Sami Dulam ’21, gives back to her local community through her passion for Art.
This summer 25 students were accepted in the CSGC grants program. These grants are funded due to the generous support of the Cost, Earle/Mendillo and Workman families, who established endowment funds to support the community and public service endeavors of future generations of Deerfield students. For more information on these grants please visit: https://deerfield.edu/csgc/grants.
The arts have always been an integral part of my life. Growing up, I was enrolled and loved being a part of ballet and studio art classes. I always enjoyed writing in school. As I got older, however, I realized much of the art that was present in my life was outside of school and not readily accessible to all elementary students in my hometown of Natchez, MS. I wanted to provide this opportunity, that had given me so many fond memories as a kid, to all children in my hometown.
This summer, I have been running a camp that has provided opportunities for the arts of dance, studio art, and poetry for young children. Although I had intended to hold classes in my former dance teacher’s studio, after considering the current circumstances, I felt that congregating inside for classes would not have been a safe decision during these times. For the first part of the camp, I decided to move the classes online through Zoom, which was a relatively smooth transition for the kids and their families as the majority of the kids had had online school class during the spring. These online classes have also been able to give these children some physical exercise at home, as many have not had opportunities to stay active during quarantine. Throughout the summer, I have been gauging the conditions, and if circumstances allow later in the summer, I will move classes to my former dance teacher’s studio so the children and I can be physically present together in the classes.
As the majority of the children were around the kindergarten-6th grade age range, I gathered from a few classes, that the best way to carry them out was to focus on only one art discipline during that class day. During one of our dance days, we first did a ballet barre warm-up, where I taught the kids the proper terminology and positions of the movements. We then went into a jazz style combination and I talked them through some trademark and traditional jazz movements. With the combination, I first took them through each step and then we went through the combination a few times with music. At the end of the class, we had a dance party where all the children showed off their improvisation skills! It was so wonderful and heartwarming to see their big smiles and curiosity. They constantly asked questions wanting to learn more and get better, and their energy radiated through the screen to everyone as if we were all physically present together in a studio.
With generous support from the Earle family, the Mendillo family, and the Center for Service and Global Citizenship (CSGC), I will be able to buy canvases, paints, pencils, pens, and papers for all of the children to experiment and learn. If allowed to safely move classes to be face-to-face, with the support of the Earle family, the Mendillo family, and the CSGC, I also would be able to give back to the dance studio that had given so much to me as a little girl.