""Photo of children in group performance on a stage in colorful costumes

About our Artist in
Residency Program

The Artist in Residence (AIR) Program is made possible through a collaboration with The ArtsCenter and the Orange County School district. This program brings two arts initiatives to nearly 2,000 students across five Title 1 focus schools in Orange County: Central Elementary, Efland-Cheeks Global Elementary, Grady Brown Elementary, New Hope Elementary, and Pathways Elementary.

AIR Program Goals
• Increase arts education access in local school districts.
• Integrate arts education into classroom curriculum to inspire artistic creativity and enrich student learning.
• Collaborate with grade level teachers, school administration, and district leaders to offer programming that best responds to the needs of the district community.
• Offer professional arts experiences and performances for district students. 

What our teachers say

“I admire Mrs. Willa's work, with her charm and way of teaching. For the first time I saw all my students attentive throughout the entire time. As a teacher, I also learned from her how songs help my students remember the instructions.” 
“A few students in particular who may not normally participate when discussing academic things were incredibly engaged and participating while Mr. Jason was here. It was really cool to see many students light up and/or challenge themselves in new ways.” 
“I have one student that is really quiet and laid back. With all the musical fun, art, and instruments, this student came out of his shell and happily participated with the group.” 

Meet Our Teachers

Braima Moiwai

moved to the United States from Sierra Leone in 1986. He has received multiple awards for sharing his art forms of drumming, storytelling, and fabric art. Braima has also been recognized for promoting and preserving West African Culture in educational settings.

Charles Pettee

is a guitar and mandolin-wielding songwriter and music educator. He was a founding member of The Shady Grove Band and has 14 albums to his name. He performs festivals and special events throughout North Carolina and South Carolina, logging over 6,000 performances over the course of his career.

Jason Abide

has been making pottery and ceramic art since 2002. He endeavors to share his enthusiasm for his craft through the work he makes and the classes he teaches. Jason builds ceramic murals with his students to create community projects that are permanently installed in the focus schools.

Virginia Queen

Virginia is an arts educator, administrator, actor, choreographer, director and social justice artist. She has worked in these fields for over 25 years and has been a part of The ArtsCenter family teaching a variety of programs for close to 20 years. When teaching residencies for the AIR program, she integrates drama, poetry, performance, dance, movement and writing into K-12 curriculums. She is a founder of the AIR program, the AIR coordinator for 8 years, and continues to serve as a teaching artist mentor for the program.


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