Four online meeting frames showing John Ackermann, holding a guitar, working with students at Lowell.

Lowell Elementary Poetry & Song 2021

Four online meeting frames showing Tai Shan, holding a guitar, working with students at Lowell.In the spring of 2021, we were thrilled to work with students at Lowell Elementary School to create poetry and song. Since the COVID pandemic made it impossible to do this project in 2020, we were able to offer it to Lowell second and third graders this year. This web page is the culmination of Jack Straw artist residencies with Lowell second and third grade students in Alvin Delgado, Hannah Moffitt, Rae Richardson, Lisa Allphin, and Paul Tran’s classes. Sara Manley and her special education Aspire students joined with the third graders.

In this project, the students worked with Jack Straw’s professional writer Arianne True to write their own poetry. Vocal coaches Sunam Ellis, Brenda Arellano, and Meg McLynn helped the students practice reading their work aloud. Musicians John Ackermann and Tai Shan each wrote a song inspired by the students’ poetry.

In a separate project, Jack Straw movement artist Leah Mann of Lelavision held an online workshop with students in the Aspire program.

Second grade poetry and song:
Third Grade Poetry and Song:

Lowell Poetry and Song 2021 was produced by Jack Straw Cultural Center and Lowell Elementary School with the generous support of the Washington State Arts Commission, Harvest Foundation, Jubilation Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation, Seattle Public Schools and Creative Advantage, and individual donors. This program was provided, in part, under a contract with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Our thanks to Lowell teachers Sara Manley, who worked with our artist team to support students from the Aspire program. Our thanks to Lowell 2nd and 3rd grade students and teachers Alvin Delgado, Hannah Moffitt, Rae Richardson, Lisa Allphin, and Paul Tran. And, our special thanks to Shelby Leyland, Lowell music teacher, whose enthusiasm and commitment have made this program possible.

The Jack Straw artist team included poet Arianne True; vocal coaches Sunam Ellis, Brenda Arellano, and Meg McLynn; musicians John Ackermann and Tai Shan; audio engineers Daniel Guenther, Joel Maddox, and Ayesha Ubayatilaka; and Jack Straw Executive Director Joan Rabinowitz.


Arianne True

Arianne True

Arianne True is a queer poet and folk artist from Seattle and from the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations. Arianne has taught and mentored with Writers in the Schools (WITS), YouthSpeaks…


Tai Shan

Tai Shan has performed throughout the West Coast at venues such as Seattle’s Benaroya Hall and San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral. She has composed for jazz ensembles and string…

Portrait of Brenda Arellano

Brenda Arellano

Brenda Arellano is a performer and devisor based in Oakland after almost a decade in Chicago. She was a company member with the Chicago Neo-Futurists and she recently performed…

Portrait of Sunam Ellis

Sunam Ellis

Sunam Ellis is an actor, director, and teaching artist based out of Seattle. Her training began with her studies at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, and after receiving her…

Meg McLynn

Meg McLynn

Meg McLynn is a Seattle-based actor, vocalist, and teaching artist who loves sharing her passion for performance with students of all ages. She is a member of the vocal…