TNCS Preprimary Gets Wound Up for a Very Special Art Show!

The Arts are an extremely important part of daily life at The New Century School . . . and that’s true for all students, in all divisions, from preprimary right up through middle school. Earlier this year, the 2- and 3-year-olds in the Spanish immersion classrooms were treated to a visit by Baltimore multimedia artist Matt Muirhead.

Mr. Muirhead is originally from Ulverston in the Lake District in Northern England but came to the United States with his family in 1983. He was drawn to art after finding himself at a bit of a loose end after high school. He decided to make use of his long-time skill with drawing cartoons and went to work as an artist, a career he knew would hold his interest. He currently paints, does screen printing, makes musical instruments, and plays in a musical duo with his partner McKenzie.

A Long and Winding Art Form

TNCS preprimary teacher Laura Noletto (“Sra. Lala”) invited Mr. Muirhead to present his “crankie,” a storytelling art form originating in the 19th century when it was known as a “moving panorama.” Picture a scroll wound onto two spools, all housed inside a box (or suitcase, for example). The scroll is illustrated and attached to a crank; as the crank is turned, a visual story literally unwinds. The storytelling is typically enhanced by narration and music, or even puppets, in Mr. Muirhead’s case. Sounds pretty neat, right?

Baltimore is home to Crankie Fest, a celebration of these scrolling beauties, established by another Baltimore artist, Kathleen Fahey. The 5th annual Crankie Fest happened in January at the Creative Alliance, with Mr. Muirhead participating along with a host of other crankie artists. (*See a video from the 2016 Crankie Fest below.)

Sra. Lala explains that she was first introduced to crankies when she came to Baltimore: “As an art researcher and an educator, I was fascinated with this form of art that is like a sculpture mixed with music mixed with painting that moves like a musical box with the artist telling a story or a narrative,” she said. “Mr. Muirhead’s crankies are like love letters to Baltimore—he is painting landmarks, like Patterson Park and Penn Station, and telling the story of Baltimore.” She explains that although all crankies are built on the same basic principles, they vary widely in construction, especially in the crank mechanism. Having attended the 2018 Crankie Fest, she has seen quite a number of crankies but considers Mr. Muirhead’s the most advanced she has ever seen. “The crankie culture is growing,” said Sra. Lala, “and I think we’re going to see it more. It’s blooming.”

Artists in the Classroom

Seeing the crankie culture spreading and flourishing coupled with wanting to do something special for TNCS preprimary students for Valentine’s Day gave Sra. Lala an idea: “Bringing [Mr. Muirhead] and his crankie to TNCS was to show the kids their city and celebrate it. I thought it would show them where they are, where we’re living. He makes a lot of references to the city and uses a lot of color.” “A Walk through Baltimore” (working title) features a cat puppet strolling through Baltimore neighborhoods and encountering other animals to the accompaniment of a kalimba (also known as thumb piano, marímbula, and mbira) attached to the crankie. To make the story age appropriate for TNCS preprimary students, Mr. Muirhead simply slowed things down a bit and interacted with his audience. “The crankie was also an educational tool,” explained Sra. Lala, “because we would name the animals in Spanish—perro, gato—during the presentation.”

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Mr. Muirhead says he enjoyed bringing his crankie to TNCS. “It was so great,” he said. “Those kids are adorable. Although I had heard it was difficult to keep 2-year-olds’ attention, they were really into it.”

Sra. Lala hopes to expose her students to more art and artists and vice versa. She sees great potential in this interaction:

I’m always interested when an artist meets very young children because in many ways they are similar in how they see life. Both groups are in love with life and very sensitive and perceptive, so they get along naturally well. This has been a great opportunity to see what happens, and it worked wonderfully—you can see how focused and attentive the children are. At TNCS, we have an alternative way of teaching, and this is an example. [Mr. Muirhead] got really inspired by the dynamic, so now we know we can bring other artists in Baltimore to connect with the students. Everyone was very happy about it.

Although this was her first such “experiment” at TNCS, Sra. Lala did similar things at the college where she taught in Venezuela. “By the end of my experience I had 30 artists at the school,” she recounts. “That took a while to get to know the community, to find the artists, and make the connections, but I love that as an educator. It’s very inspiring for both ends because my students helped the artists create, and the artists got an appreciative audience.”

She envisions having local artists join her classroom at TNCS at least a few times a year going forward, given the success of Mr. Muirhead’s visit and the wonder inspired by “A Walk through Baltimore.”

Meet Crankie!

Here is “A Walk through Baltimore” in its original, non-slowed-down form. Prepare to be mesmerized.

And, if you need to see it in person, Mr. Muirhead will be one of the featured artists at Nights on the Fringe, “a weekend-long curated cabaret hosted by Charm City Fringe, June 8th and 9th.” You can also see his paintings on display at The Charmery in Hampden and at Java Joe’s in downtown Baltimore. For even more art by Matt Muirhead, follow mattmuirheadartist on Instagram.

*Want more crankie?

Top 27 Family-Friendly Winter Break Activities in Baltimore!

That’s right, folks—this is Your Guide to Surviving Winter Break with the Kiddos, brought to you by Immersed and The New Century School (with a lot of help from our neighbors and friends!).

The following list runs chronologically, not hierarchically, and activities included met the one criterion of occurring between December 16, 2016 and January 3, 2017 (or later), a period that roughly corresponds to Winter Break for Baltimore City Schools. The list was specially curated to entertain kids of all ages and cultures.

#1. Edgar Allen Poe House & Museum Self-Guided Tourzzdata-3770_580x360

  • Date(s)/Times: December 17–December 19, 11:00 am–3:45 pm
  • Description: Come tour 203 N. Amity, the tiny house where Edgar Allan Poe launched his renowned career as the denizen of darkness. As well, enjoy the Baltimore Camera Club’s special springtime 2016 exhibit:“ Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe,” featuring diverse works inspired by Poe, his poetry, literature, and legacy. Don’t miss this chance to enjoy this diverse selection while visiting the Poe House & Museum, exploring this tiny home, and the exhibit in the room where we presume Poe once slept and dreamed.

#2. Posadas: Tradiciones Navidenas Latinoamericanas at the Creative Allianceuntitled-1_0

  • Date(s)/Times: December 17–December 19, 6:00 pm–10:00 pm
  • Description: Join a singing procession with Mary, Joseph, and the Mariachi Rey Azteca band. Dinner, DJ Eddie Chabot, and a piñata breaking party to follow! People of all beliefs are welcome. Please bring a dish, beverages, or dessert to share in the spirit of the tradition. To volunteer and/or to participate, please register info@creativealliance.org.

#3. German Holiday Village in Baltimorezzdata-1973_580x386

  • Date(s)/Times: December 17–December 24; Sunday–Thursday, 11:00 am–7:00 pm and Friday–Saturday, 11:00 am–8:00 pm
  • Description: West Shore Park at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor will once again transform into a European Wonderland for the annual Holiday Village. A large variety of weekday and weekend events designed to please young and old await to be explored! Over 50 international vendors located both inside a huge heated festival tent and outdoors in traditional wooden booths will offer their unique giftware! Wander the market with the smell of sweet waffles, gingerbread, and Gluhwine (mulled wine) wafting through the air or enjoy a sizzling Bratwurst right from the grill! New for 2016—join Downtown Baltimore Family Alliance for Family Friday on December 23 from 3:00 pm–6:00 pm for lots of activities for the kiddos including photos with Santa, face painting, life-sized games, kids’ rides, and craft sessions!

#4. Northern Exposure, Season 1, at the Jewish Museum of Marylandzzdata-6886_580x844

  • Date(s)/Times: December 25; 12:00 pm–5:00 pm
  • Description: Join JMM for a relaxing afternoon to visit Cicely, Alaska. Inspired by Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America, we will be screening episodes from Season One of Northern Exposure. This cult TV show follows the life of recently graduated New York City physician, Dr. Joel Fleischman, who is sent to practice in Alaska to fulfill his obligation after Alaska paid for his medical education. Throughout the screening, popcorn and hot chocolate will be served.

#5. Baltimore Chanukah Festivalzzdata-6901_580x387

  • Date(s)/Times: December 25–December 27; starting at 2:00 pm (click above link for times of specific activities)
  • Description: Celebrate the start of Chanukah with the lighting of Maryland’s largest menorah, along with a parade, live music, kid’s activities, fireworks, Grand Menorah Lighting of the Esther Ann Menorah, kosher food truck, and live music! Admission is free and open to the public.

#6. Miracle on 34th Streetzzdata-6634_580x435

  • Date(s)/Times: December 17–December 31; 5:15 pm–11:00 pm
  • Description: One block in Hampden bursts with light each holiday season as residents illuminate their row homes and mount quirky ornaments, from a giant snow globe to a Christmas tree made of hubcaps. It’s a holiday tradition like no other.

#7. Kwanzaa Family Fun Dayszzdata-6014_580x360

  • Date(s)/Times: December 30; 12:00 pm–5:00 pm (click the above link for times of specific activities)
  • Description: Bring the family to the Reginald F. Lewis Museum to celebrate the holiday’s 50th anniversary and the Kwanzaa principle Nia (“Purpose”). Enjoy storytelling, African dancing, and drumming by Sankofa Dance Theater. Sallah Jenkins leads holiday craft-making. Travel with teaching artist Culture Queen through Culture Kingdom Kids’ Kwanzaaland to explore the seven Kwanzaa principles at workshop stations. Dr. Jeffrey Menzise of Morgan State University gives the keynote speech about the meaning of Nia.

#8. New Year’s Eve Midnight Noonmn_234x172-240x176

  • Date(s)/Times: December 31; 9:00 am–2:00 pm
  • Description: Does the ball drop after your bedtime? Not this year! Ring in the New Year at the Maryland Science Center! Join us for our 9th annual New Year’s Eve celebration, Midnight Noon, where children can enjoy the ball drop before bed time. There will be fun New Year’s festivities throughout the day, including a live concert by popular kids band Milkshake. Their Grammy-nominated tunes will keep you dancing throughout the day. Crafts will be available while supplies last. Guests can look forward to constructing noise makers and making party favors. The entire Science Center will be open and ready for you to explore.

#9. Noontime New Year Snow Ball at Port Discoveryntny-snow-ball

  • Date(s)/Times: December 31; 10:00 am–5:00 pm
  • Description: Don’t miss one of Baltimore’s best family-friendly New Year’s celebrations. Port Discovery’s Noontime New Year Snow Ball Celebration features Baltimore’s original kid-friendly countdown and balloon drop, Eric Energy’s famous energy show, dance parties, tons of art projects, a juice and cookie toast, and more.

#10. 4th Annual Kiddie Scoop Ball Droptncs-top-27-winter-break-activities-baltimore

  • Date(s)/Times: December 31; 8:00 pm
  • Description: It’s NYE and you want to spend it with your entire family, but midnight is so far away. From the giant scoop in front of The Charmery is the Kiddie Scoop Ball Drop, complete with a countdown featuring the milk jug ball and a complimentary sparkling cider toast. Let’s ring in the New Year . . . a little early.

#11. Holly Jolly Trolley Tourzzdata-6881_580x363

  • Date(s)/Times: December 17-January 1, Thursday-Sunday from 6:00 pm–8:00 pm and 8:30 pm–10:30 pm
  • Description: Young and old will delight in sharing a magical evening filled with holiday music, festive light displays, and beautiful neighborhood decorations, all aboard an old fashioned trolley! The 2-hour tour, conducted by an expert guide, will begin at Royal Sonesta Harbor Court in downtown Baltimore and will then proceed to take guests through the adorned neighborhoods of Harbor East, Fells Point, and Canton where they will learn a little local history and observe the charming sights and sounds of the holidays. Next, the Trolley will head north to Hampden to see and enjoy the block-long spectacular 34th Street Annual Christmas Festival of Lights, complete with colorful lights, outdoor train gardens, original artwork from local artists, and sparkling displays. On the way back to the Inner Harbor, guests will ride pass the George Washington Monument in Baltimore’s Mount Vernon neighborhood where it has been beautifully decorated for the season.

#12. The 3rd Annual Merry Little Festival: A Spectacular Sight, For a Worthy Causezzdata-6855_715x360

  • Date(s)/Times: December 17-January 1
  • Description: This dazzling and fun-filled festival will transform the Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore’s lobby into a winter wonderland for the holidays. Guests and locals alike will be welcomed into the hotel by glistening display of trees, each with its own unique theme. Snap a photo in front of a tree and share by using #FSFestive.

#13. B&O’s Magical Holiday Expresstncs-top-27-activities-baltimore-winter-break

  • Date(s)/Times: December 17–December 31 & January 2; Monday-Saturday, 10am-4pm; Sunday, 11am-4pm (Museum closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day & New Year’s Day)
  • Description: All aboard the B&O’s Magical Holiday Express, a holiday spectacular celebration in the B&O Roundhouse devoted to trains of all sizes and shapes, holiday festivities, and a winter wonderland of family fun and activities. There is something to see and do every day at this annual holiday event, with special guests, train layouts, crafts, and more each week!

#14. Visit the Enoch Pratt Free Library with extended holiday hourstncs-top-27-winter-break-activities-baltimore

  • Date(s)/Times: December 17–January 2; please click the above link for hours each day
  • Description: So many happenings! Click the above link for details.

#15. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in 4Dzzdata-6599_580x375

  • Date(s)/Times: December 17–January 2; aquarium hours are Monday–Thursday, 10:00 am–4:00 pm; Friday, 10:00 am–8:00 pm; Saturday–Sunday, 10:00 am–5:00 pm (4D Immersion film times vary; click the above link for details)
  • Description: The National Aquarium presents a magical twist on a holiday classic this winter, as “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer 4-D” debuts at the National Aquarium’s 4-D Immersion Theater. Guests can journey with Rudolph as he sets off on a series of funny and endearing adventures after being ousted from Christmas-town because of his bright and shining nose—meeting new friends Hermey the Elf and Yukon Cornelius on the way. The Aquarium’s 4-D Immersion Theater brings Rudolph and friends to life, allowing visitors to get close to the sights, smells and sounds of the action. The theater is equipped with 4-D capabilities, combining the excitement of a 3-D film with special sensory effects.

#16. Train Garden in Highlandtowndscn0811

  • Date(s)/Times: December 17–January 3 (closed December 25);  11:00 am–5:00 pm
  • Description: See a model train garden built by volunteers and housed in Engine House #41 at 520 S. Conkling Street in Baltimore City. Open to the public and it is free. It is sponsored by CSX, The Baltimore City Fire Department and the Southeast Community Development Corporation.

#17. Visit the Zoo with Beary Cool Discount Admissionbearycoolprices

  • Date(s)/Times: December 17–February 28; Monday–Sunday, 10:00 am–4:00 pm (December); Friday–Monday, 10:00 am–4:00 pm (January–February)
  • Description: Enjoy $10 discounted admission all winter long for all ages. Take advantage of this special price freeze and experience the Zoo offseason from now through February 28th for less. See Arctic animals, penguins, chimpanzees, flamingos, giraffe, lions and more. Some animals, however, are not on exhibit for the winter season.

#18. Twelve Days of Science12days_website_234x172

  • Date(s)/Times: December 22–January 2; Tuesday-Friday, 10:00 am-5:00 pm; Saturday, 10:00 am-6:00 pm; Sunday, 11:00 am-5:00 pm
  • Description: 12 Days of Science features a different theme every day. Drop-in workshops, live demonstrations, and hands-on building will be happening throughout the Science Center while at-home activities take over our website and social media.

#19. A Feast for the Senses: Art and Experience in Medieval Europetncs-top-27-winter-break-activities-baltimore

  • Date(s)/Times: December 17–January 8; Wednesday–Sunday, 10:00 am–5:00 pm, Thursdays 10:00 am–9:00 pm (click above link for holiday closings)
  • Description: The art of medieval Europe—luminous stained glass windows, church bells with their mesmerizing sounds, and tapestries depicting fragrant gardens—stirred the senses. This international loan exhibition brings together more than 100 paintings, tapestries, metalwork, manuscripts, and prints from museums in the United States and abroad, including masterpieces from the Walters’ collection. Special children’s programs are also available—visit the link above.

#20. Kimono & Obi: Romantic Echoes From Japan’s Golden Agetncs-top-27-winter-break-activities-baltimore

  • Date(s)/Times: December 17–January 16; Wednesday–Friday, 10:00 am–5:00 pm; Saturday–Sunday, 11:00 am–6:00 pm (click the above link for special extended holiday hours and closings)
  • Description: The BMA presents an exquisite selection of late 19th- and mid-20th century kimonos and obis that have never been shown before. Obi are wide sashes wrapped around the kimono wearer’s waist and tied in an ornate knot at the back. These stunning garments were made after the lifting of sumptuary laws during Japan’s Edo period (1603–1867) when commoners were forbidden to wear showy clothing with colors like red or purple. The Meiji Era (1868–1912) coincided with increased prosperity as Japan entered the industrial age and this newfound wealth was often expressed in lavish garments. Many of these kimonos displayed decorative motifs with symbols of the Imperial Court, especially those referring to the Heian Era (794–1185), considered Japan’s Golden Age when the court was in its most powerful, refined, and romantic period.

#21. Outdoor Ice Skatingzzdata-6635_580x387

  • Date(s)/Times: December 17–January 16; Monday–Thursday, 12:00 pm–8:00 pm; Friday, 12:00 pm–11:00 pm; Saturday, 10:00 am–11:00 pm; Sunday, 10:00 am–8:00 pm (click the above link for special extended holiday hours and closings)
  • Description: Break the ice at the PANDORA Ice Rink at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, complete with a skate shack, rentals, concessions, and entertainment as well as special events like SkateFest, a learn-to-skate program, and more.

#22. Black Box: John Waters’ Kiddie Flamingoeszzdata-6052_638x360

  • Date(s)/Times: December 17–January 22; runs on continuous loop during museum hours (Wednesday–Friday, 10:00 am–5:00 pm; Saturday–Sunday, 11:00 am–6:00 pm; lick the above link for special extended holiday hours and closings)
  • Description: For this 2014 video, John Waters recast his 1972 cult film Pink Flamingos—considered one of the most notorious films ever made—with children reading a cleverly modified G-rated script. The 74-minute video shown on a continuous loop in the Black Box gallery features adorable kids wearing wigs and suggestions of the original costumes as they evoke the legendary performances of Divine, Mink Stole, Edith Massey, and others. Filmed in one day mostly with friends’ children, Waters has said the new version is in some ways more perverse than the original.

#23. Matisse/Diebenkorn at the BMAzzdata-6166_580x776

  • Date(s)/Times: December 17–January 29; Wednesday–Friday, 10:00 am–5:00 pm; Saturday–Sunday, 11:00 am–6:00 pm (click the above link for special extended holiday hours and closings)
  • Description: More than 90 paintings and drawings by Henri Matisse (1869-1954) and Richard Diebenkorn (1922-1993) show the French modern master’s enduring influence on one of the greatest post-war American painters. Diebenkorn’s long engagement with Matisse’s work is among the most productive instances of one painter looking at another’s paintings in the history of 20th-century art. This landmark exhibition brings together a stunning array of works loaned from museums and private collections throughout the U.S. and Europe to follow the trajectory of Diebenkorn’s long and successful career with some of the powerful works by Matisse that the younger artist would have seen.
  • Date(s)/Times: December 17–March 20; Open Skate hours are Tuesday, 12:00 pm-2:00 pm; Friday, 7:00 pm-9:00 pm; Saturday, 3:00 pm-5:00 pm and 7:00 pm-9:00 pm; Sunday, 3:00 pm-5:00 pm (click the above link for skating lesson times)
  • Description: The Mimi DiPietro Family Skating Center features public sessions, ice hockey, broomball, ice skating sessions and sled hockey from October until March. Located at Linwood Avenue and Pratt Street, the rink hosts many of Baltimore’s youth and amateur hockey teams, as well as seasonal special events. The center is also home to the Baltimore Blizzard women’s hockey. The rink is full-sized measuring 200-by-85 feet and is equipped with a warm-up room, fireplace, concession stand and skate shop, which makes this facility the perfect venue for private parties and group rentals.

#25. What & Why: Collecting at the Maryland Historical Societytncs-top-27-winter-break-activities-baltimore

  • Date(s)/Times: December 17–June 20; Wednesday–Saturday, 10:00 am–5:00 pm; Sunday, 12:00 pm–5:00 pm (click the above link for holiday closings)
  • Description: This exhibit contains more than 50 items spanning four centuries of donations to the Maryland Historical Society, including two of Eubie Blake’s practice pianos, period clothing, portraits, silver, a wool tapestry of George Washington, the sign from Club Hippo and a video installation of images from the Preserve the Baltimore Uprising project.

#26. YUMMM! The History, Fantasy, and Future of Foodalejandromecanisme-preview

  • Date(s)/Times: December 17-September 3; Tuesday–Sunday, 10:00 am–6:00 pm
  • Description: Inside Yummm! 34 visionary artists join forces with food scientists, farmers, nutritionists, environmental activists, psychologists, poets, and humorists to publicly explore humankind’s complex, multi-layered relationship with food. AVAM’s Yummm! exhibition aims to inspire a greater public awareness of the revolutionary creativity needed to envision how a future planet of 9.5 billion earthlings will safely eat, cultivate, distribute, share, and even package food in radically more healthful, less wasteful, and equitable ways. With Yummm! AVAM hopes to encourage greater delight and awareness in every bite. The Yummm! exhibition features intuitively made, imagination-rich, food-centric paintings, sculptures, embroideries, installations, and films. Some artworks are even directly created from edibles.
  • Date(s)/Times: Available 365 days a year, sunrise to sunset. Start your event when you want and play at your pace.
  • Description: Turn Baltimore into a giant game board with this fun scavenger hunt adventure. Combine the excitement of the Amazing Race with a 3-hour city tour. Guided from any smart phone, teams make their way among well-known and overlooked gems of the city, solving clues and completing challenges while learning local history. The event starts at the MD Science Center and takes you on an adventure to see the best of the Inner Harbor, down to Little Italy, and other great locations. Compete against others as you use your mind and legs to solve the challenges and get the most points on the leaderboard.

BONUS. . . And, of course, the Winter Break Camp at TNCS is always a huge hit with kids and parents alike!

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Enjoy the Break!

TNCS Performs at Continental Bridge Celebration!

In 2015, Baltimore City marks the 30-year anniversary of its sister city relationships with Xiamen in China and Rotterdam in the Netherlands. To celebrate this momentous occasion, the Creative Alliance hosted a Chinese and Dutch art exhibition as well as an event to explore these cultures through various art and movement workshops and performances on September 26th.

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Xiamen is home to many U.S. companies and, as a port of call for international merchant ships, is the heart of Chinese trade with Baltimore City.

The New Century School elementary students were there to support the Baltimore–Xiamen Sister City Committee by singing two Chinese songs and performing one dance. BXSCC ” . . . has been and continues to be an active sister city creating opportunities in Baltimore City and Xiamen, China for business, education, and cultural exchanges” for the past 30 years. Xiamen is in China’s Fujian Province, along the southeast coast and is a port city like Baltimore.

Education Chair Vida Willis was on hand to express her appreciation for TNCS’s continued participation in BXSCC initiatives. With her customary warmth and graciousness, Ms. Willis presented TNCS with a series of Mayoral Certificates, including students, teachers, staff, administration, and even parents in her commendations.

And now, what you’ve all been waiting for—the performance!