Iowa City was selected in 2012 as the eighth Any Given Child site joining other cities including Portland, Austin, Sacramento, Tulsa, Springfield, Las Vegas, and Sarasota. Several other cities have been added since Iowa City joined. Any Given Child is a program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts designed to assist communities in long-range planning to provide an equitable arts education for all students in grades K-8.
The program’s goal is to strategically align the existing resources of the school district, the local arts community, and the Kennedy Center — all to benefit the students’ education.
On Friday, October 21, all 8th grade students will attend a performance at Hancher of Step Afrika!: Reflections on Jacob Lawrence. Generously funded by the ICCSD Foundation as an Any Given Child live arts performance experience, Step Afrika! will represent Lawrence’s “Migration Series.” The project is also supported through Big Yellow School Bus grants, awarded by the Iowa Arts Council and National Endowment for the Arts.
The Migration, Step Afrika!’s new signature work, is based on Jacob Lawrence’s iconic series of paintings charting the African-American movement from south to north in the early 1900s. Each piece incorporates the images, color palette, and motifs of one or more of the paintings to tell the migration story through body percussion and dance. Each junior high school was given a Jacob Lawrence print to use in class discussions and will learn about the migration in their American Studies classes.
Step Afrika! was recently featured and provided an interactive in the National Museum of African American History and Culture.