Building Belonging through the Arts

The Lab community came together for student performances and creative workshops during the annual celebration of Identity, Arts, Music, and Unity. 

The power of art forms like poetry, music, and dance were on full display at this year's IAMU Celebration. It was the first fully in-person IAMU event since the tradition began three years ago, and it was amazing to have the whole community gather together in one place to reflect on this year's theme of "Building Belonging through the Arts." During the assembly portion of the day, student groups gave a number of performances to the gathered Lab community. A special thanks to organizers Sara Hawkins, Liora Valero, and Jessica Bruce: without their hard work and dedication the event wouldn't have been possible.

Trap Bob
Guest speaker Trap Bob told the assembly about art's role in her identity and how it helps build community.

We were joined by a number of special guests including local artist Trap Bob, who recently worked with Lab students on a permanent mural installation in the Middle School, and the family and friends of the late Lab social worker Aaron Boose. Mr. Aaron was the mastermind behind the first IAMU and wanted to create a community-building event that used the arts to celebrate all of the unique identities at The Lab School. Though he is tragically no longer with us, IAMU is a tribute to his memory and his goals of spreading joy and building community.

Tracee Ellis
Tracee Blair, Mr. Aaron's mother, shares a tribute to her son and the magic of IAMU.

After the opening ceremony, students attended one of the thirty workshops available around campus. The facilitators of these workshops drew from their own passions to teach students about many incredibly diverse forms of creative expression, from comic book making to challah braiding and everything in between. Though most of the workshops were led by faculty and staff, this year two of the workshops (Soap Making and Starting an Aquarium) were led by Middle School students!


Soap Making
Aquarium 101

Each hands-on workshop demonstrated a different way in which art can express identity. At the closing ceremony, many students shared their creations with the assembled group. Whether by reading a newly written poem, showing off a cross-stitched bookmark, or simply talking about their experiences in the workshop, the act of sharing with the crowd was a way of celebrating their identity.

Artistic expression takes many forms and each one reflects the identity of the artist. By sharing these artforms with each other, we are growing closer as a community by fully appreciating what makes each of us special. IAMU continues to be a source of singular joy, and we can't wait for next year's celebration!