Artist Makes Dreams Come True for Students

Dharma doing an arm stretch in his class’s exercise video session.

Disney has Mickey and Pixar may have Nemo, but only the Elizabeth Lee Black School at the Barber National Institute in Erie, PA has Dharma, Angelina and Mackenzie.  These are just a few of the 60 students who became stars using stop motion animation and other computer generated techniques led by artist Jude Shingle as part of the Artist-in-Residence program.  

Jude holds a BA in studio art from Allegheny College and is currently the Education Coordinator at the Erie Art Museum. He was selected as an Early Career Fellow at the Fred Rogers Center where he is directing and editing training videos for early learning educators. Jude has won multiple awards including Best Short Film for Eudaimoni at Artivist Film Festival in Hollywood, CA.

Jude spent the fall guiding our children as they told their individual stories through various technologies. Working with six different classrooms, he and the students created a diverse repertoire of content: from digital books that can be read on the iPad and groovy workout videos to dramatic chair races and even a child-eating parachute blob!

The goal of the Artist-in-Residence program is to integrate the arts into the classroom. Because each classroom in our school is so diverse, the projects took on a unique challenge to create media that reinforced the goals of each classroom while making sure the tasks matched each student’s individual abilities. This often meant finding ways to modify technology, decision making and creative input. For example, photographs were taken by the students using an app on the iPad that allowed a picture to be taken by touching anywhere on the screen, rather than searching for a small button.

Our families and staff will celebrate the artistic efforts of our students on Monday, Nov. 5 with the Festival of Digital Wonder, a presentation of each classroom’s digital story. Yes, dreams do come true at the Barber National Institute.

Thank you to ArtsErie and First Niagara for funding the Artist-in-Residence program and especially to Jude Shingle for his vision and creative direction. I can’t wait for the show!

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