists set up booths to feed the ten of thousands of people that flock downtown for the Utah Arts Festival. Be aware that alcohol is served through the entire grounds. The Uinta Brewing Company has even crafted a special beer just for the event to celebrate the 35th anniversary!

The atmosphere is family friendly, with children's craft and music exploration areas. Even though children are welcome, there is high-quality (and expensive) art everywhere you turn, and evenings are quite literally packed. If you would like to take your kids to the festival, go during the day and leave by supper time to avoid navigating a stroller through shoulder-to-shoulder people.

The Utah Arts Festival website has tons of information on artists, performers, workshops, and more. Before you buy your tickets, make sure to peruse the event schedule to make sure you catch your favorites. Bring plenty of cash, as most food vendors don't take cards, and you'll need your I.D. If you plan on drinking alcohol.

Dates: Thursday, June 23 thru Sunday, June 26

Location: Library and Washington Square, approximately 200E 400S.

Transportation: UTA Trax stops right at the library. Parking is also available in the library's underground lot.
Blue Sky bike lot and free bike valet encourages participants to use emission-free transportation.

Admission: $10 for adults, children 12 and under free, seniors $5. 4-day passes are only $30
Ride your bike to the event and use the bike valet, and get $2 off admission!

Where to buy tickets: You can by tickets online or at the event at five box office locations. Smith's grocery stores usually offer discount tickets through SmithTix, which is where my friends and I usually buy our tickets.

Performing Arts Summer Camps for Kids

Performance Arts Summer Camps for kids can be a splendid and enthusiastically fun trip for kids! At camp your child will learn important social and physical skills, and a summer camp specializing in performance arts might also get them interested early on in a future career that they will absolutely love. Regardless, they are certain to have a lot of fun away from the parents with such a wide array of truly kid friendly and fun activities. Below are five of the best summer camps which specialize in performance arts for kids.

Long Lake Camp for the Arts – Located in Long Lake, New York is this broad spectrum type of performance arts camp which embodies a non-competitive nature. Operating for over 39 years under the same family ownership, Long Lake Camp features summer camp curriculums involving fine arts, dance, music, theater, and even film production. Located on a gorgeous waterfront, campers can also enjoy a wide array of water sports recreation including but not limited to, canoeing, windsurfing, jet-skiing, tubing, and even private swim lessons led by Red-Cross certified trainers. Check their website to review their dates and rates!

Texas Arts Project – Is a well regarded summer camp program for children ages 5-18 which specializes in performance arts! Located in the Lake Austin in the central area of Texas, kids from all over the country gather at the Texas Arts Project performance arts summer camp to learn valuable skills as future artists and technicians! Preview their official website to learn more about the various programs, tuition, and dates offered!

French Woods Festival of Performing Arts – Is an extravagant performance arts summer camp for kids located on a private lake within the Catskill Mountains of New York. Activities are intensive with six performance arts courses per day ranging from programs such as theater, magic, horseback riding, circus visual arts, music, and dance! Sports, adventure, and computer recreational activities are also available for campers! The official website features much more information including toll-free phone numbers so that you can speak directly with summer camp staff!

Independent Lake Camp – Located waterfront on the Pennsylvania lake of the same name is this great performance arts summer camp! Their mission statement is to build the self esteem of each and every camper! Their programs feature a splendid diversity of performance arts activities including theater, dance, and even BMX and Skateboarding!

Summer in the Arts At Northern – Has been offering a performance arts based summer camp to Junior and Senior level High School students for over 25 years! Camp goers will enjoy six days of focused activities in the arts including jazz, theater, and visual arts in a college campus setting directly at the University of Northern Illinois!

Buying Guide to Home School Curriculum – Books, Arts and Crafts, Software, Cd's and More

The big picture:

Curriculum should invite your child to pick it up and explore it. Learning should not feel like a duty, task or chore. What you choose to surround your child with in regards to items of educational value does not have to necessarily look like school stuff. Children learn best, when their minds are free to explore, examine how things work, use their imagination, experience cause and effect, can think about what will happen next and most importantly of all, they can feel free to be happy about learning. Start your adventure by asking your child what they would like to learn. If they are young and need some help with this, ask them what they have questions about as you tuck them into bed, and jot their answers down in a journal. When you watch them throughout the day, notice what captures their attention. Do they seem fascinated with animals, or sports, buildings, people of different cultures? When they draw pictures, what do they usually draw? Older children can articulate better what interests them. The more a child is involved in picking out what they will be learning and what tools they will be learning with; the more likely they are to use them.

Curriculum can take many forms. Traditional forms are books, art and craft supplies, musical instruments, maps, videos, DVD's, cd's, talking globes, chalk boards, felt boards, software and computer. The not so traditional can be anything from a bowl, spoon, measuring cups ingredients and a recipe, to a walk through a nature center. Your local library has a vast array of learning media to choose from and most items are free to borrow. Your local library also has reference material that although you can not take it out of the library, spending an afternoon exploring different reference materials can open up new frontiers for your child without taking up space in your home and without cost, well, except for an afternoon of quiet exploring.

Features of good curriculum and what to look for:

The items you chose should be age appropriate for your child. Most items will have the ages they are designed for right on the packaging. Ask the clerk if you are purchasing from a store if you are unsure if a product is age appropriate. If you are purchasing online, most items are in grade or age categories and if not, there should be a contact link for you to ask questions. Purchasing curriculum in person allows you to investigate by handling, exploring the contents of a book, or reading features on the packaging. You do still have ways of finding out about a product online; you just have to do your homework before purchasing. Sites like Barnes and Noble (barnesandnoble.com), and Amazon (amazon.com) will have reviews that you can read product opinions before purchasing. You may also find rating from sites about the item you are considering by placing the item name in a search box on your favorite search engine – mine is Google (google.com).

When purchasing items for young children look for durability, ability to wash the surface, or clean up if a craft is involved; for instance, washable and non-toxic paints, and markers, glue and crayons.

Good curriculum should be not only sturdy, in good shape, but be attractive to the child. Color and pictures are attention grabbers for the young child especially; but will also keep the middle age child from being bored by too much print. Make sure that learning tools are easy for your child to handle and operate. The less supervision needed, the better. Items that are made to allow the child to evaluate how they are grasping a subject will build confidence and pride.

My personal shopping tips on how to choose what will work best for each child:

Know your child's learning style – do they learn best by having hands on experience, or are they visual learners? Are they self-motivators or do they need you to guide their learning? Keep a journal of what has worked well before and let that guide you in finding out your child's learning style. Understand that just as children grow physically, so they change from year to year mentally and emotionally. These changes can make a difference in your choice of curriculum. Listen when your child tells you about items they use when playing with other children. What type of items seems to excite them the most? Are they interested in reading more than working with their hands? Do they know how to use a computer? If they have not already used a computer are they interested in learning? Most local libraries have computers for public use. Choose software programs in the same manner you would a book. Most software manufacturers have a Website with demos that you can explore before making a buying decision. Let your child try the demo after you have explored it.

Encourage your child to share what they have learned each day, during a meal, or while sitting around in the evening, or at bedtime. Sharing will allow you to hear and see your child's progress and you will see clues about what curriculum is really grabbing your child's interest and then make a mental note or journal entry for future reference. Take this journal with you on shopping trips or when browsing online.

When shopping locally, take your child along with you, so they can explore the choices too. Check your local library to see if they have what you are thinking of purchasing; if they do, you can borrow it and let your child try it out, before spending any money. There are some good educational distributors that are catalog or home party sales. Buying thru this venue allows you to see and explore before purchasing. A few that come to mind are:

Growingtreetoys.com
Discoverytoysinc.com
Thinkbutton.com
Earlylearningworld.com
Brightminds.co.uk
Bcl.com.au/shop/education
Leapsandbounds.com
BabyUniverse.com
DiscoveryChannelStore.com
Positivekidstuff.com

There are other sources of free curriculum to keep in mind, besides libraries. Homeschool networks, lending libraries, and nature centers are all good sources of free or low cost classes or resources. Your local school may also have used material available to residents. Used curriculum can be found at homeschool meetings or library sales.

Many publishing houses have curriculum fairs and will advertise these events in local newspapers, homeschool newsletters and email notifications. Once you purchase items from a publisher, they usually will ask you if they can notify you of events or specials.

Take advantage of coupons. To locate savings coupons for different stores or publishes put the store name, or publisher and the word coupon or savings, in a search box of your favorite search engine.

Have a list of what items you are thinking of purchasing and your budget BEFORE you start to shop.

Know what your state requirements are ahead of time for each grade level, so this can guide you when selecting material. You can locate your state's guidelines for U.S.A. states and territories by going to:

http://www.hslda.org/hs/state/default.asp

Above all do not panic or feel like you have to somehow duplicate a public school classroom. You are homeschooling, not duplicating public school at home. Your home should not look like a classroom, but rather, it should look like a space for a child to explore the world around him/her with tools you provide that are safe, durable, fun and educational. Educational in the sence that they encourage your child to ask questions, find answers and think about what is going on with any given subject.

Educating your child should be about giving your child the tools to explore, safely and with confidence. Kids naturally want to know how things work, how things relate to other things and how he/she fits into his/her world. It is natural for them to ask questions and to want to find out why, how, when and who did things. You are selecting material that will aid them in answering questions they have and doing so from the comfort of their home. You are their guide; their resource and most of all you are interested in learning along with them. We find that homeschooling is a lifestyle that all members of our family participate in every day of the year, year after year.

When choosing curriculum, especially books, look for teacher's guides, or aids, or workbooks that may come separately. You can sometimes receive a price break when purchasing in a pack or bundle; but beware, if you would be buying items that you may not otherwise be purchasing, the package or bundle may not really be economical for you. Always break a package or bundle down into individual cost and add up the total price of just the items you need, then compare to the total of the package or bundle to see if you really are getting a deal.

There are some excellent online sites for worksheets, spelling lists and the like. Some of these sites are free, some for a minimal yearly charge. One site we have used for the past few years is edhelper.com this site has age/grade topics, worksheets and quizzes. All subject areas and grade levels are available as well as reading lists for each grade level and book reports. There are several payment options and this site is a very good value.

Homeschool does not have to cost a lot, there are plenty of free resources available both online and offline. Use keyword searches online, ask your librarian to help you locate homeschool resources.

Join a local homeschool group for a source of advice, and a place to meet with other families who homeschool in your neighborhood. Most groups have activity days, field trips and used curriculum sales. Some groups even have co-op classes that you can take part in.

Selecting the right curriculum for your child should not be intimidating. This should be an adventure that you and your child will look forward to each year. Remember to involve your child in the process as much as possible. Mix both traditional with non-traditional items including books, arts and craft, music, videos, DVD's, and software, daily tasks like cooking, field trips, and the library. Take in consideration your child's learning style. Explore online sites, educational home parties, and traditional stores. Locate homeschool groups for tips, activity days and possible co-op classes. Plan in advance what curriculum you are interested in, the topics, subjects and price range. Most of all enjoy the experience of selecting the learning tools that will be your child's key to adventure.

11 Safe Household Ingredients for Making Cheap Arts and Crafts Recipes

10 Safe Household Ingredients for Making Cheap Arts and Crafts Recipes

Moms and dads, there are 11 household ingredients to keep on hand that can be used for making kid-safe arts and crafts recipes.

These are household products that you can buy at any grocery store. In addition to these free and cheap supplies for kids craft time, buy a couple of extra packages of these safe household products the next time you are at the store.

On a rainy day, or any other house-bound day, you will happy to have these safe household ingredients on hand. They are cheap, and can be used in many different arts and crafts recipes for kids crafts.

  1. Corn Starch

Corn starch has many uses for arts and crafts recipes. Corn starch can be used in no-cook dough recipes, in jewelry-making dough recipes, and even in craft paste.

  1. Baking Soda

Baking soda is another safe household ingredient that can be used to make cheap supplies. Use baking soda to make no-cook doughs.

  1. Flour

Flour is king when it comes to cheap arts and crafts. Flour is the main ingredient in many play dough recipes, and even in specialty paint recipes.

  1. Salt

Salt can be used in clays, in dough, and to give homemade paints special effects. Salt is ridulously cheap, if you buy regular table salt.

  1. Cream of Tartar

Cream of Tartar is a baking ingredient that not all households have. It's a good idea to buy some for making kids crafts recipes like cooked dough.

  1. Sugar

Sugar is another cheap household ingredient used for making homemade arts and crafts supplies including stickers and paste for paper crafts.

  1. Box of Food Coloring

A box of food coloring is the best way to add color to homemade arts and crafts supplies. A little food coloring goes a long way, which makes it a cheap supply.

  1. Tea Bags

Tea bags can be used to in paper crafts, to make paper look older. Used tea bags are a very cheap item for making arts and crafts supplies.

The tea leaves can also be used to make certain types of dough. Or, use tea leaves when making homemade paper.

  1. Plain Gelatin

Plaint gelatin is a cheap ingredient for making cheap arts and crafts supplies including paint and stickers.

  1. Non-stick cooking spray

Non-stick cooking spray is great for any cooking doughs, or any other recipes which needs to dry. Skip the good stuff and buy a generic brand or one that is on sale, to save money.

  1. Plastic Utensils

Plastic utensils are not really an ingredient. It is a good idea to have cheap plastic utensils that are used just for crafts. Plastic spoons, knives and forks can all be used when making kids crafts.

The occasional craft recipe may call for a non-edible item, and it is best not to mix up the eating utensils with the plastic ones.

If you are concerned about the environment, and recycling, purchase some of the sturdier plastic utensils that will hold up to multiple use by kids.

Providence, Rhode Island Arts Jobs Get a Boost from Several Sources

It may be a surprise to some that the greater Providence, RI area has a huge talent pool in the arts. But Providence is near both New York City and Boston, MA. Mix that with New England's natural proclivity to produce talented, hard-working people from its wealth of first-rate schools and the reality comes into focus.

Rhode Island has been extremely hard hit with the financial crisis of the economy and other disasters. Flooding forced hundreds out of their homes and permanently shut down many small businesses. Even larger businesses are starting to reopen four months later.

What do people historically turn to in bad times? Entertainment – the arts. What helps students improve their studies more than anything else? The arts. And so the groundwork is set and the players are eager. The infrastructure and trained personnel pool has been growing. Local businesses know what is needed.

Steven Feinberg, Executive Director of the State of Rhode Island Film and TV office announced that the new ABC television series, "Body of Proof" is filming twelve episodes here in the greater Providence, RI area from July through December, 2010. Those episodes will start airing this fall. Previously, the state hosted the production of the Showtime Series "Brotherhood" until 2008. A number of feature films have been shot in Rhode Island as well.

"Body of Proof", a medical crime drama, stars Dana Delaney, of "Desperate Housewives", who plays a neurosurgeon who has become a medical examiner named Megan Hunt. Jeri Ryan, perhaps best known as "Seven of Nine" from "the Star Trek: Voyager" series, plays Delaney's boss. Other cast members include John Carroll Lynch, Windell Middlebrooks, Nic Bishop. Sonja Sohn and Geoffrey Arend.

The production, which has set up both a sound stage and production office in RI, is a boon to local small business such as catering, trash removal and equipment rentals. The series will also provide about 200 full-time positions and will need thousands of acting extras. For more information about the show go to www.abc.go.com.

A surprise reopening of an old favorite watering hole, "The Met Cafe", will provide not only service jobs, but a welcome venue for musicians. Although it opens officially in September (in a new location at the Hope Artiste Village), "The Met Cafe" has already announced a full slate of acts. The Ryan Montbleau Band will play September 10 – Opening Night. For a look at the full slate or for tickets go to www.lupos.com. Club owner Rich Lupo and talent booker Jack Reich have worked together to reopen the venue.

To prepare the next generation of performers, The Trinity Academy for the Performing Arts (or TAPA) will be opening as a new Charter School this fall (2010). It will be located in the Annex of the Trinity United Methodist Church on Broad Street in Providence, RI. It will start with about thirty-four 7th Graders and eventually expand to include grades 7 through 12.

Principal Steve Olsen is himself not only an educator but an artist, and is thrilled to take the post. Previously he was Principal of the Fogarty Elementary School in Providence. The right set of needs and supports came together to offer this special type of education to the youth of Providence. Students are chosen to attend by lottery. With the arts programs being axed from so many of the public schools, TAPA is a welcomed addition to the education scene.

Joyce Stevos, chair of the charter school's Board of Directors, with nearly forty years experience in education, assures that rigorous academic standards will be adhered to along with the focus on integrating the arts into the curricula. The school's mission is to immerse students in theater, dance, music, film and video by tapping the talents of local artists. The charter school will provide jobs for both teachers and artists.