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ASPiRE Marks 4th Year Partnering with SPARC's LIVE ART

Nationally known recording artists and 200 students with and without disabilities took the stage together for a night of music, dance, visual art and inspiring human connection June 11 at the Altria Theater during SPARC’s (School of the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community) 5th annual LIVE ART program.

For the past four years, ASPiRE students have served as student assistants for LIVE ART classes. As an inclusive program for students with and without disabilities, LIVE ART participants work together in a variety of visual and performing arts classes for one year. Students with a range of disabilities, alongside typically developing students, rehearse their performances while building relationships and understanding of one another. The program culminates in an annual mega-show, featuring nationally and regionally recognized recording artists and performers.

Grady Hart, co-curricular coordinator for ASPiRE, said ASPiRE students helped with classes including  Speaking Feet, Percussion Junction, Singing Hands, Human Story and the collaboratively designed Leadership Class. He said 10 ASPiRE students and two ASPiRE student fellows participated in the program this year.

“This year, two of our student fellows - Nequa Griffin and Frances Marquez -  helped lead the partnership with SPARC, and next year, Jasmine Bond, a two-year veteran of the SPARC-ASPiRE partnership and 2017 ASPiRE completer, will take on the role as the student fellow leading this partnership.”

The SPARC-ASPiRE partnership has also grown to touch other aspects of ASPiRE’s work. In its 4th year, ASPiRE partners with Sandhill Village in Belize to support a week-long camp for children in the village. This year, Courtney Vollmer, the LIVE ART program manager, will travel with ASPiRE and LEAD students and ASPiRE faculty member Michael Rackett to participate in the camp and provide an opportunity for the youth to engage in performing arts-related activities.

Learn more about SPARC.

Read service-learning students’ reflection about their work with LIVE ART.

Photo credit: Jim Hale