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February 2003
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House Parties on the road again

On January 12th a somewhat neglected Island tradition, the House Party, saw new life, thanks to hard work by Cindy Ricksgers and the Youth Consortium and the success of their application for a grant. The grant will fund several programs: in-school art and enrichment programs for students, evening enrichment classes primarily for adults (our “winter Wednesdays,” 3 nights per month through March - possibly longer), and outside programs designed to get the entire community involved. The House Parties are an example of this; the T-shirt Project is another. “We'd like to get the community involved beyond what is being funded,” Cindy said.

The first House Party got things going with a bang. Cindy Gillespie and Edward Palmer were hired as hosts to keep the music flowing. “The amount they were paid is a fraction of their normal rate,” Cindy said. “The other musicians, including Joe Moore, John McCafferty, Patty Cull and others, were there for the pure joy of it.” Mary Ann and Danese offered their home–the famed Bluebird–and provided coffee and home-made cookies and received a receipt for their donation.

“We hope to see Second Sundays expand to include more of the community. Through the grant, we will promote this by displaying student's art work in various businesses and lobbies on the day of the house party. Imagine churches offering special breakfasts on that day, businesses offering promotions or sales in addition to showing student works, galleries and shops opening their doors for a few hours, offering lemonade or iced tea...Imagine our main street lined with families out walking, visiting friends and neighbors, and heading home for an early dinner before going to a House Party. We'd like to see the house parties take on a life of their own, continuing long after the grant is done.

“The enrichment classes, too, are something there has long been an interest in. The grant will allow participants to 'test the waters': teachers will be paid; students will pay nothing more than materials fees. If the classes go over well, it's also something that could continue on it's own steam later. “I'm hoping, too, that the teachers will see art programs they'd like to repeat, which may result in the school allocating more money for arts programs in the future,” Cindy concluded. From the rollicking start that entertained 37 people of all ages, it seems the people behind this program have hit on a much-appreciated idea.

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