Point of View

Adrienne Arsht Center Concludes a Successful Education and Outreach Season
September 15, 2009, 9:39 pm
Filed under: Education, Out in the Community

Each season, the Adrienne Arsht Center is dedicated to offering exceptional Education and Outreach programs for people of all ages, featuring live theatrical experiences and active learning in the performing arts. These opportunities for exploration and self expression in the performing arts are designed to foster creative thinking skills, boost self esteem, and expand the horizons of the participants while introducing different aspects of music, dance, and theater. Through inclusive culturally diverse programming, the Center is able to serve a wide range of constituents and provide opportunities for audience development.

Programs for STUDENTS and TEACHERS
In an effort to be a resource for and expand the reach of the performing arts, Arsht Center has capitalized on the relationship with the Miami-Dade County Public School (MDCPS) system to provide teacher trainings for classroom and arts teachers and quality arts experiences for students throughout the county. Programming for schools includes Jazz Roots: Behind the Scenes, a multi-layered approach that provides music and classroom teachers the resources they need to engage and involve their students, while students get the live theater experience, exposure to world class jazz, and inspirational access to internationally acclaimed artists. Thanks to a Youth Arts Enrichment Program grant from the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the generous support of various private donors, all activities and concert attendance was provided at no cost to the schools and served over 770 students and 72 teachers during the 2008-2009 season.

Ailey Camp 220

During the summer, a newly forged partnership with Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation produced AileyCamp Miami, a four-week summer day camp serving at-risk children ages 11-14 from Miami-Dade County public middle schools. The program included dance training, creative writing instruction, personal development and communication workshops, as well as recreational field trips. AileyCamp Miami concluded with an original performance created for and presented by all 79 campers in the Knight Concert Hall.

The Beyond Boundaries School Program offers in-school programs and residencies designed to give new insights into the creative process and the performing arts during school hours at MDCPS elementary, middle and high schools. The 08-09 season was no exception, featuring school performances and workshops presented by Dan Zanes (traditional American and Latin American music), Fushu Daiko (kodo drumming), April Yvette Thomas (theater workshops), and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (modern dance).


Teacher Training Program focuses on educating teachers to increase the artistic literacy of young people. The Center worked in conjunction with MDCPS to provide over 630 teacher opportunities for training in and about the arts to invigorate the teaching process and expand the tools and skills of classroom and arts teachers.

In partnership with VSA arts and MDCPS, the Arsht Center presents Accessing the Arts – VSA arts of Florida Partnership, a nationally recognized inclusive program designed to integrate the creative arts into educational and community programs for MDCPS students with disabilities. Consisting of nine one-hour sessions with a performing artist, the program culminated in a final performance at the Center’s Carnival Studio Theater staffed by a full production and technical crew. Professional development workshops were offered to participating teachers and the performances were followed by debriefing session to discuss best practices for working with special needs populations.

The Ticket Access Program (TAP) provides underserved patrons the opportunity to attend performances at the Center through ticket subsidies. Through Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs’ Culture Shock program, students ages 13-22 accessed performances for $5 per ticket in addition to tickets provided to over 40 different educational and social services organizations.

A study of the benefits of arts participation commissioned by The Wallace Foundation highlights the potential of early participation in the arts for young people. The report argues that “early exposure is often key to developing life-long involvement in the arts.” The Arsht Center recognizes this important educational building block for families and welcomes people from all walks of life to join us for programming that brings communities together in a family friendly place.

Family Fest, the award-winning free series that makes the performing arts accessible to all South Florida families, is comprised of free outdoor arts-related activities and performances in the Plaza followed by free professional music, theater, or dance performances inside the Ziff Ballet Opera House or Knight Concert Hall. The 08-09 season’s featured performances included Miami City Ballet’s Carnival of the Animals and The Cleveland Orchestra’s Peter and the Wolf. The outdoor activities included performances, hands-on demonstrations, and workshops that provided active and engaging opportunities for parents and their children. This unique program was awarded South Florida Parenting’s 2009 Kids Crown Award for the best way to introduce kids to the performing arts.

Other Free Events that catered to families from around the county included a community Sing-A-Longs presented in partnership with Miami Children’s Chorus, Gospel Sundays concerts featuring local choirs, and tours of the Adrienne Arsht Center campus.

Education programs for adults provide access to the artistic process and insights into the innovations and aesthetics of music, dance, and theater in a support environment that encourages further exploration of the arts. Active learning opportunities include workshops, classes, lectures, Q&A’s, interviews, and demonstrations related to the performances and presentations featured in the Center’s halls. This season’s programming included flamenco dance classes, a symposium focused on arts and aging, a lecture contextualizing the Center’s presentation of Liberty City, a technical workshops for sound engineers, and workshops facilitating accessible programming for special needs adults.

Through education and outreach programs for students, teachers, and adults, the Center is able to serve the community and provide opportunities for audience development. The Center’s commitment to making the performing arts accessible to all in South Florida is enhanced by its relationships with Miami-Dade County Public Schools, local performing and teaching artists, arts organizations, and resident companies.


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