The Merced County Arts Council continues its 2nd Saturdays Performance Series with an appearance by the Atwater High School Hip Hop Academy on Saturday at the Multicultural Arts Center.
“I have a personal fondness for hip-hop, as it is, like jazz, a particularly American art form with a fascinating history which is very relevant to today’s culture,” Merced County Arts Council Executive Director Laura Phillips said. “The Arts Council is thrilled to be able to showcase these young men and women.”
The Hip Hop Academy was founded in 2011 after receiving a grant to coordinate an after-school program on the four areas of hip-hop: DJing, breakdancing, rapping and drawing. The program supported an existing Atwater High School club, Music in Motion, to become bigger and have a place for students to learn about hip-hop and work on their passion. The club meets three days a week after school and promotes love, peace, unity and having fun.
“We also educate students on the history and culture of hip-hop,” club sponsor Carmen Ildefonzo said. “We will be helping Laura provide a lesson for the kids that attend the 2nd Saturdays. We are going to give a dance and beatboxing lesson. I am also counting this as community service hours for the students that are helping from Hip Hop Academy. I am looking forward to our high school students being able to provide their knowledge with younger students so they can learn more about themselves through teaching.”
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After the event, the club will go to UC Merced for a tour. “I made it a field trip for our club,” Ildefonzo said.
She is thrilled to participate in 2nd Saturdays.
“Anytime people in the community are joining together for something cultural and enriching, it is always a positive activity,” Ildefonzo said. “I believe it will be teaching the high school students just as much as the younger children involved. Children will learn a dance and an introduction to beatboxing. It can expand their horizon to the types of abilities and skills they can practice even within their own home.”
The 2nd Saturdays Performance Series was created in 2009 to enrich the lives of kids ages 3 to 8 through art, music, dance and theater. Exposure to and participation in the arts improves grades, keeps kids in school longer and helps them avoid risky behaviors, according to a study referenced on the Merced County Arts Council website. Bringing kids to arts events also sets the stage for a lifelong appreciation for the arts, especially when their parents attend with them, the study found.
2nd Saturdays is held the second Saturday of the month from January through May and September through November.