With the summer in full swing, Miami’s children are busy discovering their city, learning and having fun. 64 children from the Opa-locka Parks & Recreation Summer Camp, mainly residents of the Opa-locka Community Development Corporation’s Magnolia North Apartments, visited the Adrienne Arsht Center of the Performing Arts to enjoy “The Amazing Adventures of Dr. Wonderful (and Her Dog).”
Exposure and immersion in arts and culture is important to the development of every child and during the summer many of the city’s cultural institutions, including the Arsht Center, welcome summer camp groups on a daily basis.
“The Arsht is a valuable cultural venue in Miami and South Florida,” says Aileen Alon, the Arts and Cultural Initiatives Coordinator of the Opa-locka Community Development Corporation. She adds, “It is exposing the kids to the different riches of our city’s cultural expressions. Many do not know what is outside of Opa-locka because perhaps their parents cannot take them to see things, so this is a good way for the youth to experience the arts and greater Miami-Dade.
The Arsht Center’s programming for elementary and middle schools over the summer exposes children to musical theater while simultaneously communicating valuable lessons through music and a fun time, according to the Arsht. “The Amazing Adventures of Dr. Wonderful (and Her Dog)” is all about science, teaching children about the solar system.
Science is a lot of fun and quite cool when Dr. Wonderful is on the case. The musical’s protagonist is a geeky girl who wants to join her school’s science club and excitedly spends her afternoons solving scientific riddles and learning about physics and astronomy. Together with her dog Newton and best friend Ben, Dr. Wonderful embarks on a mission to save the sun from disappearing. The three adventurous young scientists explore the solar system on a trip into space and solve the mystery of the solar eclipse.
The fun musical was a hit with the children from Opa-locka, who all agreed that the absolute best part was her dog Newton’s rap performance, but many said they also enjoyed learning about the solar system and about how cool science can be. The children also had the opportunity to meet the actors personally and take photos with them to round up an exciting and memorable day.
The work of the Opa-locka Community Development Corporation has introduced new programming to the city of Opa-locka to include art into the residents’ daily lives in an effort to improve the community through beautification and a sense of pride in the community.
Says Alon, “At the OLCDC, I am working to integrate the arts into the organization’s revitalization strategies for the city – neighborhood development, economic development, public art, infrastructure, art education, and bringing various opportunities to residents of Opa-locka through the arts.” Does she observe differences? “I think it gives many residents something to look forward to. It is a way of bringing the community together. It especially gives the kids an opportunity to express themselves through a different kind of creative outlet that they may not get in the schools or elsewhere.”
The experience was made possible by a collaboration between the Opa-locka Community Development Corporation, the City of Opa-locka’s Parks and Recreation Department, and City Theater who donated the tickets.