Learning Awakens

The Academy for the Love of Learning Presents its Second Annual Festival of Learning

It’s been over 15 years since the music composer and learning leader, Aaron Stern, brought his visionary Academy for the Love of Learning to Santa Fe. What began as a small band of thinkers at a rented space near the Baking Company has grown into a team of more than two dozen staff, faculty, artists, classroom teachers, health care providers, elders and volunteers, united under the common banner of bringing learning to life, in and out of schools.

This spring, the Academy’s year of creativity and hard work, throughout the city of Santa Fe will be thrown open to the public in a two week Festival of Learning, with two main public events on April 22nd and May 7th.

Friday April 22nd, 4:30-7:30 PM, Santa Fe Railyard

In collaboration with Siete del Norte, SITE Santa Fe, and six local public schools, the Academy will showcase learning from two programs: El Otro Lado in the Schools and Inspire Santa Fe.

At SITE Santa Fe, public school children, teachers and teaching artists will be sharing journals, artwork and performance created over a yearlong exploration of identity and place through the Academy’s unique El Otro Lado in the Schools program. Founded by beloved community artist Chrissie Orr, with guidance and vision from Aaron Stern, El Otro Lado in the Schools has changed the way teachers, children and artists view themselves and the world. A visitor to last year’s El Otro Lado in the Schools culminating event reflected on the “huge feeling of community” the was created, a rarity in today’s society.

Simultaneously, across the street in the Farmers’ Market Pavilion, over 70 volunteer mentors and their young protégés (aged 9-19 years old) from Inspire Santa Fe will be sharing what they have learned together through performances and interactive displays. Facilitated in collaboration with the 40-year-old Community Development Corporation, Siete del Norte, and with major support from Monte del Sol Charter School, Mayor Javier Gonzales and the City of Santa Fe, Inspire Santa Fe pairs young people with adult mentors for weekly meetings in an area of deep interest for both mentor and protégé. The fields of exploration vary wildly, from basketball to architecture, from computer coding to wild mustang management, from kung fu to culinary arts and much, much more. Last year, Inspire Santa Fe’s first mentorship showcase drew in over 300 people, with rave reports, including an observer who noted the lack of a generational gap. “Great to see kids and adults together,” the visitor reported. “This is something you usually don’t see in this country.”

Saturday May 7, 7 PM, Lensic Performing Arts Center

Heartstrings will be pulled as the Academy concludes its 2016 Festival of Learning with another culminating performance from the Lifesongs program. Conceived and directed by local artists Molly Sturges and Acushla Bastible, Lifesongs is yet another way the Academy is breaking down institutional and cultural barriers and uniting people of all ages in a shared love of learning. Featuring songs and performances created by elders, community choirs, artists and children, the annual Lifesongs concert illuminates the joy of people coming together to learn, laugh and create music. As one concert-goer reported last year, “Sometimes these stories get lost in the day-to-day routine. It was moving, beautiful to hear their stories.”

The April 22nd events are completely free. The Lifesongs concert on May 7th does have a ticket cost. Please learn more by visiting the Festival of Learning webpage at www.aloveoflearning.org/learn or calling at 505.995.1860. We hope you will come celebrate learning with us this spring!