Mariachi Perla del Medio Oeste has performed Lotus Blossoms programming in the past. Courtesy image

Editor’s note: The following press release from The Lotus Education & Arts Foundation is published here it in its entirety—edited lightly for style and grammar.

The Lotus Education & Arts Foundation is proud to announce that we are making our Lotus Blossoms study guides available to the public for the very first time. This means that parents and teachers interested in providing their children with in-depth knowledge about cultures from around the world through the lens of music and art will have a fantastic and free new resource.

Lotus Blossoms is our annual, four-week intensive outreach program that brings world musicians and artists to south-central Indiana every spring. Each year Lotus staff and interns create study guides that accompany visiting artists to the K-12 schools at which they perform and lead workshops.

Unfortunately, we had to cancel our programming just one week before it began this year. As part of our creative response to implications from the COVID-19 virus, we are making our study guides available to the public.

“Since students won’t be able to experience Lotus Blossoms artists in person this year, we wanted to provide a way to use the materials we have prepared to connect Lotus Blossoms artists to students (and audiences of all ages) virtually,” Lotus Graduate Assistant Katie Bethel said. “These study guides can serve as an educational resource, or just a chance to escape into engaging and high-quality art and world cultures.”

Our Lotus mission is to create opportunities to experience, celebrate, and explore the diversity of the world’s cultures through music and the arts. Several years ago, Lotus staff hosted focus groups with local area educators to ask how Lotus could better serve K-12 students. Many educators noted that students benefitted from stronger connections with visiting Lotus artists. Lotus listened and decided to make the experiences for students stronger by not only scheduling performances, but by scheduling artists to visit classrooms, give talks about their lives and cultures, and practice songs with the children before the performance so that they could participate.

The study guides are another way that Lotus has responded in an effort to give students a deeper connection with visiting artists and therefore a more meaningful learning experience. The guides provide information about the people, language, foods, and customs of the artist’s culture. Additionally, the guides provide beautiful imagery and links to the artist’s music.

The study guides were recently made available on the Lotus website. Those interested will find the study guides under the education tab on the Lotus website. We are so happy to share these with our community and the world, especially during a time when so many parents are acting as teachers for their children.