Dear PLAY Families,
(Forgive me for taking the long way around this.) From mid-March 2020 through mid-April 2021, our home space on W. 3rd Street sat empty. When we visited to clean, gather supplies, or give our then six-year-olds a change of scenery, we felt so sorry for the rooms themselves, knowing how much sound, energy, and fun used to fill them. (The space seemed so sad that I got in the habit of chatting with it a little, especially before I’d leave.)
We’ve been reopened in person for just over a year, and we want to thank all of the families who have come in during that time for music or art and brought life back to 5814 W. 3rd, and all the teachers who made that return possible: Veronika, Keith, Emilia, and Kelly. We also want to thank every single family who came into the space during the 15 years we were open in the before times (since 2005), parents, grandparents, caregivers, and kids who sang, danced, and played in the old music room, found good friends while snacking at the community table, played for hours, celebrated birthdays, crowded in for great big, beautiful sing-and-dance-alongs with our teachers at holiday times, told us so many stories about their creations in the art room, and, collectively, made tens of thousands of paintings (many of them, first paintings).
You inspired us to create our music-and-movement curriculum, which we’ve been using and building on since 2010. We got to work with so many wonderful people. There are too many to name here, but if you remember that one music or art teacher who was or is special to your child, that teacher surely remembers you too. You inspired several of our art facilitators to become full-time, public school art teachers, which is something we’re really proud of. With you in mind we recorded over 100 tracks with our producing partners (and made lots of videos). With all of that material in hand, we were able to partner with Silverlake Conservatory of Music, The Huntington Library, and three non-profits serving Head Start and Early Head Start families, which have enabled us to make music with over 1000 more families (and counting).
All of that wouldn’t have been possible without, first, these rooms on W. 3rd St., where we learned as we went, lived a big part of our lives, and like you, made memories when our kids were small—which is why it will be so hard to leave them, as we will at the end of July. This has been a long considered and a very hard decision, but it is what we need to do now in order to move forward with PLAY. As you showed us during the deepest part of the pandemic (and we’ll never forget how you did), what we do is not limited by where we can be together. We’re nowhere near done, and we hope you’ll stick with us to see what’s next.
We’ll talk more soon about new things coming up. But today, I just wanted to tell you this news (phew!), which we’ve been holding on to. We’ll be having our last chats with the space, our goodbyes and thank yous, over the next eight weeks, and we’re hoping a lot of you will want to come and say yours too with a song or a painting : ). We have many activities planned for this month and next (including PLAY music shorts & Messy Art). You can also book a private small gathering or Messy Art hour with friends. We’re currently planning private at-home classes for the near future, exploring partnerships with other community spaces, and we will be at Silverlake Conservatory in the fall.
We hope to see you soon! With so much gratitude from all of us at PLAY– Anne & James