The Reach to Teach: Immersed in the Arts Program celebrated its ninth successful term with the Collaboration Celebration Luncheon in January . The Community Arts Council of Richmond, in partnership with The Arts Connection, hosted this event for students from Admiral Seymour School and Westwind Elementary who participated in the program this past fall and winter.. Along with prominent city officials, guests and staff, a fabulous buffet was prepared for all guests including the students who were able to gather one last time to mark an extraordinary term and to forge plans to maintain these new friendships. Reach to Teach: Immersed in the Arts is a program that partners schools from different socioeconomic backgrounds to break down barriers and come together and attend art-intensive days over the course of a session that exposes them to multidisciplinary classes in visual and performing arts. The classes and projects are collaborative in nature, allowing for positive engagement with an unfamiliar peer group while developing confidence, empathy, and other transferable skills. This event was also an opportunity to display the phenomenal art pieces created by the students under the guidance of The Arts Connection’s Visual Arts Director, Karen Proulx, over the course of their time in the program. The highlight was a collaborative “Wings” project inspired by artist Kelsey Montague. Proulx spoke expressing the importance of cooperation and teamwork in the creation of these pieces, and the positive effect they have on the final impact and meaning of the finished piece. Speaking at the event were Linda Shirley (representing both the CACR and The Arts Connection) and principals Bruce Murton and Birgitte Biorn, from Admiral Seymour School and Westwind Elementary respectively. Linda spoke about the heartfelt origin of the program and how much it has grown since inception. Both principals praised the whole experience and everyone involved in making it possible. They stressed how important it is to continue making such programs available for students in the community. The students presented the program with a beautifully framed photo collage of each students hands in the shape of a heart. These acts of appreciation express the personal and positive impact the program has had on them, encouraging the Community Arts Council of Richmond to continue working fiercely to sustain and grow this program through ongoing fundraising and volunteers. Next up will be Britannia Elementary from Vancouver and Dixon Elementary from Richmond for the spring session of creativity, exploration, bonding, empowerment and personal growth. If you would like to learn more about this one of kind, innovative program, please contact us trough this website contact us page.