Winter Wonderings in Arts Education

Posted by Ms. Danel Malan, Dec 12, 2018 0 comments

As we move into the winter quarter, those of us who lead arts education in schools on behalf of an arts center are busy juggling holiday events, year-end appeals for our non-profits, writing grants, writing curricula, and sometimes making time to be parents too.

There is never really a slow time in theatre, except in the past when it used to snow in Oregon, and all the schools would shut down over an inch of snow. Now thanks to global warming, we can pretty much work year-round! As arts educators, it’s also a good time to reflect on our culturally specific programming, i.e. African-American History month in February and Women’s History month in March.

Judge Xiomara Torres.With the #MeToo movement so much in everyone’s minds, at Milagro we are super excited to be opening a play about a “Me Too/Dreamer” this coming January. Judge Xiomara Torres, a Salvadorian immigrant who grew up in foster care and went on to become the second Latina judge in Portland, Oregon, has agreed to have a play made about her life, and is also consulting on the project. To create an authentic story, Milagro commissioned Salvadorian playwright Milta Ortiz, Education Director at Borderlands Theatre in Tucson. This project is truly representative of what we hope to share as educators: “Think globally, act locally.” After the play opens at Milagro in January, it will tour nationally for a year, with performances scheduled for Brandeis in Waltham, MA and Trinity College in Hartford, CT in March.

As arts educators, we should always try to dream big. We don’t need a Broadway budget to create good educational theatre. What we need are dedicated arts educators who are passionate about the message of the production and how it can be a transformative experience for young people. So many students often tell us that this may be the first play they have ever seen and how powerful the storytelling experience was for them.

Rain, sleet, or snow, like the post office, we always deliver an authentic theatre experience; no matter where we go or how we get there, the rewards are always worth the effort.

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