826DC at Family Art Day

826DC recently joined up with Washington Improv Theater and Project Create for a storytelling and bookmaking workshop to celebrate Family Art Day.

Storytelling through Comedy

Students and their families began by doing expressive exercises led by Washington Improv Theater’s Jack Novak, a DC native who has been teaching theatre arts locally for more than a decade. 

We started off with a name and motion activity to get everyone warmed up and acquainted with each other. Jack then led a “statue” activity in which students learned how to express themselves through the unconventional form of a frozen statue. Next, students and their families improvised a “living storybook,” learning about creating a compelling narrative from beginning to end. 

Making Books

These two activities prepared them to break into small groups where students crafted their own stories. As the students flexed their creative muscles, older family members acted as typists. Then, as each group’s story started to come together, 826DC’s talented visual artists got to work and began to illustrate their stories live. 

Santiago Casares, a graphic designer, writer, and illustrator of 826DC bestseller “My Heart Went Beating Fast,” drew “Turtle and the Tiny Human.”

First three pages of Turtle and the Tiny Human
The first three pages of “Turtle and the Tiny Human”

Longtime arts education advocate Kendall Ladd drew “Super Man and Super Punch Woman: Superheroes.”

Super Man and Super Punch Woman: Superheroes"
The first three pages of “Super Man and Super Punch Woman: Superheroes”

Last but not least, local illustrator/graphic designer Dexter Bautista drew “New Moon Meeting.” 

The first three pages of "New Moon Meeting"
The first three pages of “New Moon Meeting”

At the end of the workshop, students and their family members left with a professionally bound, one-of-a-kind book. For many of these young people, it was their first time becoming published authors! 

“It is always amazing to see students’ ideas come to life, especially in real-time,” said 826DC Director of Education Andrea Nelson. “Improv exercises and seeing ideas being illustrated live definitely makes the storytelling process very exciting!”

Very exciting, indeed.

Shaking Things Up

Workshops like this one show just how many ways there are to create. Shaking things up with other forms of expression can be a powerful technique in anyone’s creative process!

If you would like to continue to support programs that encourage students to create, consider getting involved with 826DC. From donating to volunteering and more, there are tons of opportunities to make an impact here in this fantastic community.