/ News /

Curtis students continue community residencies online

How do you hold a violin? What makes Bach so special? Students enrolled in the artist-citizen curriculum share their answers.


How do you hold a violin? What makes Bach so special? Students enrolled in the artist-citizen curriculum at Curtis, including three Community Artist Fellows, answer these questions throughout the school year as they work in a variety of Philadelphia community settings—elementary and high schools, homeless shelters, and programs catering to seniors such as the Penn Memory Center. In the process they develop practical skills to engage deeply with audiences of all kinds and lead community-based projects that meaningfully affect the lives of others.

Now that coronavirus restrictions have precluded these personal interactions, this engagement work has moved online. Mary Javian, chair of career studies, has asked her students and the fellows to create videos that capture the activities they would normally lead in person: introducing elementary school children to orchestral instruments; guiding more advanced musicians through sophisticated practice techniques; or introducing audiences to a work of music that particularly moves them, in an initiative called Stories from Home. “We are sharing these with our community partners and anyone else who might like to hear our students from their homes all over the world," says Ms. Javian.

Here are a few of the results:



In a related effort, students and fellows held their first virtual Memory Cafe for the Penn Memory Center on May 1. Temporarily replacing the in-person interactions led by Curtis participants, the popular program included a blend of live and pre-recorded performances with students and Community Artist Fellows answering questions in real time. Also in partnership with the Penn Memory Center, students continue to lead interactive workshops in Creative Expression Through Music. Participants gather on online meeting platforms to explore creativity and create community through vocalizing, drumming, and more. View examples of this work from previous years.

Community-based projects are an essential part of a Curtis education, informing students’ development as artists and empowering them to invent careers with impact after their graduation. Learn more about the school’s artist-citizen curriculum and Community Artist Fellowships.