Moonstone Foundation

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Moonstone: Education Through the Arts

Moonstone's deceptively simple founding principle, "Education Through the Arts", embodies a coherent and deliberate philosophy that informs all of the organization's activities. Moonstone was founded, and continues to operate upon the tenet that true education must go beyond merely imparting information. Art, defined as creative human activity, whether music, dance, the visual and plastic arts, or writing, can bypass propaganda and prejudice and provide opportunities to establish connections. Moonstone is concerned with increasing participants' awareness of themselves and their world through active engagement with the arts.

Art is viewed as a central human activity that records and reinterprets the past, documents the present, and can help create a more positive future. As such it has the ability to simultaneously inform and reform, to engage, challenge and inspire. Moonstone aims to provide free and open access to information through a variety of communication forms with the goal of fostering strong, independent, co-operative people who are informed and engaged members of their local and global community.

Moonstone is a 501(c)(3) organization founded by Larry and Sandy Robin in 1983. Larry, an artist and third-generation independent bookstore owner, and his wife Sandy, also an artist as well as a certified early childhood educator, wished to incorporate their separate activities with children and adults into a unified program with a single ethos and goal. Moonstone’s underlying principle, "Education through the Arts" is based on Howard Gardner's Theories of Multiple Intelligence which emphasizes the different ways people are able to learn and understand. Moonstone pursues emotional as well as cognitive understanding by using various art forms which correspond to Gardner's realms of intelligence. Over the past twenty years "Moonstone" has become synonymous with outstanding, innovative and efficacious cultural and educational programs for children and adults.

Moonstone's Adult Program, which is largely, though not exclusively, focused on activities of a literary and social nature, operates out of Robin's Bookstore in center-city Philadelphia. The bookstore, itself a Philadelphia landmark, has been a center for artistic, social and community activities since it was established in 1936. The backbone of the Adult Program is the Moonstone Reading Series which has provided a forum for local authors of merit, up-and coming writers, as well as acclaimed national and international authors for 20 years. In addition to this ongoing series, Moonstone has inaugurated a number of highly successful annual events. These programs include The Celebration of Black Writing, now in its nineteenth year; The Paul Robeson Festival; Poetry Philadelphia, the "Ink" series: Children's Ink, Women's Ink, and Philadelphia Ink, and Festival Cubano. In addition, Moonstone has undertaken several special projects that explore the reciprocal relationship between art and political and social life.

Moonstone is currently engaged in hosting the Philadelphia Social Forum, an ongoing monthly series of discussions, designed to inform citizens and encourage active participation in issues of social concern. After two years of producing Festival Cubano, the organization is convening "To Promote Democracy: The United States in Latin America," a major program on the relationship between the United States and Latin America, in 2003.

The Moonstone Children's Program centers on the Moonstone Preschool in South Philadelphia. The Preschool provides innovative arts-based education for children aged from eighteen months to five years using Howard Gardner's model of Multiple Intelligence as the theoretical template. Each day the children are involved in activities that are designed to engage and enhance the seven spheres of intelligence: linguistic, logical/mathematical, spatial, musical, bodily/kinesthetic, interpersonal, and intra-personal. The Preschool offers a caring and stimulating environment which aims to foster the children's educational strengths, promote positive self-expression, and facilitate the growth of free, inquisitive, independent and co-operative minds.

 

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