Camp connects Upper Valley students with countries along the Nil - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Camp connects Upper Valley students with countries along the Nile River

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While the sounds of African music fill a classroom at Dartmouth's Hopkins Center for the Arts, in nearby Lebanon, students do experiments with water at the Ava Gallery where a unique camp is underway.

"We get to do a lot of art and a lot of interesting painting. I love to paint and do different activities," said Shreeya Gomathinayagam, camper.

"You actually get to look out in nature and do different activities about it instead of just reading about it in books," said Finn Duncan, fourth-grader.

The two events may seem like an unlikely match, but they're actually connected, like the waters of the world.

"Water is kind of the glue that brings it all together," said Alsarah of the Nile Project.

Both sites are hosting the Nile Project, a group of musicians from 11 African countries who tour the world, highlighting cultural and environmental challenges, specifically when it comes to water.

"In terms of policy in different governments and how we relate to the water and how we relate to the people living around the water," said Alsarah.

The Nile Project is part of a weeklong artist-in-residence at Dartmouth and the camp, and other events on campus are an extension of that effort.

"Here we are based on the Connecticut River on both sides. We care about the watershed here. We understand how connected we are through other places in New England through this one river and the Nile Project is taking that idea but on an international level," said Margaret Lawrence, Hopkins Center.

Back at Ava, young campers put on an ocean-themed puppet show. They come from schools throughout the Upper Valley.

Educators say when topics like watersheds are taught through art, the kids' minds respond.

"As you gain information through activities, you process them and that information becomes real when you implement it through a creative project," said Adam Blue, Ava Gallery.

Similar to the way a body reacts to music.

"I like how it is kind of jumpy and I like the way the instruments are played and I like how they use many instruments," said Duncan.

Reporter Adam Sullivan: Do you like the music?

Gomathinayagam: Yeah.

Sullivan: How come?

Gomathinayagam: Because it is kind of different from American music and it is really nice.

The Nile Project will be holding two public performances at Dartmouth's Hopkins Center for the Arts this Friday. It's an opportunity for the entire community to come together around an issue shared by citizens across the world.

Click here for more information on the Ava Gallery

Click here for more information The Nile Project

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