Testimonial #29: Paula Jacobs, Arts Education Program Director, Newark Arts Council

How are the arts re-igniting your community and sparking innovation and creativity in your local schools?

In Newark, NJ arts education stakeholders have aligned to create a structure for membership and leadership in order to make a more significant and lasting impact with a collective voice and a coordinated effort. We invite you to visit the Arts Education section of the Newark Arts Council’s website: http://www.newarkarts.org to learn more about how you can get involved.
Anyone with an interest in ensuring equitable, high quality arts education for Newark youth is welcome! Newark needs more partnerships like the one between the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and University Heights Charter School in Newark . . . here’s the link to this great article by Peggy McGlone of the NJ Star Ledger: http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2013/04/nj_symphony_newark_students_vi.html

How has your life been indelibly touched by a teacher who utilized the arts for whatever reason and acknowledge how they were instrumental in breaking the mold to allow you to become who you are today?

As a first grader in elementary school in Los Angeles during the 1970’s, one of my classmates was Kim Fields from Facts of Life and Living Single fame. Her mother, Chip moved with Kim from New York to further Kim’s career as a young performer and also was hired as a drama teacher at our school. Her original plays and the opportunities that came with them enabled many children without access to arts education the opportunity to collaborate, sing, dance and extend those opportunities into the professional world as well. At the very least, it played a crucial role in building self-esteem, teamwork and a strong work ethic. Chip’s gift at making every child feel special and her passion for the arts was unique and contagious. I was inspired to direct my own energies toward the field of educational theater and have worked as a theater educator, program director and arts administrator in a variety of educational settings, with memories of Chip and my early experiences guiding the way as I collaborate with others to continue the fight.

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