This is a community announcement from the Ithaca City School District. It was not written by The Ithaca Voice. To submit news releases, email

ITHACA, N.Y. –– The Ithaca City School District (ICSD) will host a culminating gallery event for the Soul of the Earth Art Project involving third graders across the district.  On Jan. 13, third graders will visit Ithaca High School’s Performing Arts Center where student work will be displayed in the lobby area. Students will get a chance to view their work and enjoy a concert by the Honey Child Soul Quintet.  The group will perform songs that inspired the art work. 

Teaching Artist and Honey Child Soul Quintet member Elisa S. Keeler began visiting third grade art classes in Fall 2019.  Using a flute inspired by the Anasazi and Hopi people, Keeler led students through guided art exploration with the live flute music as inspiration.  In collaboration with the art teachers, students learned about the history of the instrument and the cultural background of this music, also connecting to the social studies curriculum. 

“This work with third graders at all eight elementary schools was extremely fulfilling.  During each classroom visit, students dropped into a deep state of concentration and stillness as they created their works of art.  It was a true collaboration,” Keeler said. “The music inspired their creations and in turn, I was incredibly impressed and inspired by their creations.  Each one was so unique.  Some concrete imagery, some with story lines and some were abstract and striking.”

Daphne Shululu, ICSD Fine and Performing Arts Director, discussed the value of this kind of collaboration.  “When art work is presented in an authentic exhibition and performance setting such as this one,” she said. “Third graders have the opportunity to experience the impact of their creativity and the chance to see themselves as emerging young artists.”

An affiliate of the Ithaca Public Education Initiative (IPEI), the Fine Arts Booster Group (FABG) works in partnership with the Ithaca City School District (ICSD) to support and celebrate all the arts for all the kids. The Fine Arts Boosters strive for increased student access and participation in arts programs. The boosters believe the arts –– music, dance, visual, literary and theater arts –– are a central part of every child’s public school education.

IPEI is a not-for-profit organization that believes the education of every ICSD student is enhanced through community connections and support facilitated by IPEI for students and teachers through engagement, collaboration, gifts, and grants. 

For more information about the booster group and how you can help, contact Co-Presidents Alice Wu and Julie Hughes at or (607)256-4734.  To stay informed about what is happening with the fine and performing arts in the ICSD, consider following @fabgithaca on twitter and facebook or join the listserv by emailing

Ongoing FABG initiatives include mini-grants to teachers, student scholarships, printing the performance booklets for ICSD secondary schools’ concerts and drama productions; strengthening community connections; fundraising; Play It Again, Ithaca (collection of used musical instruments for use in the schools); Saltonstall Arts Colony retreat for teachers; and various efforts in support of arts in the schools.

FABG is open to all K-12 staff, parents, students and community members and is concerned with all arts areas.  Join the group and volunteer to work on goals –– communication, grant giving, development, community connections, and instrument recycling.

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