The Multicultural Festival is an inspiring event that celebrates the magnificent diversity of our community and the world beyond. Students, parents, and teachers, work together to plan three days of conversations, workshops, and experiences, exploring culture from multiple perspectives. Launched in 2002, the Multicultural Festival has continued to evolve and explore how each of us and all of us are part of humankind and how we continue to shape the future we inhabit.
There is nothing more soul-nourishing than being one voice among 200, singing together and ushering in love and peace. With equal parts soul, joy, and connection, Ms. Rotter and Mr. Crichlow led our community in song, filling our Gym with harmony.
This year's songs spanned genres and languages - from folk, country, and rock, to R&B, and reggae. Our chorus sang in solos, duets, small groups, big groups, and all of us together, each song building on the last, capturing the power of human connection and the possibility we aspire to see and create in our world. Thank you to our incredible accompaniment team of musicians who brought dimension and beauty to every song!
Listen to the songs from our Sing-A-Long on Studio’s SoundCloud
What a delicious week we shared, with flavors and recipes from around the world. From German Black Bread to Lebanese Fattoush Salad, Caribbean Plátanos Maduros, Chinese Fried Noodles, and Italian Tiramisu, our taste buds truly took a culinary journey. On Wednesday evening, we delighted in the homemade appetizers and desserts brought in by students and parents for our International Buffet. On Thursday and Friday, special teams of Guest Chef Parents treated us to a gastronomic fusion of cultures and recipes, cooking lunch for us all. We savored every bite!
Morning Rituals and Rhythms
We began the day, awakening our bodies with a series of movements inspired by customs and cultures spanning the globe. Commencing with a Native American ritual, Aho Mitakuye Oyasin, we shared in gratitude for the gift of life through chanting. We then connected our mind, body, and soul through yogic sun salutations, Hula dancing, and Tai Chi.
Seeds of Possibility: A Guided Visualization
Next, we allowed our bodies to rest and listened to a meditation titled "Seeds of Possibility.” With closed eyes, we tapped into the potential residing within ourselves, our imaginations, and the vast world surrounding us:
You are headed towards a destination. With you, you carry a small bag containing a most special gift: a seed of possibility. You are on a journey to plant this seed. When you’re ready, take out your small bag and pour the seed into your hand and gently close your fist. Tune into the possibility that exists within this seed. What wants to emerge from this seed? Imagine the seed buried in the life-giving soil, germinating with light and water, growing roots and stem and leaves and flowers. What takes shape? What flourishes? How and who and what might this growth nourish? Take a few deep breaths, reflecting on the possibilities contained within this seed.
Just like this seed, YOU are full of possibilities.
Inspired and invigorated, students journeyed around the building in mixed groupings for a full day of workshops and experiences:
Students were invited to ignite their imaginations and transform simple materials into unique pieces that culminated in a collective three-dimensional sculpture.
Each group shared in reflection and storytelling. Participants selected a question to ponder, ranging from, “How do we know what is possible?” to “What are we doing now to create possibilities for future generations?” to “How has your perception of possibility changed as you’ve grown older?” Each individual's response was recorded and we look forward to bringing them together through creating a podcast episode.
Led by Studio Parent, Mr. Keitt, students recorded audio tracks, incorporating instruments from around the globe. After the workshop, he sampled and mixed these recordings together to create a dynamic track reflecting the voices and rhythms of our community.
Listen to the track on Studio’s SoundCloud
Poets of Possibility
Students were guided by Studio Parent Mr. Field to write a poem inspired by a time in their life when they encountered a new possibility, recalling the events leading up to it, the emotions felt throughout, and how that discovery has continued to impact their lives and invited more possibilities.
Throughout history and all over the globe, games have connected humans and been great sources of joy! Our students learned many new indoor and outdoor games originating from Korea, Australia, Chile, China, Colombia, Ghana, Greece, and India. A special highlight was learning the Korean board game, “Yut Nori”!
This year’s International Children's Film Festival featured short films from Australia, Europe, North America, and Asia. A favorite was Kiri and Lou, about two prehistoric creatures who unexpectedly become friends. Thank you to our committee of students and teachers who curated the selection, incorporating a range of storytelling styles and themes.
On Friday morning, students were treated to a special visual arts workshop led by Carole Kunstadt, a multimedia artist, an honorary Studio School Board Member, and former parent, who has had extensive exhibition experience across the country, both in solo and group shows. Ms. Kunstadt guided students, ages 5-14, in the creation of paper weavings, which combined hand-painted papers with excerpts from “creators of possibility” throughout history.
Friday afternoon culminated with all of us coming together in the Gym to view the gallery of work produced during the Festival. It was captivating to see the illuminated hanging communal sculpture, everyone’s poetry, and their paper weavings, all while listening to the audio track created on Thursday. What marvelous artistry, innovation, and depth we unlocked in our community!
Funga Alafia, Ashay Ashay!
Funga Alafia, Ashay Ashay!
"With my head, I welcome you.
With my mouth, I welcome you.
With my heart, I welcome you."
The entire Gym reverberated with love and unity as over 200 voices sang these words to call our Festival to begin. From the community ribbon sculpture, to the harmonies found in each bite of food and every song sung, the night was a joyous celebration of shared humanity, setting the tone for an incredible three days of reflection and collaboration.
“There is ugliness and brutality all around us; that is true. But what is also true is the beauty of this world. And for us that means: Building Community with YOU! Laughing, crying and even healing like our lives depend on it.” —Ms. Effinger-Crichlow, Parent Ambassador
Ms. Rotter and Mr. Crichlow led us all in a vibrant and soulful community sing-a-long. Each song spread messages of love, hope, and unity, transcending all borders and boundaries. There was no greater joy than hearing families sing "To Everyone in All The World" in the 15 different languages spoken in our community, and then the roaring cheers and clapping, as everyone excitedly joined in for the chorus. A special treat was a performance of "Sahayta" by our select chorus, Studio Voices NYC, who also helped us lead all of the songs.
Throughout the week, Guest Chef parents led students in cooking dishes to share their family's culture and favorite recipes. Wednesday evening culminated with an international tasting of these culinary delights - both savory and sweet - and continued on Thursday and Friday with special lunches. From aloo parantha, to pastelitos, to jerk tofu, to Swedish meatballs, we savored the flavors and textures in every bite.
On Thursday, we reflected, created, and collaborated through guided movement, visualization, music, art, and writing.
Students played the Steel Pans, exploring rhythms, beats, and experiencing the power of playing percussion as a group.
Children braided and twisted fabrics and trimmings with wire, creating a beautiful collage of many fibers and textures.
A writing class, where each individual reflected on human connection and then wrote a poem as a group
During all of January, our students participated in a National Justice Project, Freedom Dreaming, to imagine what it would be like to live in a just and equitable world. In school, they journaled daily, and then created a culminating final piece, reflecting their individual Freedom Dream. The inspiring works, ranging from 3D sculptures, to original songs, poetry, books, and speeches, were exhibited in a gallery in our Library.
To culminate our journey, Ms. Effinger-Crichlow led students in reflecting on their varied experiences in the Festival by choosing one word that captures their vision of a beautiful world. She talked about how this is unique to every person, as we all have different sources of joy, beauty, laughter, and satisfaction, which is what makes our world so diverse and interesting. Each student chose how they would represent their word and added it to a collage of our collective visions.
The close of the Festival featured international children's short films selected by a group of students.