Every year, teachers and program directors bring a world-class performing arts resource into their buildings by simply opening their doors.
The artists and ensembles who walk through the door are more traditional than technological; they aren’t trained in robotics, webcasting, or video editing. They aren’t equipped with motion cameras or 3-D printing. But they are priceless in the expertise that they bring into every gym, auditorium, and classroom.
The artists and ensembles who are selected for a residency in the Visiting Artist Series are highly accomplished and frequently recognized or awarded at a national and international level. They are selected for both their artistic talents and their ability to engage public audiences, particularly students.
Each season of the Visiting Artist Series presents high-quality examples of music, dance, and theater. The purpose of each school or community site visit isn’t solely performance; it’s about modeling the hard work, dedication, and proficiency mindset that allowed them to become top-tier professional artists. These artists have an ear for music, feet made for dancing, and a voice made to carry through an auditorium. Despite the differences in their genres and their art forms, they all have a brain for the arts.
The outreaches given by each visiting artist during a week-long residency provide an experience that builds on classroom discussion, enhances school curriculum, adds to students’ knowledge of the performing arts from around the world, and develops future audience members.
This spring, the series was forced to cancel two residencies — one planned for steel drum player John Patti in March and another in May for multi-genre quintet Jarabe Mexicano. These two artists were part of the 46th season that featured a dozen other artists and ensembles for outreach performances in the Quad City region.
John Patti’s performance moves jazz and blues to a new level by adding the unique island flare of the steel drum. Patti is well versed in various genres of music, from sophisticated jazz to island jazz and the reggae sounds of the steel pan, R&B, Motown, and blues gives his performance some groove and soul.
Jarabe Mexicano takes audiences on a joyride through a versatile songbook of Mexican Folk as well as Rock & Roll, Tex-Mex, Latin Rock, and Reggae-Cumbia. Performing on stringed folk instruments accompanied by lively percussion, Jarabe’s dramatic, harmonized vocals in Spanish and English have gained them the admiration of many audiences.
The series is all about increasing the public’s access to the performing arts. It provides low-cost opportunities for Quad City area residents to see performances that would otherwise be out of reach. It brings the same distinguished, professional artists to schools for a nominal fee, regardless of their size, location, or academic level. As a result, this access to live and engaging performances improve our schools and our residents’ lives through the arts.
To find out more about the Visiting Artist Series visit our lineup.
If you would like to attend a Visiting Artist school outreach performance, contact us via e-mail or call (309) 793-1213.
The Visiting Artist Series is able to be produced by area grants and supporters of the arts. If you would like to support programs like this, consider becoming a Quad City Arts Partner.