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The Acorn Academy For the Arts Prospectus

965 Hammond Street
North Bay, ON, P1B 2H6
(866)511-4769

Prospectus
for

The Acorn Academy for the Arts

Index 
Introduction
Partnerships
Goals for Students
TAAA Commitments
Background
Balancing Performance/Creating with Curricular Demands
The “Acorn”
Self-evident truths re: adolescent education
Potential Associates ….

Unlocking the artist in each child can only be a prelude to a life of fulfillment in all career fields, and especially in a century when transitioning is an essential skill.

The imagination is best nurtured, challenged and evoked through exercises which integrate the arts and the sciences, and this is best done through the performance of all the arts…the voice, the hands for instruments and for the artist’s many instruments, the feet for dance and the torso for all human expressions.

Using the performing arts as the primary vehicle for children and adolescents to learn about all intellectual disciplines requires and expects exposure and proximity to the best practitioners of all the arts. That goal, in itself, is a full education. There is no substitute for meeting an individual who has taken his/her art to the peak of accomplishment, especially at a time when models have such impact.

Each of us has, according to the respected Archetypal Psychologist, James Hillman, an acorn, a guardian angel voice, which is in need of mentors, eccentrics and encouragement. This ‘acorn’ is not a vocation, but rather an important voice signifying one’s identity, and can be seen most readily in the biographies of many artists who have graced the world’s stages. Their names include Ella Fitzgerald, Yehudi Menhuin, and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Not everyone needs to be a master-performing artist to have an active imagination for writing, drawing, designing, or composing, choreographing, animating, directing, conducting, and producing. It is in the experience of the production, no matter what one’s role in the whole picture, that one learns so many life skills in the intensity and the excitement of the tight schedule. Projects in the performing arts take on a heightened importance for their enhancement of a slice of real life, no matter the media.

Not only do participants learn about the lives of others, from other times and other cultures, they also learn about themselves and their own interactions, both ‘artistic’ and ‘social’. There is so much evidence, fundamentally incontrovertible experience, from so many who have had the opportunity to engage in the performing arts, that our lives have been forever imprinted by the memories and the learnings of those experiences.

We learned to interpret the words, or the notes, or the directions of another ‘creator’ and we thereby entered into that other world, with a level of commitment that has served us in every other experience, vocational, family and community. And we cannot be separated from those learnings for they have virtually formed us from a state of unformed clay.

Of course, there have been pratfalls. They are just one of the bumps along the road. It is not an accident that the cliché greeting for actors and performers just prior to a production is, “Break a leg!” Everyone has “blown his lines” and found the production carried by another unsuspecting ‘momentary hero’. And there have been forces speaking for the ‘good parent’ archetype, at least in their own mind, urging young people to ‘be responsible’ and leave the arts to others more irresponsible and willing to risk everything.

Ask Dave Broadfoot or Don Harron about the risk they took in making a commitment to a career in the performing arts. They have more than a little to teach to entrepreneurs about risk management, and they have both the experience and the imagination to do it creatively. And that is just one of the many crossovers from the world of the arts to the world of ‘business’.

These are names of ‘successful’ proven talents, and there are literally hundreds, perhaps thousands, of young people of comparable or better talent, whose aspirations are at the core of the civilization’s future. As Mike Myers put it recently, when he unveiled his star on the walk of fame, “We export bauxite, and documentaries and comedy to the rest of the world.” This is no laughing matter. It is a matter of national identity and pride.

And the incubators will never be either too many or too luxurious for our country’s neophyte artists. This is one such incubator for parents and children, and for artists and their scholarly critics, where the best of our country’s imaginations can be developed, coached, nurtured and set free on the world’s stage.

Index

Partnerships

We seek formal and informal partnerships with ACTRA, with companies producing the essential ingredients for young artists, like musical instruments, artistic supplies, theatre production equipment light lighting, acoustics, as well as from foundations whose comprehension of the importance of the artist to the whole society has never been more obvious and immediate. We also seek alliances and partnerships with institutions like the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, whose recent interventions into the curricula of dozens of school boards across the country has and will continue to do much to reinforce the important truth that learning based on the arts, of which music is an important component, helps in all subject areas. Of course, we support and will work to enhance programs like the Texaco program to keep music in the schools, and the American Express “Blue” program to provide musical instruments for schools, as public boards find their budgets being eroded in the expenditures for the arts.

We seek to develop solid scholarship in all subjects while keeping our commitment to the performing arts and to the artists in each of our students. Focusing on the forms and the techniques of all the various arts, as both an end in themselves and a vehicle for the pursuit and assimilation of all academic subjects, a method that is gaining ground around the globe, the academy will set and achieve its goal of developing citizens and artists of the world.

Index

Goals for Student at The Acorn Academy for the Arts

Their perspective and action model for their lives will include:
  •  a commitment to the active participation in the ecosphere’s preservation and enhancement
  • a commitment to the ownership, nurture and growth and development of their individual “acorn” and the ‘acorns’ of all others of their encounter
  • a demonstrated commitment to the process of team-building, negotiation, creative expression throughout the gestalt of any of their life’s projects
  • a demonstrated commitment to learning all they can about the history and culture of all peoples on the globe, with a view to the integration of their own culture’s archetypes with those of other cultures
  • a demonstrated commitment to the fullest expression of their own artistic talent through a commitment to the achievement of the highest expectations of their most able instructors, through a life-long commitment to retain their ‘learner’ role in addition to their master-teacher role
  • a demonstrated commitment to the plight of artists around the world through a disciplined learning about the conditions facing all artists in all cultures and political climates and conditions and an individual action plan to voice their stories globally (through PEN, and other similar organizations, for example)
  • a demonstrated commitment to the artistic community wherever they may reside, both through the generosity of their artistic offerings and through engagement in the funding and the enhanced management of the arts and the arts in education, and a commitment to carry this ‘message’ with them throughout the world. This would include support for any responsible funding project for the health and retirement welfare of the artists in the community.
  • a demonstrated commitment for all projects which seek to disarm the world from all weapons of mass destruction, land mines, political revenge and all acts of terrorism, both through their lives and through their artistic expression
  • a demonstrated commitment to the bridging of the artistic community with the highest purposes of such social action projects (such as Robin  Williams’, Billy Crystal’s and Whoopi Goldberg’s Comic Relief) and Willie Nelson’s Farm Aid projects) through both the offering of their own artistic expression and their leadership opportunities for such causes
  • a demonstrated commitment to teach, and to inspire and to mentor all types of artistic expression whenever and wherever they may encounter it’s evidence (a la the film, “Finding Forester”)
  • a demonstrated commitment to participating in programs which reward excellence in artistic expression from their personal resources and from the resources of whatever organizations and/corporations for which they may work
  • a demonstrated commitment to creating conditions in which the human imagination is not only permitted, but actively sought out and encouraged in all organizations, including schools hospitals, and corporations within the framework of the purpose of the organization
  • a demonstrated commitment to a working knowledge of at least one additional language to their first language, preferably two additional languages
  • a demonstrated commitment to travelling throughout the world in search of teachers, financial support and opportunities for performance with artists from other cultures, not only as part of the formation and training and apprenticeship phase, but throughout their lives
Index

Acorn Academy for the Arts makes its own commitments:

The Acorn Academy for the Arts is committed, for its part in the fulfillment of the above objectives, to the following goals and objectives:
  • the funding of at least 25% of total enrollment in each school year for students whose family’s means would otherwise exclude their enrollment while their artistic talent merits such consideration

  • the contracting with the best performing artists in North America for at least one “professional locum” each semester, with such a locum program providing full living expenses and the opportunity to continue to rehearse (or to create in whatever medium or mode of expression) and to provide regular instruction for students enrolled at TAAA.

  • the provision of facilities adequate to and superior to most amateur arts organizations, including galleries, concert halls, rehearsal space, contemporary functioning equipment and instruments

  • the provision of the highest calibre of instructors/performers from a search throughout the world, in co-operation with the best schools of the arts throughout North America. This provision will include, wherever necessary the provision of living accommodations appropriate to the artist's specifications and a schedule balancing the needs of TAAA students with those of the individual artist

  • the provision of superior instructors who demonstrate a commitment to an educational philosophy which is flexible enough to adapt to the unique needs of each artistic discipline as well as to the needs of integrating the arts into the normal academic agenda

  • the provision of adequate long-term funding through the establishment of an educational foundation trust to provide building and equipment repair renovation and updating as required

  • the provision of a demonstrated commitment to the appropriate “showing” of the student talent, through all available media and occasions, with appropriate professional criticism, as an integral part of the learning process

  • the provision of gallery and concert and professional “show” presentations as an integral part of the learning experience of all students, regardless of their specific area of interest

  • a demonstrated commitment to engage in student opportunities to present their artistic expression for other educational venues and interested people

  • a demonstrated commitment to enroll students from as wide as range of cultural backgrounds as is feasible, providing the level of artistic talent and commitment are commensurate with the expectations of the school and the instructor(s)

  • a demonstrated commitment to engage thought and creative leaders from as diverse a cultural perspective as possible as an integral part of the schools operation and its board of directors

  • a demonstrated commitment to the establishment of student and faculty partnerships with other aspiring students and faculty throughout the world, combined with the offering of an agreement of a mutual window for both presentation of art from around the world, and the possible exchange of both students and faculty for periods of time up to one full school year

  • a demonstrated commitment to the fullest and most comprehensive development of the whole student, including all the various intelligences, the physical body and the spirit, without in any way advocating a particular philosophic or religious viewpoint, without any proselytizing on behalf of any sect or group and with a commitment of profound respect to the highest purposes and expression of all the religions of the world

  • a commitment to the training of all faculty and administrative staff of the “Acorn Theory” plus an introduction to Archetypal Psychology, at various levels of depth, appropriate to the various ages and grade levels of the students

  • the provision of regular community rituals as a part of our commitment to the development of an artistic community, where specific rituals not only create awareness of various cultures, but also provide opportunities for new images to be integrated into the imaginative consciousness of each member of the TAAA community

Index

Background

The academy is being founded on the notion that holding only human rationality in the highest esteem is a form of reductionism which affects all age groups. The most appropriate route to change this equation of rationality and corporatism and political correctness and fear around is to provide a safe venue for artistic expression, experimentation, risk and a network of a supportive cast including faculty, mentors, tutors, agents, managers and board members

Such a venue for adolescents and organizational leaders, including teachers and scholars whose own imagination may have been silenced for many years would also provide opportunities for dialogue between the generations. The energies which such encounters will generate will infect all participants, in a renewed and unpredictable manner.

The prophets and the visionaries will not come from the accountants, the managers, the autocrats nor the reactionaries They will emerge from those young people who are not only permitted, but actually encouraged to stretch themselves, to take risks with their imaginations, and their bodies and their spirits, as they learn about human trust, and play and overcoming fear and creating and community building and global perspective and sustainable development.

The Acorn Academy for the Arts will house and develop the best strengths of each student. The size and adaptability of the venue will permit students to ride horses, enjoy supervised canoe trips visit theatres and orchestras and studio theatre productions as well as In the National Arts Centre, Place des Arts, Science Centres in both Sudbury and Toronto, the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and university and repertoire theatre and gallery performances throughout Ontario and the northern U.S.

Skills which are transferable to a healthy adult life style, including but not restricted to tennis, kayaking, climbing and hiking, hang-gliding, skating, skiing (downhill and cross-country) as well as cycling and swimming will be available, as they balance and complement any rigorous academic/artistic formation schedule.

Index

Balancing Performing/Creating with Curricular Demands

With respect to the academic calendar, while the goals of performance/creating will at times supercede those of the classroom, quite naturally, there will be no loosening of the responsibilities for integrative thinking and problem solving, for social interaction and leadership training, for silence and private contemplation, for free time and for maintaining close and mutually supportive family and social relationships. All students will be expected to acquire a substantial and critical awareness of the history of the region, the province and the national myths and archetypes along with a familiarity with land forms, weather patterns, and indigenous flora and fauna. They will also be expected to re-produce both physical and chemical scientific experiments and learn the wealth of newly available information about healthy nutrition, diet, and natural food supplements.

All students will master the use of both official (Canadian) languages in listening, writing, reading and speaking, with a goal of all students taking part in drama and music performances not only in their own first language, but also in the second language. Students from outside Canada will be encouraged to retain and develop their first language in addition to the two official languages of this country. Naturally, such students will be a natural resource for the rest of the school community, in offering tutoring in their first language, as well as the culture of their homeland.

All students will be expected to commit to a program of intensive reading in addition to the expectation of each classroom. These readings will include an introduction to the classical literature with which all truly educated persons are legitimately expected to have a working knowledge.

Index

The “Acorn”

In addition to the academic and the artistic phases of their development, all students will participate in an up-to-date monitoring of their own progress in the activities needed to nurture their special “acorn” along with the support and coaching of a faculty/adult mentor.
This process will include case conferences of all faculty and administration each semester to monitor and make recommendations for the next stage in this development, for each student. The school community will work with parents and extended families, so that during school breaks the student’s full development can be sustained, encouraged, supported and enjoyed, by all in the support network.

This process will also engage faculty in their own professional, intellectual, artistic and social action development. Each faculty member will find a supportive mentor for their acorn and will develop strategies through which the nurture of the acorn can responsibly and legitimately be fostered by the school community. Such a process could entail the faculty member’s own performances with performing groups such a community orchestra’s, local theatre groups, jazz ensembles, bands both military and civilian, poetry readings, gallery shows etc. The school, while not serving as an agent for faculty, welcomes the opportunity to celebrate the artistic talent of each faculty member as an integral part of the gardening of the soil for the growth of the seeds upon which the school is based.

The school also seeks to invite and to host members of the academic communities from post-secondary institutions for encounters with our students which might include tutoring, coaching, mentoring and workshop leadership. The institutes contemplated include but are not restricted to Burlington College in Burlington VT, Graduate Pacifica Institute of Carpenteria, CA, and the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, the Canadian Film Institute in Toronto, as well as  other schools for the performing arts throughout Canada, the U.S. Great Britain and other Commonwealth and European countries. We especially seek board memberships from faculty and or interested participants and advisers from institutions of higher learning.

We also seek partnerships with outstanding teacher training centres, on both sides of the 49th parallel. We believe this experiment in learning provides an ideal laboratory for conducting research experiments by those currently engaged in the scientific pursuit of new learning models, especially for students in the arts and for the use of artistic methods in the education of all academic fields. We especially welcome proposals from graduate researchers in the areas of development of the imagination, creativity, finding the artist, searching for archetypes, learning in a cultural archetypal landscape, the appropriate fit  between learning and faculty for the development of the imagination, the development of creative and courageous teaching faculty, since we believe that this long-term goal is one of the most important in our field of endeavour.

Creative, courageous teachers, while they may be hell on administrators, are the life-blood of any school, because they are the life blood of any classroom. The Acorn Academy for the Arts is not envisioned as a neo-Summerhill, where the students are in charge. However, it is envisioned as a place where creative expression and the culture which incubates such expression are both fostered, and sacralized.

Index

Acorn Academy for the Arts makes its own commitments:

The Acorn Academy for the Arts is committed, for its part in the fulfillment of the above objectives, to the following goals and objectives:
  • the funding of at least 25% of total enrollment in each school year for students whose family’s means would otherwise exclude their enrollment while their artistic talent merits such consideration
     
  • the contracting with the best performing artists in North America for at least one “professional locum” each semester, with such a locum program providing full living expenses and the opportunity to continue to rehearse (or to create in whatever medium or mode of expression) and to provide regular instruction for students enrolled at TAAA.
     
  • the provision of facilities adequate to and superior to most amateur arts organizations, including galleries, concert halls, rehearsal space, contemporary functioning equipment and instruments
     
  • the provision of the highest calibre of instructors/performers from a search throughout the world, in co-operation with the best schools of the arts throughout North America. This provision will include, wherever necessary the provision of living accommodations appropriate to the artist's specifications and a schedule balancing the needs of TAAA students with those of the individual artist
     
  • the provision of superior instructors who demonstrate a commitment to an educational philosophy which is flexible enough to adapt to the unique needs of each artistic discipline as well as to the needs of integrating the arts into the normal academic agenda
     
  • the provision of adequate long-term funding through the establishment of an educational foundation trust to provide building and equipment repair renovation and updating as required
     
  • the provision of a demonstrated commitment to the appropriate “showing” of the student talent, through all available media and occasions, with appropriate professional criticism, as an integral part of the learning process
     
  • the provision of gallery and concert and professional “show” presentations as an integral part of the learning experience of all students, regardless of their specific area of interest

     
  • a demonstrated commitment to engage in student opportunities to present their artistic expression for other educational venues and interested people
     
  • a demonstrated commitment to enroll students from as wide as range of cultural backgrounds as is feasible, providing the level of artistic talent and commitment are commensurate with the expectations of the school and the instructor(s)
     
  • a demonstrated commitment to engage thought and creative leaders from as diverse a cultural perspective as possible as an integral part of the schools operation and its board of directors
     
  • a demonstrated commitment to the establishment of student and faculty partnerships with other aspiring students and faculty throughout the world, combined with the offering of an agreement of a mutual window for both presentation of art from around the world, and the possible exchange of both students and faculty for periods of time up to one full school year
     
  • a demonstrated commitment to the fullest and most comprehensive development of the whole student, including all the various intelligences, the physical body and the spirit, without in any way advocating a particular philosophic or religious viewpoint, without any proselytizing on behalf of any sect or group and with a commitment of profound respect to the highest purposes and expression of all the religions of the world
     
  • a commitment to the training of all faculty and administrative staff of the “Acorn Theory” plus an introduction to Archetypal Psychology, at various levels of depth, appropriate to the various ages and grade levels of the students
     
  • the provision of regular community rituals as a part of our commitment to the development of an artistic community, where specific rituals not only create awareness of various cultures, but also provide opportunities for new images to be integrated into the imaginative consciousness of each member of the TAAA community

Index

Potential Associates
 
Therefore, we respectfully submit this prospectus to our various potential partners:
  • those who can envision in The Acorn Academy for the Arts a legitimate place to invest the funds of the trusts and foundations which they administer

  • those who can envision themselves playing a part as honorary board members

  • those who can envision themselves playing a more active and intimate part by serving on the board of directors

  • those whose children have demonstrated an interest in and a talent for artistic expression and who wish to test that talent in a safe but challenging environment

  • those whose artistic organizations and groups would be interested in supporting the venture, and will need and take time to find the creative methods for this support to take shape

  • those whose interest in the development of institutions such as TAAA includes asking their workplace colleagues for support for such a venture, as part of their organization’s philanthropic initiatives

  • prospective students who themselves are so committed to the development of their own artistic expression that they are willing to create new ways to help with the funding of their own education and formation


If this proposal stirs a single nerve ending, or a single skipped beat of your own imaginative heart, and prompts you to ask yourself if this is a project in which you might be interested, we welcome your inquiry, your phone calls, your ideas, your cautions, your e-mails, your letters and, of course, your cheques.

Index

Please write us at

© 2003 The Acorn Centre
The Acorn Centre at (866) 511-GROW

The Acorn Centre
10-115 Wright Crescent
Kingston, ON K7L 4T8
Phone: 613-385-2020
Toll Free: 866-511-4769