What happens when a massive ELAN art project gets cancelled and has to go virtual? Laura Teasdale & Ronnie LeBlanc were supposed to have ELAN artist residencies in the towns of New Richmond and New Carlisle in the Gaspe. When schools were shut down for COVID-19, (literally the day before they were meant to begin!) they suddenly had to restructure their entire project, opting instead to try a live-streamed art and activity show for the entire month of April 2020. What a steep learning curve! What an unexpected adventure!

Release the Gaspesians! debuted April 3rd, 2020 and ran daily for the entire month with Ronnie Leblanc and Laura Teasdale.

Laura Teasdale says this project has proven to be life changing. “I had to adapt and re-think techniques and exercises that I have been doing so long, they had become second nature. It took a lot of brain power to learn to instruct without being there to literally take a child’s hand and put their fingers on the strings in the frets. To inspire someone to want to play a game without just modeling the behavior was a special challenge… So grateful for this strange and beautiful experience.”

Check out the Release the Gaspesians YouTube playlist for fun art activities for in the classroom, distance learning and at home.

New Richmond and New Carlisle Schools’ ACE experience was made possible by an ELAN Quebec/LEARN partnership for students from Quebec’s English-speaking communities to participate in arts and culture experiences, thanks in part to funding from the Government of Canada.

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