Lip sync battle raises big bucks for kids and the arts
By RANDI B. HAGI- WMRA
Kristen Drueen, center, in her opening number for the Lip Sync Battle in the 'Burg.
CREDIT RANDI B. HAGIA nonprofit that supports live arts experiences for local kids held their annual fundraiser on Wednesday night – a lip sync battle. Randi B. Hagi reports.
Performers and support staff ran around a huge indoor turf field at Horizon's Edge Sport Campus Wednesday night, getting ready for the 2021 Lip Sync Battle in the 'Burg – an event where teams of costumed lip-synchers dance, flaunt, and gyrate for their chance to win the most audience votes – and raise the most money –
Tim and Emani Morse with J.R. Snow after their Beyonce performance.
CREDIT RANDI B. HAGIJ.R. SNOW: … for Any Given Child Shenandoah Valley, which is a nonprofit organization focusing on access and equity in the arts for students in grades K through 8.
J.R. Snow directs the nonprofit.
SNOW: We focus on live – what we call live arts experiences, which allows either artists to come into the schools… or we're taking kids to venues.
There were six contestants, each with their own crew of dancers and stagehands. While the stars of the show were getting their makeup done and wrangling their teams, I caught up with a few backup dancers before the show began.
Makayla Escobar and Chloe Leach, students at Spotswood High School, were there with their music teacher, Nathan May. They wouldn't give away too much about their upcoming performance.
Tim Troyer getting ready for his portrayal of Lady Gaga.
CREDIT RANDI B. HAGIMAKAYLA ESCOBAR: I can tell you that it's very energetic, and it's …
CHLOE LEACH: Yeah, it's like a kind of throwback, but it's about –
ESCOBAR: The best throwbacks.
LEACH: The best of the best.
Tim Morse and Darin Council were there to back up Tim's wife, contestant Emani Morse. They each had a bit of experience in front of crowds.
MORSE: Like, I grew up in the church, so choir and plays and stuff like that, and it's always been kind of fun, so if you rope me into it, I'll do it!
Emani Morse performing Beyonce.
CREDIT RANDI B. HAGICOUNCIL: That's fair! A little bit of musical performance. I did band all through middle school and high school, a little bit in college. Also did track, so people showing up in large spaces isn't too, too unfamiliar.
Snow opened the show to an enthusiastic crowd.
SNOW It is Lip Sync Battle 2021! It's been 753 days since we've done this – are you guys ready to party tonight? [cheers]
Contestant Kristen Drueen and her crew kicked off round one in old-timey sailor's outfits, shimmying to Christina Aguilera's ‘Candyman.’
[‘Candyman,’ crowd cheers]
J.R. Snow as emcee.
CREDIT RANDI B. HAGIMost of the contestants went with multi-artist mashups for their performances, including Nathan May and his students, who fit 10 male pop artists into their first round.
[‘Mr. Brightside’ by The Killers fades into ‘Yeah!’ by Usher, crowd screams]
There were also big cheers for contestant Tim Troyer, who performed a Lady Gaga compilation – in drag – complete with Colt 45 malt liquor cans as hair rollers.
[‘Born this Way’ by Lady Gaga, crowd cheers]
Leading up to the event, supporters could buy votes for a dollar each – that's the main way contestants fundraised. The night of, attendees could vote for free as many times as they could smash that button during intermission. I stopped by a table where Crystal Pennington and her friends were on their phones –
Nathan May embodying one of the kings of pop from his mashup.
CREDIT RANDI B. HAGICRYSTAL PENNINGTON: We're voting for Team Priscilla! Because she's awesome! And we're her great friends, and that's what we do for her.
Nearby, Paul Riner said he voted for Stanley Peyton.
PAUL RINER: It's fun to watch him onstage, which is totally out of character for him. But he seems to be having a good time.
In the second and final round, there were two Beyonce compilations – in one, Emani and Tim Morse played off one another as Queen Bey and Jay-Z.
[‘Crazy in Love’ plays, crowd cheers.]
Stanley Peyton performing SexyBack.
CREDIT RANDI B. HAGIHarrisonburg Mayor Deanna Reed, who was judging round two, was a fan.
DEANNA REED: I don't know if anybody worked at On the Road this entire month, because everybody was up here… [cheers]
…Reed is one of the directors of The On the Road Collaborative, which partners with local schools to create leadership and opportunity programs for young people…
REED: …Emani, you did a fabulous job. Well done.
The two lip-synchers vying for first place were Stanley Peyton, who came out of intermission with more than 10,000 votes, and Priscilla May-Maiden, with almost 14,000 votes. Peyton started out with Michael Jackson's ‘Smooth Criminal,’ white fedora and all –
And transitioned into Justin Timberlake's ‘SexyBack,’ tossing fake chains and some items of clothing into the crowd.
May-Maiden's finale was a dance mix on a virtual classroom set, complete with a giant computer screen.
[‘Gangnam Style’ by PSY]
SNOW: Priscilla, you also are a teacher in real life. And so talk a bit about that experience as a teacher, and then kind of turning this into crazy creativity.
MAY-MAIDEN: I mean, I kind of have always had to entertain my kids in the classroom, and so this really wasn't a big jump.
Finally, voting was closed, and Snow revealed the night's winner.
REED: It's tight. Oh, is it tight tight?
SNOW: It's tight. In second place, with 28,548 votes – to the first place, 33,329 votes. In second place, Stanley Peyton and your winner tonight, Priscilla May-Maiden!
[cheers, confetti guns popping]
The event raised more than $48,000 for Any Given Child.
Rebecca Gvozden | Breeze TV
Nov 20, 2021
Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative’s "Operation Round Up" is giving back to local nonprofit organizations that help the community. The cause first started in 1989 at Palmetto Electric Cooperative located in South Carolina.
Other cooperatives started to follow in their footsteps, and SVEC began its in 2018. Members of the local cooperative can join on their website or give a call to the facility, and sign up to round up their electric bill. It's only about an average of 50 cents per month, or six dollars a year. The nonprofits complete grant applications, and the Operation Round Up committee reviews the grants. They then decide on how much to fund for each organization.
The change might not be noticeable on the bill for members, but on the outside it's seen. The grant helps many nonprofits ranging from volunteer libraries, fire departments, food banks, food pantries, homeless shelters, foster care and many others. The grant is wide reaching, and it hope to see a growth in members joining the movement.
New Non Profit Builds Arts Equity Capacity
Daily News Record
November 19, 2021
Any Given Child Shenandoah Valley, formerly a program of the Arts Council of the Valley, gained independent status as a 501©3 nonprofit in July, the organization announced last month.
In addition to being financially soluble enough to raise funds for programming, being a standalone nonprofit allows Any Given Child to apply for more grant funding and allows it to operate with greater flexibility than if it were still a program of another organization.
“We’re still very, very new in the infancy of our existence as a 501©, but it does open us up to other grant opportunities. It opens us up to a lot of different things. There’s flexibility in being a 501©3 versus being part of a larger entity or organization,” said J.R. Snow, executive director of Any Given Child Shenandoah Valley.
Any Given Child, a program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, is a network of arts educators in 26 cities across the U.S. who work to provide high quality arts experiences to students during the school day, Snow said. The goal is to give every child in a school system a high-quality experience, to help them learn about themselves, Snow said.
“As an educational leader nationally, to learn the trends. They’re a leader in arts integration, which we believe in. Their role is definitely that connectivity. They don’t provide funds; they provide the opportunity for us to network,” Snow said. “We know that we have access to the Kennedy Center and their artists. We’ve had some of their artists come down and work with our teachers. It’s great to have a Kennedy Center-recognized artist because we know the quality is going to be very, very high.”
Any Given Child Shenandoah Valley builds programming for grade levels for kindergarten through eighth in school systems or individual schools because its goal is to reach every single student, Snow said. It operates extensively through Harrisonburg City Public Schools and Snow, also coordinator of visual and performing arts for HCPS, said the new status is a step toward continuing to address the arts needs in Rockingham County Public Schools too.
Programming has included the Barefoot Puppet Theater from Richmond, which performed its original show “Galapagos George,” for 1,500 kindergarten through fifth-grade students across six performances at Keister, Spotswood and Bluestone elementary schools in early November.
Snow said programming has expanded to include Rockingham County Public Schools students in a partnership with the James Madison University Forbes Center, along with two weeklong residencies in middle schools working and a plan for seven programs in county elementary schools in the spring. Snow also said a new program is in the works to train local artists to perform in schools.
“I think it’s part of a natural growth process for the organization,” Snow said. “The opportunity allows us to focus our work a little bit more directly into education and access and equitable arts. Our time with the Arts Council was incredible, but they serve a larger, different need in a different space. We became financially soluble enough. We were able to develop some community buy-in. It’s a continued experiment.”
Snow said that in the past two years, he’s worked with Beth Harter, fine arts supervisor for RCPS, to incorporate some programming in the county. Snow said in a non-pandemic year, Any Given Child Shenandoah Valley serves 10,000 to 11,000 kindergarten through eighth-grade students across the two school systems.
“We are thrilled for them. We are absolutely thrilled that they have grown so much,” said Jenny Burden, Arts Council of the Valley executive director. “We loved working with Any Given Child when it was a program under our umbrella, and we look forward to working with them in the future.”
Given its new status, the organization will continue to rely on community partnerships and the sixth annual Lip Sync Battle on Dec. 8 to expand its mission.
Snow said the main fundraising channels include large events, including the Lip Sync Battle at Horizons Edge Sports Campus. The event features karaoke by community members. Snow said the event has raised over $100,000 over time and continues to grow each year.
“It’s evolved to be lots of stage presentation. It’s an incredibly fun night. It’s a party,” Snow said.
The event begins with a pregame party at 6:30 p.m., the main event at 7 p.m. and a post-game party complete with silent disco. Tickets are available online at agcshenvalley.org/lip-sync-battle to attend the various events throughout the night. Attendees can vote for a winner of the Lip Sync Battle by purchasing votes. Proceeds go to the nonprofit’s work.
Hearts in Sync with the Rhythm of Giving
Kahtleen Shaw / Daily News Record
December 3, 2019
It’s no secret Harrisonburg is a haven for the arts, but one competition in the Valley serves to crown the best fake artist in the region.
Lip Sync Battle in the ‘Burg is a fundraiser for the Shenandoah Valley chapter of Any Given Child, a program of the Arts Council of the Valley in partnership with the John F. Kennedy Center. Closing out its fifth year, the final show is Wednesday at Court Square Theater.
J.R. Snow, coordinator of Harrisonburg City Public Schools fine arts department, applied to bring Any Given Child to Harrisonburg five years ago. As program manager, he has worked to extend the equity and access of arts in schools throughout the Valley by joining the Arts Council to fund arts education programs for students in preschool through eighth grade.
“Our main focus is providing live art experiences, and what that looks like is either taking students to art events or bringing art into schools. Our programs are outside of the curriculum. It allows students to find their identities as artists,” Snow said.
Marc Lonnett, a faculty member at Bridgewater College, is a finalist in this year’s competition, who decided to compete after performing backup for his wife’s lip-sync career last year. Lonnett is no stranger to being center stage, with a background in theater and as a former mascot, but he said the pseudo-sing-off is only half the fun.
“You can have a medium like a lip-sync battle that will spark people’s interest, but knowing what it’s raising money for is just that cherry on top,” Lonnett said.
To celebrate both the organization and competition’s wood anniversary, alumni from previous lip-sync years will join the stage to perform together after intermission.
In previous years, the final show has sold out, but this year Court Square Theater sold out of both preliminary shows, and tickets for Wednesday’s event were sold out in under three hours. Fans can still cheer for their favorite performers with a livestream sponsored by Appeal Production at Habana Cafe from 7 to 9 p.m. for $15. Tickets are available online or at the door.
Breaking records on records for the benefit event, over 25,000 votes were cast during the last lip-sync performance, according to Snow.
Susan Morrell Comfort is the assistant director for HCPS’s one-act theater competition and has over 20 years of theater experience. She said she does not often dance unless it is to embarrass her children, but she performed “Mr. Mom” and a medley of songs that use the word “shake” in the second preliminary night on Nov. 6.
Comfort said she was terrified to climb on stage and showcase a talent she had never practiced, much less honed, but she enjoyed trying something new with the knowledge that her efforts are benefiting the region’s schools.
“I like doing things outside of my comfort zone, and I like performing, so I just got up there — no experience, no idea what I was getting into. It is so much fun; it is so entertaining. It’s silly, it’s ridiculous, it’s amazing,” Comfort said. “We raised a lot of money for a good cause and had a lot of fun with the people in it.”
While judges give commentary and feedback to the fake singers, points are actually granted by votes from the general public. Anyone can cast 15 votes for $5, and on the night of the event, voting prices are reduced to $1 and are free after the show begins.
By Thanksgiving, Team Maureen was leading with 3,165 votes followed by Team Amanda with 1,360 and Team Brad with 830, but due to the style of voting, there is no guarantee who will win until the end of Wednesday’s performances.
Any Given Child’s website said the event has raised over $50,000 for arts education since 2014, and Snow said he hopes the fun and excitement will bring in more for the fundraiser.
“People like to be silly, and we don’t allow that inner child to come out,” Snow said. “There’s an artist in all of us that was maybe prevalent when we were younger. Now you can participate or watch. It’s hilarity and creativity.”
Contact Kathleen Shaw at 574-6274 or email@example.com. Follow Kathleen on Twitter @shawkareport
November 22, 2019 -- In conjunction with the Arts Council of the Valley and their Any Given Child initiative, Harman Realty has extended a corporate sponsorship to the Lip Sync Battle 2019, Battle in the ‘Burg. The proceeds of this wonderful event (operating in its 5th year) are used to support local students through a comprehensive arts education that encourages them to creatively connect and explore the value, relevance, and impact of the arts
Harman Realty’s very own Brad Cohen happens to be rocking and rolling on his way to the Finals (December 4th Court Square Theater) of this year’s Lip Sync Battle in the ‘Burg. Take a look below and check out Brad decked out in the latest Katy Perry garb.
Wow, that was intense. But wait. Have you ever also wondered what Brad looks like parading around as Uncle Redfoo of the party rock duo LMFAO?
All kidding aside, Harman Realty couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of this great cause and can’t wait to see who brings down the house and claims the crown on the 4th! Event Details
Any Given Child Shenandoah Valley is a program of the Arts Council of the Valley and a community partnership with the Education and National Partnership offices of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C.
The vision of the Any Given Child Shenandoah Valley is for all students to have a comprehensive arts education that supports and encourages students to creatively connect and explore the value, relevance, and impact of the arts. We believe quality arts instruction, rich in diverse art forms and cultural experiences, empowers students to be engaged, passionate, and successful. With the support of the community, it is our intent to ensure the arts for Any Given Child! Visit Website
The Arts Council of the Valley was founded in 2000 by a group of local citizens who had a dream of bolstering the arts within the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County communities. The founding group of members conducted their initial meetings on the stage at the Court Square Theater. The members managed the theater as its performing arts branch and created innovative partnerships amongst area businesses, civic organizations, schools, and certainly, artists.
Today the Arts Council has grown into a multi-faceted community resource that offers Advancing the Arts grants to artists and art educators, coordinates Harrisonburg’s First Fridays Downtown events, runs a creative Theater space for performing arts and film, and houses monthly exhibitions in its Smith House Galleries. As a community resource, the Arts Council Staff and Board welcome your feedback and your ideas for partnership. Please call or email with ways that we can better support you and the arts in our community. Visit Website
Lip Sync Contest To Benefit Any Given Child Harrisonburg
Justin McIlwee / Daily News Record
November 30, 2017
Flip over to Spike TV and you can watch Queen Latifah and Marlon Wayans battle. Or Mike Tyson and Terry Crews unleash their inner rock stars in a knock down, drag out, winner-take-all challenge.
No, it’s not a fight. It’s a lip sync battle — a phenomenon brought into the mainstream media and made popular by drag queen contestants on RuPaul’s Drag Race and late night host Jimmy Fallon.
Lip syncing is when a person matches a singer’s words and mouth movements without making a sound themselves. It can be done with any type of music and can involve theatrics, dancing and any other shenanigans the lip syncer brings to the table.
To piggyback on this popular practice, Any Given Child in Harrisonburg is set to host its third annual Lip Sync Battle: Battle in the Burg on Wednesday, Dec. 6, at 7 p.m. at Court Square Theater.
“Battle in the Burg came as an idea [because] we were trying to find a great way to raise funds and make it affordable for people to come out to a fundraising event,” said J.R. Snow, director of Any Given Child Harrisonburg. “We put it into play three years ago. We had our first rounds, and so we hope to have a great night.”
Snow said the idea of the battle came to him one night while he was just watching TV.
“[The idea] came at the beach, on vacation,” he said. “I was flipping through channels and came across the show on television. Sometimes, when you’re at your most relaxed state, you’re also the most creative. And so I just said, ‘I wonder if we could present something like this?’”
Last year’s benefit was able to raise over $18,000 for Any Given Child, which is an organization that works to ensure artistic equality and access to kids in prekindergarten to eighth grade in Harrisonburg City Public Schools. The organization is a partnership with the John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center in Washington, D.C.
Maggie Hagy, one of the contestants in this year’s competition and a music teacher at W.H. Keister Elementary School, explained the importance of having an organization like Any Given Child reside in Harrisonburg.
“Our students are able to see the power of the arts for expression and creation,” she said. “When they are able to see a professional group and work alongside them to create a piece of artwork, musical performance, dance performance or theater performance, then they feel empowered to create themselves. It is inspiring to see where you can go in the future if you keep arts alive in your classroom and in your life, and Any Given Child provides that opportunity.”
Snow said he expects this year’s performance to sell out, just like previous years. He said the community support for the event has been tremendous and that it’s extremely important to be able to keep raising money for such a worthy cause.
“It’s vital because as a newer organization and a partnership, we obviously want to get our name out,” he said. “The great thing about local money and local partnerships is that all of our money stays right here. Every dollar that we raise in an event like this goes directly to programming for students. Without that, students aren’t going to get that extra opportunity. Really, the program that we provide, focuses on allowing students to find their own identity as a creative artist.”
Tickets to the event are $25 and can be purchased online.
Contact Justin McIlwee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 574-6265
Lip Sync Battle in the ’Burg
On Wednesday, Any Given Child Harrisonburg will host its own version of the celebrated show at Court Square Theater at 7 p.m. in its event Lip Sync Battle in the ’Burg.
According to Any Given Child Harrisonburg’s website, it’s a partnership initiative sponsored by the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., focused on providing arts programming and education to kids all over the nation. A program the city of Harrisonburg and Harrisonburg City Public Schools applied to be a part of, AGCH provides art experiences for kids in pre-K through eighth grade. AGCH is currently in its third year of implementation since being selected for the national program in August 2014.
J.R. Snow, the director or AGCH and a JMU alumnus (’99), came up with the idea of hosting a lip sync battle as a fundraiser while watching the TV show. Wanting to put on an affordable event where people could have fun, Snow decided a lip sync battle would be a perfect, low-budget way to raise money for AGCH. “We were sitting around and we were flipping through channels [and] it came up,” Snow said. “And I said, ‘You know what? I think this model could actually work if we could find some fun folks who we’d want to come out and kind of make fun of themselves a little bit, have a good time and create some opportunities for people to come to an affordable fundraiser.’”
While this is the third year AGCH has hosted the event, this year’s lip sync battle is different from years past. Previously, the event was held over three nights with two preliminary rounds and a final. This year, the event will be consolidated into one night, and five contestants will compete for what Snow calls “the illustrious title of Lip Sync Battle Champion of Harrisonburg.”
Similar to the past, Lip Sync Battle in the ’Burg has contestants prepare two songs to perform for the audience. The show will feature small interviews with the contestants as well as judges to make comments on their respective performances.
People from all over the country can cast their vote for favorite contestants online for $1 per vote prior to the event, but if they purchase a $25 ticket to the show online or at the event, voting is free. The money raised from Lip Sync Battle in the ’Burg goes directly toward arts programming for children in the community. Last year, AGCH raised close to $20,000 toward its initiative through the event.
Instead of having star-studded contestants like the TV show, AGCH invites members of the community to participate in Lip Sync Battle in the ’Burg. This year’s show features five contestants from vastly different backgrounds, including a contestant who works at the high school, a young professional from JMU and a music teacher from the Harrisonburg school division.
“It really has been very diverse,” Snow said. “I have the pleasure of giving them the call and [saying], ‘Hey, I think you’d be awesome at this. Are you willing to have some fun with us and do this?’ It’s a great conversation, and so lots of people have been willing to do it.”
Maggie Hagy, a music teacher at W.H. Keister Elementary School and a JMU alumna (’15), is one of this year’s contestants. Recruited by Snow during her first week of her job at Keister, Hagy knew she had to step her game up when she found out she was one of five people competing. She frequently performs all over town as a singer and says this event will be new for her.
“I can sing, right? Like, that’s my thing is I can sing,” Hagy said. “But this is not singing, this is lip syncing. And so I have had to try and work some of my talents in a very creative way ... It’ll hopefully be a little surprise, but hopefully bring in some of my own personal talents to the stage.”
Kristen Loflin is a JMU alumna (master’s in ’04) and mental health and substance abuse counselor with her own practice. Her extensive preparation has transformed into an elaborate performance, from making costumes to conducting rehearsals. While she’s attended AGCH’s past lip sync battles and said she’s never laughed harder in her life, this is Loflin’s first year as a contestant and she plans on going all out. Both songs she’s preparing involve other performers — her first with her two children and her second with a group of 12 friends who are avid supporters of the fine arts programs.
Loflin has enjoyed getting the group together to get creative with their performance.
“Everyone in this group is so dedicated and busy and we are just having a blast laughing at ourselves, laughing at each other, getting creative, which is, you know, what Any Given Child is really all about,” Loflin said.
Alan Quimby, a technology resource teacher and JMU alumnus (’00), is making his return to the Lip Sync Battle on the ’Burg stage this year. Some may remember Quimby from 2016’s lip sync battle, where he donned a platinum wig to play the convincing role Sandy in his friend’s performance of a “Grease” song. This year, Quimby is making a comeback as a main contestant. Previously a fifth-grade teacher, he says he’s used to making a fool of himself to get people interested and is excited to perform for this year’s audience. “I think being on stage with the crowd reacting is what I’m looking forward to most,” Quimby said. “It’s a lot of fun for people to be laughing and smiling.”
While Snow hopes that Lip Sync Battle in the ’Burg gives people a chance to come out and have fun, he also expects the event to help provide further opportunities for the children of Harrisonburg.
“The whole point of the initiative is about this idea of collective impact,” Snow said. “Meaning we’re going to bring the community together to kind of really battle this work. And so I think the most exciting thing is one, we get to share it with an audience about the work that we do, and two, we get to have a lot of fun with people and at the end of the night, everybody walks away knowing we provided some opportunities for kids and that kids are going to get artistic experiences because of their willingness to come out on a Wednesday night in Harrisonburg.”
Forbes Center Welcomes HCPS Middle and High Schoolers for Free Music Performance
Union Sponsors 'Forbes Family Fun' Shows for Third Season
See the original Article HERE
More than 500 middle and high school students in Harrisonburg City Public Schools (HCPS) got to see the female a cappella group from Zimbabwe, Nobuntu, thanks to the Forbes Center for the Performing Arts. As a major presenting partner with Any Given Child (AGC) Harrisonburg, the Forbes Center has made a commitment to provide quality performing arts programming in conjunction with the AGC national program overseen by The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Locally, the AGC program is focused on ensuring access and equity for all children in grades preK-8 in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Students had the opportunity to attend a matinee on Thursday, Nov. 16. The 60-minute performance was followed by a question-and-answer session with the five members of Nobuntu.
According to Regan Byrne, executive director of the Forbes Center and a member of the Arts Experience committee for AGC Harrisonburg, the Forbes Center has promised to offer varying groups and age ranges within preK-8 the chance to experience at least one live performance per season. In addition to Nobuntu, the Forbes Center will host HCPS students for The 13-Story Treehouse by Australia’s CDP Theatre Producers in January and How I Became a Pirate by Dallas Children’s Theater in April. Nobuntu, The 13-Story Treehouse and How I Became a Pirate are all ‘Forbes Family Fun’ shows included in the Forbes Center 2017-2018 Masterpiece Season.
Now in their fifth season, Forbes Family Fun shows were introduced by the Center to provide quality performing arts programming for young audiences and their families. This year’s Forbes Family Fun series is sponsored by Union Bank & Trust, who has sponsored the series since 2015.
“Union Bank & Trust is a longtime supporter of the arts, area schools, charitable organizations, and local causes. We are excited to return as the sponsor of the Forbes Family Fun series, supporting and raising awareness of the performing arts in the Shenandoah Valley,” says Charlie Martorana, senior vice president/Harrisonburg market executive at Union. According to Byrne, “It’s always gratifying when a business leader such as Union makes a commitment to young people in the Valley. Sponsorship makes it possible for the Forbes Center to reach out to diverse audiences and to provide quality family programming.”
For tickets to Forbes Center events, visit www.jmuforbescenter.com or call the Forbes Center Box Office at (540) 568-7000.
Any Given Child Harrisonburg, in partnership with Harrisonburg City Public Schools Fine Arts, Harrisonburg Education Foundation, Arts Council of the Valley, Harrisonburg City Council, The City of Harrisonburg, and Stonewall Jackson Inn Bed and Breakfast welcomed Charlotte Based Artist Edwin Gil to present his Faces of Diversity Project. Thanks to WHSV for THIS COVERAGE and the Daily News Record for the article below.
Hands-On Art Project
Any Given Child Harrisonburg Installs Mosaic in City Hall
Posted: April 21, 2017
By PETE DELEA
Daily News Record
More than 900 Harrisonburg children have left their mark inside City Hall.
On Friday, Any Given Child Harrisonburg unveiled its Faces of Diversity social art project in the lobby of the building at 409 S. Main Street.
The artwork include the thumbprints of every kindergarten and first-grade student in Harrisonburg City Public Schools.
"It's the community's piece," said J.R. Snow, director of Any Given Child Harrisonburg. "It's reall exciting. It's leaving a lasting impression."
Any Given Child Harrisonburg is an initiative whose goals is to ensure all students have access to arts education, and it "encourages students to creatively connect and explore the value, relevance, and impact of the arts,'" according to its website.
Artist Edwin Gil, 45, of Charlotte, arrived in the Friendly City on Sunday and began working on the project Monday morning.
During the week, Gil visited all five of the city's elementary schools to collect thumbprints.
Each school used a different color of paint, and the prints were attached to recycled pieces of glass.
Gil, who moved to the United States in 1998 after fleeing Colombia, used them to create an 8 by 8 foot mosaic.
The thumbprints surround a face that was created by blending three students' faces.
The pieces of glass were taken to the Any Given Child's office in The Hub on West Bruce Street, where Gil went to work creating the artwork.
It was then moved to City Hall, it's permanent home.
Throughout the week, Gil talked to the students about diversity. He said explaining to them that everyone is different might make for a more peaceful community.
"If we put a little seen in their head, it's going to change our society." he said.
Snow said his daughter Olivia, a six year old kindergarten student at Keister Elementary School, got to see the mosaic Thursday night.
As she looked at the artwork searching for her thumbprint, he asked her what she learned from the project.
Her response: "Diversity is different, and different is good."