I have the INCREDIBLE honor of being the executive director of Performing Arts Workshop, one of the firecest, most innovative, most effective education organziations in the Bay Area. (I'm still pinching myself.)
My passion for this work is personal.
I couldn’t read until I was in 4th grade, so the arts were HOW I developed cognitively and personally. The arts were how I stayed interested and busy, and, as important, the arts were a big part of how the world got to know ME when I was a kid.
So that’s me, early on. Then I became a professional opera singer and had the opportunity to work with kids in school and thought, “My god, this makes SENSE.” And it does. It’s genius. Bringing professional artists into schools to work with kids in an ongoing way not only brings art to kids, it brings light, air, and beautiful deviance into schools. Through the guidance of a professional artist, kids discover and AMPLIFY their voices, connect to the power of their heritages, and learn to care for one another and for the planet.
And this is what Performing Arts Workshop does. We nuture for hearts and minds today. We shape the citizens of tomorrow.
We need your help to reach over 4,000 Bay Area students with our arts education programs this year. Why does this work look like close up? Serena’s story can show you.
Performing Arts Workshop teaching artist Chinchin Hsu taught creative movement at St. Joseph’s Family Center, a shelter for families here in San Francisco. It was there that she met Serena, a shy student, recovering from early trauma, uncomfortable with physical contact, and reluctant to participate in classroom activities. However, with Chinchin as her teacher and the Workshop methodology as their guide, Serena became comfortable enough to dance with Chinchin as partners. In Chinchin’s words:
“Serena shared with me that the one space she felt safe and free was when she was imagining; dance created a bridge between imagination and the physical world, a bridge she was able to cross.
“Serena has continued to bravely dance her way into the world; this year she plans to join the Carnaval Festival performance in school. I am so glad we were there at St Joseph’s Family Center when Serena needed us.”
Chinchin’s words above explain why your contribution to Performing Arts Workshop means so much. With the rising cost of living, widening income disparity, and endangerment for those students experiencing discrimination based on race, documentation status, and family income level, Bay Area students have never needed or deserved our investment more. Your gift will change lives today, and will contribute to shaping bright futures for tomorrow.
Will you give today? (If you’re still wondering, read below.)
1. Data analysis by our outside evaluator confirms that after a Performing Arts Workshop residency, students show statistically relevant gains in:
+ Independent thinking
+ Ability to reflect and evaluate
+ Engagement in the classroom
+ Clear communication of thoughts and feelings
2. Almost a third of schools in California have no music, dance, theatre, media arts or visual arts available whatsoever, which is a travesty.
3. Performing Arts Workshop prioritizes working with students with less access to arts education. Workshop residencies are placed in schools, afterschool centers, homeless shelters, and juvenile halls to serve the students who need and deserve it most.
Interested in learning more? Visit http://performingartsworkshop.org/.