Testimonial #48: Bryan Austermann, NYC Actor

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?

Bryann Madison County

Let [him] sing for you monsieur. [He’s] been well taught.” Tonight I got to perform for my 5th Grade teacher who I haven’t seen in about ten years. I’ve kept in touch with her from time to time and it was such a thrill to have her, I kid you not, BEAMING in the front row. It’s because of her that I saw my first Broadway show and realized what I wanted to do with my life. And tonight is proof enough that being in this gorgeously beautiful play is who I am and who I want to be. And Mrs. Arduini, I will always think of you fondly.
Bryann and Teacher

There’s No Place Like Art!

First Online With Fran’s First Podcast

There’s No Place Like Art…

FOLWF Podcast Art

The Arts are imperative — a life journey, a life experience that is like no other.  The Arts brings people together all in one space.  The plays I’ve written have touched lives — they’ve changed lives and that’s what Art does. ~Dan McCormick, Playwright

The arts are an essential part of a complete education, no matter if it happens in the home, school, or community. Students of all ages—from kindergarten to college to creative aging programs—benefit from artistic learning, innovative thinking, and creativity. Celebrating National Arts in Education Week is a way to recognize this impact and share the message with friends, family, and communities.

Towards that end First Online With Fran celebrates National Arts in Education Week by launching her first podcast featuring guest Dan McCormick, playwright of The Violin  at 59E59 Theater.

The podcast offers opportunities for you to join her in discussions on how ordinary people are doing extraordinary things in The Arts to make our world a richer, deeper, better place to live. In these divisive times, tune in and listen to how The Arts transforms people’s lives and remind us how vitally important a role The Arts play in tapping into our humanity.

Presidential Proclamation — National Arts and Humanities Month, 2016

This month, we acknowledge all those who have proudly and passionately dedicated their lives to these diverse, beautiful, and often challenging forms of expression. In our increasingly global economy, we recognize the power of the arts and humanities to connect people around the world. Be it through the pen of a poet, the voice of a singer, or the canvas of a painter, let us continue to harness the unparalleled ways the arts and humanities bring people together.

obama-arts

NATIONAL ARTS AND HUMANITIES MONTH, 2016

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

 

 

Throughout history, the arts and humanities have been at the forefront of progress. In diverse mediums and methods — whether through the themes of a novel, the movement of a dancer, or a monologue on a stage — the arts enrich our souls, inspire us to chase our dreams, and challenge us to see things through a different lens. During National Arts and Humanities Month, we celebrate the important role the arts and humanities have played in shaping the American narrative.

Our achievements as a society and a culture go hand-in-hand. The arts embody who we are as a people and have long helped drive the success of our country. They provoke thought and encourage our citizenry to reach new heights in creativity and innovation; they lift up our identities, connecting what is most profound within us to our collective human experiences.

In seeking to break down barriers and challenge our assumptions, we must continue promoting and prioritizing the arts and humanities, especially for our young people. In many ways, the arts and humanities reflect our national soul. They are central to who we are as Americans — as dreamers and storytellers, creators and visionaries. By investing in the arts, we can chart a course for the future in which the threads of our common humanity are bound together with creative empathy and openness. When we engage with the arts, we instill principles that, at their core, make us truer to ourselves.

This month, we acknowledge all those who have proudly and passionately dedicated their lives to these diverse, beautiful, and often challenging forms of expression. In our increasingly global economy, we recognize the power of the arts and humanities to connect people around the world. Be it through the pen of a poet, the voice of a singer, or the canvas of a painter, let us continue to harness the unparalleled ways the arts and humanities bring people together.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 2016 as National Arts and Humanities Month. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this month with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and programs to celebrate the arts and the humanities in America.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-first.

BARACK OBAMA

Testimonial #47: Katherine Elliot, Actor/Producer The Tempest Ladies

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?

Being artistic is just sort of in my blood, so I guess I was born with a broken mold. I was very lucky to have had some excellent and encouraging teachers when I was in school. I think the first one was the French teacher that I had from 6th to 8th grade who everyone called, Madame. She was fantastic. Every class was like watching a performance, and she could make us laugh while she was speaking a language that we didn’t know yet. Needless to say, her humor made me, and I’m sure most of the rest of the class, really want to understand what was going on. It made me want to learn French. Every day before class, we got to pick out what we wanted to wear. There were boas, berets, sparkly dresses, old suit jackets, flowers…all sorts of things. We were called by the French names we chose, and it was a blast. She knew that I liked art, and she was always encouraging me to utilize it.

A couple of years ago, I was taking an intensive at The Second City in Chicago, and I couldn’t believe it when I walked in and saw her sitting in my class. I also couldn’t believe that she actually remembered me after all of these years. It was a fun reunion, and we ended up carpooling to every class. She doesn’t teach anymore, but it made me really happy to know that she is still putting on performances.

Another standout for me is a professor that I had in graduate school (for English Literature; it wasn’t an art program) who came into my life at a time when I was on the verge of making some very big decisions. Allowing me to incorporate my artistic interests into the class may have tipped the scale that sent me rolling off to New York. There were many reasons that I chose to pursue the arts instead of getting a “real” job, but this professor really made it hit home how important the arts always have been throughout history, and still are to this day.

He would show us paintings that were painted at the same time that the books we were reading were written, which is typical to do from time to time in most literature classes, but this professor made it a focus. We would analyze paintings in the same way that we analyzed writing. We would find ways in which the author was likely influenced by the painting, which really made the connection between the arts, literature and society hit home for me. Everything is interconnected, and to this day, this is still a pattern, if not more because of the internet and our ability to easily mass communicate. He also allowed me to make a pair of Viking boots instead of writing a paper because he recognized that I would learn well that way, and it is because of that class that I am able to make my own moccasins. It’s also responsible for my knowledge of the trials and tribulations of Viking footwear during battle 🙂

All in all, I was champing at the bit to pursue the arts as a career, and these teachers assisted in making me feel confident that the arts are not only important, but crucial. Art is a form of communication, and I believe that it’s as necessary a school subject as learning to write. I am very thankful.

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

A Midsummer Night's Dream

I am a Producer/Actor for an all-female Shakespearean theatre company called The Tempest Ladies, and part of our mission is traveling overseas (primarily Istanbul, as of now) to schools in order to make Shakespeare more accessible in a fun and creative way. It gives children the opportunity to learn about Shakespeare and his plays through movement, character/relationship building and performance as opposed to sitting in a classroom only analyzing the text. We are based out of and perform in New York City, and we are currently talking about bringing our productions and workshops to underprivileged schools in the area as well as other cities abroad.

April 22-26, 2015

American Theatre of Actors, Chernuchin Theatre (View)
314 W. 54th Street
New York, NY 10035

http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1382019

Testimonial #30: Lorenzo Dawson, Hope for Miami

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?

The University of Vermont had an experimental program using acting and play production (as intro college English) as a way to connect with students so that they could write and create out of affirmation. My teacher in this course “saw” me. She cut me loose to create characters and act them out. It was my first fledgling step out of mental illness.

Today, I coach students in artistic expression, setting them free to see who they are, and believe that they can learn and do anything.

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

I grew up with zero use of the arts to call me forth. At home as a 5-year old, I was singing and playing instruments for family gatherings. Instinctively, I knew that, if an adult gave me a creative pathway, I could learn and do anything. Instead, because no one “saw” me, I went on a downward spiral into mental illness.

Nearly 20 years later, I began to give myself permission to be who I was without restrictions, free from the one-size-fits-all academic rigors I had been raised in. I began to envision young people being called forth by those who committed themselves to “see” students outside of the box of academic performance standards.

For the past few years, I have been giving to young people what I didn’t get. I “see” them. I use ballroom dancing, music, and writing to open pathways for students to see themselves, their value, and their place as a vital part of their generation. Now I watch them instinctively know that they can learn and do anything, right now, as a young person. Though using creative arts to call students forth in this way has a long way to go in our schools, I’m thrilled to be a part of this day of small beginnings.