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Inspiring Creativity: ArtsXchange's Artist Residency with Finish Strong Learning Pod



As April, National Poetry Month, came into full swing, the ArtsXchange embarked on an exciting journey of artistic collaboration and community engagement. Led by the Literary Director, Theresa Davis, and in partnership with South Fulton Arts, the ArtsXchange initiated an eight-week artist residency with the esteemed Finish Strong Learning Pod afterschool program. This collaboration aimed to nurture young minds, fostering creativity and a deep appreciation for the written word among 3rd to 5th graders.

Under the guidance of passionate mentors, these budding poets embarked on a transformative journey. Over the course of eight weeks, they delved into the richness that is language arts, exploring various poetic forms and unleashing their creativity in profound ways. From the structured elegance of cinquain to the minimalist beauty of haiku, these young wordsmiths explored the vast landscape of poetry, each form offering a unique canvas for self-expression.

However, the journey didn't stop at mere poetry. The residency also incorporated skill-building games and collaborative activities, nurturing not only individual creativity but also fostering a sense of camaraderie and teamwork among the participants. Through these activities, the young poets learned to appreciate the power of collaboration, understanding that creativity flourishes in the fertile ground of shared ideas and mutual support.

One of the highlights of the residency was the exploration of "Samurai Song" by Robert Pinsky. This evocative poem served as a catalyst for introspection and discussion, inviting the young poets to delve into its themes of courage, resilience, and the triumph over adversity. Through guided exercises inspired by Pinsky's work, the participants explored the nuances of language, dissecting the poem's structure and imagery while drawing parallels to their own experiences.

Central to the success of this endeavor was the unwavering support and dedication of Dr. Sylvia Carter, the driving force behind the Finish Strong Learning Pod. Dr. Carter's commitment to educational excellence and community empowerment served as a guiding light, ensuring that each participant had the opportunity to thrive and discover their unique voice.

As the residency draws to a close, the ArtsXchange extends its heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Sylvia Carter, the Finish Strong Learning Pod team, and all those who contributed to making this initiative a resounding success. Together, we have embarked on a journey of creativity, empowerment, and discovery, inspiring the next generation of poets to dream boldly and write fearlessly.

In the words of Theresa Davis, "May these young poets continue to write their stories, bold and unapologetic, they are the voices of tomorrow, shaping the world with every word they pencil or pen."


Theresa Davis, Dr. Sylvia Carter, District 3 Councilwoman Helen Willis and the Finish Strong Scholars.


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