On Sunday, December 14, 2014, during the scheduled Sunday matinee, eleven young African-American men prepared to watch a performance of Snow Queen at Triad Stage. The “Exposure to Performing Arts” event featured a partnership between The ARTS facet of The Links Incorporated-Greensboro Chapter, the United Way of Greater Greensboro African American Initiative, and Triad Stage. The goal of the outing was to “create greater opportunities for exposure to and experience to” the life-altering magic of theater. During the backstage tour, the young African-American male participants were able to travel “behind-the-scenes” to discover firsthand how variant disciplines in the theater openly communicate and actively collaborate. Throughout their journey, the young men were attentive, engaged, inquisitive, gracious, and articulate.
At the conclusion of the theater excursion Mr. Rashard Jones, the African-American Male Initiative Project Director, reflected “The greatest contributor to academic achievement is access to background knowledge cultivated by exposure to academic experiences. Field trips like the one offered to our boys by Triad Stage and The Links Incorporated-Greensboro Chapter assist our program in making learning relevant. The average low wealth child stays within an 8 mile radius of their home until they are thirteen years old. Oftentimes, its not cognitive ability that hinders our kids, but exposure to enriching activities.” On the importance of diversity in teaching and learning, Jones concluded, “Education is oftentimes presented in a cookie-cutter mold, but individuals such as Spike Lee and Tyler Perry are teaching us that many of our boys innately are wired to succeed on roads less traveled such as in theater and the arts.”
In introducing Greensboro’s youth to variant artistic opportunities, the “Exposure to Performing Arts” event successfully piqued the innovative curiosity of the participating youth. Likewise, the collective energy and insightful commentary Triad Stage and the ARTS Facet of The Links Incorporated-Greensboro chapter received from the African-American Male Initiative participants were invigorating.
Want to learn more? Look at the video(s) below to get a behind-the-scenes sneak peek of their experiences.
– posting and photo credits by T. N. Izlar, Artistic Associate at Triad Stage