|SARASOTA, Fla. (July 17, 2017) – The group of USF Sarasota-Manatee students who traveled to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C., has returned home with a deeper appreciation for the circus arts.
Keith Phillips, Jaime Hernandez Carranza, Dina Thelusma and Geborah Joseph-Smith attended the circus-themed event on the National Mall as guests of the Sarasota-based Circus Arts Conservatory and the Florida Center for Partnerships for Arts-Integrated Teaching (PAInT) at USF Sarasota-Manatee.
For two weeks in June and July the students led demonstrations and discussions to teach children about the science behind circus acts, such as the relationship of gravity and balance to tightrope walking.
Also at the mall, performers gave exhibitions and artists held a circus-themed art show. Attendees could also learn the history of the circus and sample various cuisines, such as “Old Settler’s Baked Beans,” once popular with circus workers.
“I loved interacting with the kids and seeing the excitement on their faces,” Thelusma, a biology student, said. “When they understood how to do something, their faces lit up.”
The students walked children through simple experiments, such as one that used a penny and a small cut-out figure dubbed “Lorenzo.” The children had to figure out where to attach the penny to enable Lorenzo to balance a string.
They were joined by Dr. Denise Davis-Cotton, coordinator for the Florida Center for PAInT, and Jay Riley, who oversees the Student Ambassador program at USFSM. For most of their time, the students interacted with children and their parents, but in their free time they toured several of Washington’s museums and monuments.
Among the sites, Thelusma, Joseph-Smith and Dr. Davis-Cotton together visited the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
The museum, which opened in January 2016, traces the history of African-Americans from slavery through the Civil Rights movement to the modern era. Its collection contains 37,000 objects, including Muhammad Ali’s boxing gloves, a trumpet owned by Louis Armstrong and a hymnal that belonged to Harriet Tubman.
“It was very moving,” Thelusma said.
|About USF Sarasota-Manatee (USFSM)
USF Sarasota-Manatee is a regional campus of the University of South Florida system, offering the prestige of a nationally ranked research university with the convenience of a hometown location, including classes in Manatee County, Venice and online. Separately accredited, USFSM is ideal for those interested in pursuing a baccalaureate or master’s degree, professional certification, or continuing education credit in a small, personal setting with distinguished faculty and a dynamic curriculum of over 40 academic programs. Website: www.usfsm.edu.