Family Events: Offering Unique One-of-a-Kind Arts Experiences

Planning Family Events for students and their families is something ArtsConnection has been doing since the 1970s, but never before has it looked quite like what it looks like now. In our recent Think Tank initiative, the Family Events team met for 8 consecutive weeks to collaborate and innovate, devising remote interactive arts experiences for children and their families. Musicians, puppeteers, visual artists, dancers, improv theater artists, and circus artists linked in unexpected ways to create live and pre-recorded workshops. The Day of The Iguana, streamed live on ArtsConnection’s YouTube channel, is one such workshop that resulted: visual artist Angel Thompson Georges leads participants through creating their own iguana puppet, Retumba! teaches an iguana dance from Puerto Rico, Mexico Beyond Mariachi sings an iguana song from Mexico, and Mike Durkin of Freestyle leads an interactive improvised story featuring iguanas, wrapping up the whole celebration with an iguana dance party. Check out a family-made iguana puppet below!

The other shows team members created were Dance Around the World featuring Dionne Kamara, Aishwarya Madhav, and Susanna Dolan teaching dances from Jamaica, India, and China, with Katrina Avino Barracato showing students how to make ribbon dance sticks that were then used in all three dances; and The Bubble Show, which featured Angel Thompson Georges teaching kids how to make bubble wands with ingredients from around the house, Circus Arts artist and puppeteer Laine Barton and musician Marco Granados performing a bubble and flute music show, puppeteer Ron Sopyla performing table-top Theater folk tale from Lithuania, and a bubble-making lesson.

In this time when the difficult global situation has created such a deficit in community, these family events are bringing families together as part of larger school groups, celebrating these communities while strengthening them through creating shared experiences that are helping the disconnected connect with joy as they learn about art forms. In offering new arts experiences connecting kids and their families to one another in a celebration of learning, creative expression, and community, our artists are helping to strengthen family bonds via the vibrancy of shared arts experiences.

Preview ArtsConnection’s Day of the Iguana Show, Dance Around the World Show, and Bubble Show below:

Teaching artists Peter from Mexico Beyond Mariachi and Angel collaborated for the Day of the Iguana Family Event through music and puppetry. Watch to see how second-grader Linus’s puppet turned out!

The Dance Around the World Show featured ribbon dance stick making with teaching artist Katrina, and a trip around the world as teaching artists Dionne, Aishwarya, and Susanna shared dances from Jamaica, India, and China.

The Bubble Show featured teaching artist Angel demonstrating how to make a bubble wand and bubble solution, teaching artist Ron sharing a table-top folktale from Lithuania, and teaching artists Marcos and Laine coming together to show just how many tricks you can do with bubbles and a tune!


ArtsConnection links learning to the arts for school-aged children and now, more than ever, we need your support to continue creating these connections. Donate now to help us provide art material kits to accompany remote lessons, seminar courses for our teens to virtually explore the rich NYC arts landscape, and so much more.