Arts For All will be holding our Annual Benefit Cabaret on Monday, April 13th at 42 West. This year’s show will be directed by Alexander Gemignani and will feature a collection of Broadway’s best performers including Kate Baldwin, Elizabeth Stanley, Aaron Lazar, Jessica Grové, Stan Bahorek, Alexander Gemignani and more. The show will also feature musicans Tedd Firth (Musical Director and piano) and Matt Aronoff (bass). We hope you can join us for this entertaining evening!
More details coming soon!
By Intern, Brennan O’Rourke
February 19, 2015
The excited voices of children ring out as they await their chance to perform onstage, making a lasting impression on my experiences with Arts For All. This past Wednesday, I had the privilege of assisting Lena Moy-Borgen with her first graders performance of the Paper Bag Princess in our Literacy Through the Arts program. The children worked to put on a fabulous production by creating their own sets and costumes while memorizing lines and performing in front of an audience of their peers.
The day began with a happy commotion, as the students were ready to perform what they had been practicing for weeks. The excitement in the air was palpable. The princesses got a chance to try on their paper bags, which caused a great deal of laughter as they slid the bags over their tiny bodies. The dragons put on their masks and assumed their characters. They had confidence and poise. The students took the stage one time for a final dress rehearsal before the performance to ensure that their show was engrained in their minds.
As I watched the dress rehearsal, I was impressed with their overall control and understanding of the piece that they were putting on. They stunned me with their excellence. After finishing the final dress rehearsal, it was time for the performance.
Backstage a group of girls became extremely giddy as the audience trickled into the auditorium. The cast grew anxious in anticipation of the performance.
What a mighty performance they put on! The princesses were stellar. They delivered their lines with strength and confidence, filling the entire theatre with sound. The dragons showed the audience a fierce intensity as they burned down the castle and acted their hearts out. We were impressed with how every student could be heard in the production. Not a single line passed that was too quiet — what an achievement!
The students benefited a great deal from this performance. Not only did they gain some self-confidence along the way, but they also learned verbal and reading skills as they memorized their lines for this performance. My experience with the LTA first graders was one that I will cherish forever.
February 3, 2015
By Intern, Brennan O’Rourke
As local and federal government standardized testing for schools becomes stricter, many schools have begun to devalue culturally enriching experiences that do not take place in the classroom. Schools have shifted most of their attention to improving standardized test scores. With this unnerving realization, EducationNext, an organization that chronicles the changing landscape of education and the theories behind certain educational objectives, began a study to understand the effects of field trips to art museums and live theatre performances. The study was conducted by researchers Jay P. Greene, Collin Hitt, Anne Kraybill, and Cari A. Bogulski.
The researchers began by describing that many field trips like museums visits introduce students to something they previously may not have even thought to enjoy. After conducting their experiment, they discovered many benefits to visiting art museums and viewing live theatre; including “future cultural consumption, tolerance, historical empathy, critical thinking, knowledge of plot and vocabulary, and improved ability to read the emotions of others.”
What I find most interesting is the children’s ability to read the emotions of others increased after participating in the cultural field trips. The researchers used a test called the Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test (RMET), which examines a student’s ability to understand what a person is thinking by simply looking into their eyes. This test, created by British psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen, is used to gage a specific individual’s capacity for empathy. They discovered that “engaging in theatrical role-playing enhances people’s ability to read the emotions of others, and that watching live theatre” has a similar effect. The way the RMET works is that 28 photographs are cropped to show only people’s eyes. Then, the students “are asked to pick one of four words that best describes what the photographed person is thinking or feeling.” This test helped the researchers prove that theatrical exposure enhances the student’s ability to read the emotion of others.
This study proves that theater enhances student’s emotional intelligence. When we engage in live theatre and watch the actors, we are interpreting their emotions and comprehending the experiences of the characters onstage. To me, it is no surprise that theatrical exposure helps students to better understand the emotions of others, because in an audience, we begin to learn and follow the emotions of the characters onstage. This makes it easier to transfer to everyday life and our interactions with others. Studies like this prove the importance of Arts For All programs such as the Audience Tour Project, in which professional actors tour around NYC schools performing live theatre productions to the benefit of the children.
After conducting the experiment, the researchers concluded that students exposed to live theatre more accurately identified the emotions of other people than those students that were not exposed. While this may not translate into test scores, we should be promoting empathy and compassion amongst our students, so that they are better equipped to contribute positively to society.
January 16, 2015
In December, thanks to a grant from the Linden Arts Fund for Children, we held a student art show at Ngam Restaurant in Manhattan. Paintings from a 5th Grade Arts For All Visual Arts Residency were displayed in the restaurant for several weeks. Arts For All took the students on a special field trip where they were each awarded certificates of artistic accomplishment, viewed their art show and enjoyed a delicious free Thai lunch at Ngam.
Here are some pictures of student artwork from the show.
December 23, 2014
Our friends at Coffee For Less have created four blends of Arts For All coffee, in memory of our late friend (Arts For All supporter and Coffee For Less employee) Zachary Ciperski. Coffee For Less is donating all the proceeds from the Arts For All coffee directly back to our arts programs for under-served children. Click here to purchase Arts For All coffee. This is a great way to support Arts For All this holiday season.
Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season and thank you for your support in 2014!