In an era of consistent cuts to education – particularly to arts and extracurricular programs – alternative models continue to arise and fill in gaps. Since 2003 the Center for Dynamic Learning has been toiling quietly along the margins that traditional schools aren’t reaching, and producing dramatic results. “Our three departments – Traveling Theatre, Imagine Productions and SLIDE (Science, Learning, Industrial, Design, Engineering) – work collaboratively to bridge the educational gap youth are facing in the arts and sciences,” explains founder and executive director Elizabeth Cunha. “Young people are exposed to elements in our programs which are not traditionally accessible in the school day.” Traveling Theatre provides younger students with the opportunity to explore performing and visual arts through education and hands-on experience. Imagine Productions takes that to the next level, allowing older students to work with teaching artists, examining social issues and creating community discourse through their projects. And SLIDE is a 1250 square foot engineering lab that offers fun, creative vocational training in a variety industrial arts and sciences through projects like solar electric go-karts and mini wind turbines. To date the program has served over 5000 Rhode Island students and boasts graduates who have gone on to pursue engineering, advanced manufacturing, community service, education, the arts, entrepreneurship and the military. Plans for the summer include serving 400-plus youth who will do things like build and (safely) race solar electric vehicles and stage summer theater productions.
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