ABS Thursday Notes- December 20, 2018

Thursday Notes                           

Published for the Arts Based School Community                                                         December 20, 2018




Winter Break- No School

 Dec 20-Jan 1


How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert


In difficult times, carry something beautiful in your heart.” – Pascal


When I was a teen, I attended an annual summer camp in the high, wild mountains of my native Montana. One night, our group sat gazing at the vivid stars of the high country while listening to a counselor, who stood looking up, the campfire flickering over his neck and jaw as he spoke. Suddenly, directly behind him, the moon appeared as a teeny wink at the tip of a sharp mountain peak, illuminating the July snow cap. The speaker stopped, and we watched silently. With a strangely fluid pace, the wink became a slice, the slice became a beacon, and the moon appeared to glide faster and faster upward, until it slipped above the rocky spires and floated freely into the sky, flooding us with silver. We all burst into cheers and applause.


In the decades since that moment, through dangers, losses, challenges and triumphs, I have relived memory of that excruciating beauty; a lightsaber of healing balm. When the video of 9/11 was played over and over on television in 2001, I wondered what talismans of goodness our children could recall, to balance those horrific images, to give them courage, to revive the joy of being alive and present. It is necessary sustenance for the journey. Did they each have a moonrise moment?


The poet and philosopher John O’Donahue described a crisis of interiority in modern life, where time is a bully, who can press us through days without a moment of simply being with ourselves. He urged people to study “the art of inwardness.” In conversation with journalist Krista Tippett, O’Donahue said: “I find the aesthetic things like poetry, fiction, good film, theater, drama, dance and music actually awaken that, and remind you that there is a huge interiority within you.” He went on to describe a concert in New York where audience was “swept of their feet by just beauty.”


In some traditions, now is a time to consider gift giving, and what is truly of value. I believe that our school strives to give children the gift of interior light. We want to see them succeed in every way. The tests, certainly. Friendships, absolutely. Academic accomplishments, of course. But we want to give them something of a secret weapon: access to beauty.


How do we define that? How do we know when we have arrived? We don’t. We can only open doors outwardly, open windows inwardly, and say “Look at this! Try that! It’s yours to experience, yours to express.” The breathtaking side effect is our own delight when that moonlight is reflected back at us, in the sweet singing voices of fifth graders, the bafflingly mature drawings of Kindergarten flowers, or the clever, complex historical raps of the eighth graders. Proof once again that it is more blessed to give, than to receive.


How Our Teachers Re-Fuel

The idea of the arts as a means of internal nourishment is one that our teachers not only share but embrace personally. Over the “snowcation”, I asked our staff via a simple survey how they made and consumed the arts. Here are the results: The largest percentage cooked, baked, sang, and decorated. They also made visual art: painting, drawing, sculpting, textile work, woodworking and crafting. They danced, composed music, played instruments. They wrote: poetry, prose, song lyrics, and playwrighting. As consumers, the largest number read books and poetry, and listened to music. They attended concerts, ballets, and plays. They ate artisan and home-cooked food, watched movies and TV, went to museums, and made snow sculptures.


Our teachers know that making and enjoying the arts is a rich way to recharge internally, so they are balanced and ready to get back to the work of opening little minds and hearts. We are all grateful to live in a community with so much to offer.


Annual Giving
We are truly grateful to everyone who has donated to our Annual Giving campaign so far! Thank you!

Total School Participation to Date: 22%
Total Gifts to Date: $38,332

This year, as in past years, we are hoping to achieve 100% participation. Family participation in Annual Giving at The Arts Based School is more than financial support; it is a vote of confidence that demonstrates your belief in and investment in your school. Please make a gift or a pledge today!


We ask all parents for financial support just once each year. Please give as generously as you are able. If you prefer to make a secure gift online, visit: artsbasedschool.com/your-support



We anticipate the completion of the 5th grade classrooms during the winter break.  We have movers scheduled to move the 5th grade classrooms out of the theater and dance studio into the new rooms. We look forward to resuming normal operations and schedules beginning in January.  Beginning January 2, fifth grade students should be dropped off at the 7th Street building in the morning.

Snow Make Up Days

So far this school year we have missed 8 days of school due to inclement weather.  The first three days are forgiven.  At this point, three days will be made up according to our built-in make up days in the calendar.  We will attend school Feb 18, June 6, and June 7.    Since it is so early in the season, the ABS board may need to consider additional days if we experience more cancelled days in January and February.  Stay tuned to the weather report!