On Location

Spotlight on your community


On Location

From 2008-2010, nineteen schools from across the United States created videos as part of the On Location program. A "media studio on wheels" visited each school for two weeks and provided students the gear and training to tell the story of the arts in their community.

Spotlight on Your Community

From go-go music in Washington DC, to gullah woodburning in Beaufort, South Carolina, to modern dance in Berkley, Michigan, the arts of a community can be as different as it's geography.

The Kennedy Center traveled the country to help students tell the story of the arts in their community, and the result is a video collection reflecting a rich diversity of local artists and art forms across the United States.

The videos in this series were scripted, produced and edited by students using professional equipment, under the supervision of Kennedy Center teaching artists. As you watch, think about how you would tell the story of the arts in your community (and how you can submit your own video).

Videos 1

"Through His Eyes: Gullah Discovered"
Beaufort Middle School
Beaufort, South Carolina

If hard work makes a man, then what makes an artist? For Minister Johnnie Simmons, it's both hard work and his ability to see pictures in the grains of wood. Minister Simmons is a thriving artist who works mainly with Gullah. By using hot, metal tools, he burns wood, creating pictures that show how his life had been like when he was younger. Every word on his pieces is written in Gullah. He is a Gullah artist in the true sense of the word.

"AMLA: Artistas y Musicos Latino Americanos"
Antonia Pantoja Charter School
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

This is a story about Jesse Bermudez. In 1982, Jesse started an organization named AMLA (Artistas y Musicos Latino Americanos). This organization helps students develop their musical talents. Jesse wished for an organization like this when he was a younger, and has now turned his wish into reality. He is proud of his community and the work that he does. We hope you enjoy the documentary about Jesse Bermudez and his Latin culture.

"The Power of Dance"
Anderson Middle School
Berkley, Michigan

The Power of Dance is about discovery. Students were given the privilege to talk with Barbara Selinger, the founder and artistic director of the DDC. She described the purpose of DDC and what they do in schools. This is an interesting way to tell that story. To get the whole story, see the video for yourself. We promise that you won’t be disappointed.

"Ricky Trione's Inspirational Art: Reflections of a Blind Artist"
Foley Middle School
Foley, Alabama

Can a man who became blind in the middle of his life turn his disability into something great? Come and find out while watching Ricky Trione share his special talent of painting without sight. Filmed in the southern part of Alabama, where Ricky Trione grew up, the film shows how he remembers events as a child and then feels his way through the painting technique. This movie will both inspire you and touch your heart.

"Bob Tommey: Putting the ART in cARThage"
Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School
Joplin, Mississippi

In a shady valley in Carthage, Missouri one will find one of our nation's most respected artists; Bob Tommey. Finding inspiration in western culture, Mr. Tommey has worked to preserve this heritage through sculpture and painting. By bringing his unique gifts to Carthage, Mr. Tommey has helped to craft the town's artistic reputation.

"Mosaic Journey: Piecing Together an Artistic Community"
Samuel S. Gaines Academy
Fort Pierce, Florida

Ms. Prentice, a self taught artist, takes much of her inspiration from the colorful, costal community which she has called home for more than 20 years. MOSAIC JOURNEY takes us into the soul of an artist who has made a major impact on the arts in her city and continues to grow a love in the arts for the next generation. Watch the video and discover what drives her to create her work and why she believes that she has found a place in the ultimate artistic community.

"Exploring Creativity: Artes de la Rosa Teen Troupe"
Meacham Middle School
Fort Worth, Texas

Students from all areas of Fort Worth, Texas are learning that the theatre can be a way to make their voices and opinions heard. Under the direction of Rob Bosquez, members of the Artes de la Rosa Teen Troupe at the Rose Marine Theatre are encouraged to write and perform plays. Through these original plays the teens are able to explore and share their problems and the concerns they face in and out of school.

Normal Park Museum Magnet School
Chattanooga, Tennessee

Glass'a'nooga is the story of how stained glass artist Dee Mays Lewis works with Normal Park Museum Magnet students through the complicated, and sometimes dangerous, process of creating stained glass mosaics. The artist and students share what makes the experience worthwhile, and how the process engages the community as they sit around a table trying to find “the perfect piece” to create their collective vision in a mural depicting their studies at a museum school.

"Mambo Sauce: The Documentary"
Arts and Technology Academy
Washington, D.C.

Many people outside of D.C. have never heard of Go-go music or Mambo Sauce, but this is about to change! Follow along as Alfred “Black Boo” Duncan explains the bands unique style of music and lets us in on “The Recipe” behind their success. We hope you enjoy hearing the sounds of this new flavor of Go-go music.

Videos 2

"The Tale of Two Musicians"
Benjamin Foulois Creative & Performing Arts Academy
Morningside, Maryland

Whether it be as a performer, a student, an audience, or community as a whole; the impact of music on our lives has as much diversity in significance as the music itself. We invite you to understand this impact through the eyes of two of Maryland’s favorites, Rock artist Dave Tieff and Jazz musician Marcus Johnson, within our student-filmed documentary entitled, “A Tale of Two Musicians”. Interwoven throughout each musician’s journey is a tale of giving back to the community, personal success, a message for hope against all odds and, ultimately, finding ones’ purpose through the power of song.

"Maurice Bebb: Muskogee’s Master Printmaker"
Sadler Arts Academy
Muskogee, Oklahoma

“I am not really an ornithologist. I am a birder,” said Maurice Bebb, in describing his enthusiasm for drawing birds. Considered a Renaissance man, Mr. Bebb, who had always wanted to draw, finally “got the nerve to dirty a piece of paper” following his retirement. Being quite versatile, he could sketch, paint, as well as, create etchings from his drawings. For those in Muskogee, Mr. Bebb’s approach to his art was innovative, informative, and a virtual reawakening of a centuries-old form of printmaking. With his variation of the Aquatint process, he turned these drawings into multi-colored, multi-plate etchings, which brought him world renown. Art was his passion. He left a body of work cherished by many.”

Hill Country Middle School
Austin, Texas

What do you get when you mix yoga, biomechanics and acting? A theatre company that is helping actors move into the future, of course! Our documentary shows the story of Heather Huggins, a young actor/director who studied in Russia with movement coach and creator of the Droznin System, Andrei Droznin. Here in Austin, Heather has formed the DA! Theatre collective in hopes of exposing the Droznin System to area artists. Our " DA!cumentary” is a part of spreading the passion of performance to more people.

"Painting the World: The Art of Jessica Hales"
Cedar Ridge Middle School
Decatur, Alabama

Our video portrays the work of local artist and businesswoman, Jessica Hales. Besides her work as an artist, art teacher, and mother, Ms. Hales’ exploits have included bedding design for a Turkish company, marathon running, military uniform design, and championing a business in Iraq that specialized in delivering American supply shipments to dangerous locations in the field. Watch as she demonstrates her unusual oil painting technique in painting figures upside-down and with both hands and as she shares the philosophy she has gained about the universality of human nature from her work and travels around the world.

"Mountain Thyme"
Hometown Elementary
Hometown, West Virginia

Would you like to know the true meaning of friendship? Well this group of four West Virginia women have the true meaning of friendship all figured out. They formed an Irish-Celtic band called Mountain Thyme in 1983 and have been together ever since. Not only do they write and play music, but they travel the world and still manage to talk on a daily basis. While Mountain Thyme is an all female West Virginia Irish band, it is also a band of friendship.

"Festival 56"
Leepertown Grade School
Bureau, Illinois

What great American art form has amazing action, romance and so much more? Theater gives us the opportunity to examine the world around us and teach us about ourselves. It allows us to look at the things around us in a reflective way. Theater allows us to examine who we are either through music, drama, or comedy by looking at a reflection of ourselves through a playwright. Festival 56, a theater group in Princeton, IL has found a way to bring all of the wonderful aspects of theater to the community. Want to learn how? Watch this film!

"Misunderstood: The Art of Jolt"
Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy
Denver, Colorado

Is graffiti an art form or is it vandalism? Misunderstood takes a look at how one artist is changing the vision of graffiti as an art form and helping to change how it impacts and reflects within the community.

"Keeping the Beat with Obo Addy, Master Drummer"
Open Meadow Middle School
Portland, Oregon

Who brings Ghanaian culture to the life in Portland, Oregon? West African drummer Obo Addy; that’s who! Mr. Addy is an acclaimed master drummer and composer from Ghana. Mr. Addy brings his musical medicine to the United States with his drumming and dance group Homowo African Arts and Culture. He is committed to sharing his art and culture with young male and female students who might otherwise never get to experience West Africa.

"Sacramento Area Youth Speaks through Jason Mateo"
Martin Luther King, Jr. Technology Academy
Sacramento, California

Driven by the belief that literacy comes in various forms, Sacramento Area Youth Speaks (SAYS) believes that having knowledge, practice, and confidence in the written and spoken language is essential to the self-empowerment of an individual, and thus, by paying attention to the cultivation and amplification of their voices, youth can forge new paths to success. Watch as students from the Martin Luther King, Jr. Technology Academy provides you, the viewer, with a look into the impact of spoken word on our youth.

"Jett Jackson: Stuck in Wonderland"
Henry T. Gage Middle – Magnet
Huntington Park, California

Jett Jackson: Stuck in Wonderland is about an eccentric artist who lives at the Santa Fe Arts Colony, located near Downtown Los Angeles. Students were given the chance to talk with Jett Jackson, a local artist, and carted a short documentary about her work as one of the most unique artists of our times. In the documentary, she describes her painting style and her inspirations as a painter. As only she can, Jett Jackson talks about those subjects and more in this short documentary. Check it out! What you see may amaze you!

Your Community

Have a story to tell?

Grab a camera and start rolling! All of the videos in this series were created by students about the arts in their community, and we want to see yours.

Post your community arts video on the ARTSEDGE Facebook page for a chance to be included here!

Think About Your Community

When watching the videos in this series, you gain an understanding of the arts, culture, and people that make each community unique (be sure to read the notes for each video, both in the text below, and in the "flyout" tab in the top right corner of the video player). In what ways are these places similar or different to your community? Think about:

  • Location. Find each of these communities on a map or the United States. Which is closest to where you live?
  • Geography. Each video starts with a map of the community, where you can see mountains, rivers, ocean, etc. Which community has geography most like where you live?
  • Population. The maps also show the community's streets and roads, for example: a dense grid of city blocks, or remote country roads. More roads usually mean more people. Which is most like where you live?

The Arts of Your Community

There are many types of artists and art forms represented in these videos. Are there artists working in these art forms where you live? What other art forms are unique to your community (hint: your art or music teacher can be a great person to ask)?

  • Stained Glass
  • Go-Go Music
  • Storytelling
  • Copper Etching
  • Mosaic
  • Creative Movement
  • Sculture
  • Appalachian Celtic Folk Music
  • Modern Dance
  • Outdoor Festival Theater
  • Latin Music
  • Graffiti
  • Gullah Woodburning
  • African Drumming
  • Painting
  • Spoken-Word Poetry
Explore the ARTSEDGE Multimedia Library for more on many of these art forms.

The Program

The "Arts Bus"

From 2008-2010, nineteen schools from across the United States created videos as part of the On Location program. A Thomas Built Bus, transformed into a "media studio on wheels" with laptops and other video production tools, visited each school for two weeks and provided students the opportunity to develop creative and communication skills.

A team of professional theater and media artists helped the students use the equipment to create a short video about an artist or an arts group that the students felt best represents the culture of their community.

On Location

The On Location project engaged students in the storytelling process through the use of digital media techniques and in the creation of short documentary films about local artists or arts groups in their community.

The goals of the project were to:

  • help students learn how to create their own documentary by providing hands-on learning opportunities in filmmaking and storytelling;
  • offer support to teachers by providing in-person guidance from media teaching artists, appropriate media equipment and online resources;
  • develop students' and teachers' appreciation of the arts and artists in their communities.

By participating in the project, students were actively engaged in multimedia experiences to tell stories that share and explore their world. They worked through the entire media development process, taking the lead from conception to creation, using the tools and technology common to professional multimedia production—gaining valuable hands-on skills as well as creative collaboration experiences.

Through this process, students developed the ability to think critically and creatively, communicate effectively, and work together—all key 21st Century skills.


Editors & Producers

Kenny Neal
Manager, Digital Education Resources

On Location: Spotlight On Your Community is presented by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in cooperation with Daimler Financial Services.

The curriculum for this project is adapted from "Creative Learning for Your Classroom," a product of MhzNetworks, and is used with permission.

Email Print Share


- +
Email a link to this page
Share This Page


Related Resources

© 1996-2019 John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts  

ArtsEdge is an education program of

The Kennedy Center 

with the support of

The US Department of Education 

ARTSEDGE, part of the Rubenstein Arts Access Program, is generously funded by David Rubenstein.

Additional support is provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

Kennedy Center education and related artistic programming is made possible through the generosity of the National Committee
for the Performing Arts and the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts.

The contents of this Web site were developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. However, those contents do not
necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal government.
Unless otherwise stated, ArtsEdge materials may be copied, modified and otherwise utilized for non-commercial educational purposes
provided that ArtsEdge and any authors listed in the materials are credited and provided that you permit others to use them in the same manner.

Change Background:

Connect with us!    EMAIL US | YouTube | Facebook | iTunes | MORE!

© 1996-2019 John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts  
    Privacy Policy
| Terms and Conditions


You are now leaving the ArtsEdge website. Thank you for visiting!

If you are not automatically transferred, please click the link below:

ArtsEdge and The Kennedy Center are in no way responsible for the content of the destination site, its ongoing availability, links to other site or the legality or accuracy of information on the site or its resources.