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For the 19th year, Juilliard is giving some of its dance, drama, and music students special grants that support part of innovative summer educational arts residencies beginning this month in Arusha, Tanzania; Gaborone, Botswana; Kissimmee, Florida; and Detroit, Michigan. These residencies are part of Juilliard's extensive outreach program and have been funded by the School since 1991. Each spring semester, a call for proposals urges students to plan the artistic and administrative elements of unique projects, which in the past have taken Juilliard's young artists around the world - to Brazil, Haiti, Indonesia, Kenya, Korea, Nigeria, Nova Scotia, Peru, The Philippines, Scotland, South Africa, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. These summer residencies deepen the students' understanding of their role and impact as artists, and the projects benefit others, often in underserved areas of the United States and the world. Thanks for the development of mobile technology, these residencies are well-documented by the participants who share their reports with the Juilliard community during the School's convocation ceremony in September. Many of the projects can be viewed in individual YouTube postings.
Four projects were selected to receive funding in the summer of 2010:
The Arusha Arts Initiative, which began last summer, brings a new group of Juilliard actors, dancers, and musicians to the Umoja Youth Empowerment Center in Arusha, Tanzania in Africa from May 20 - June 3 to share their arts with local students. The 40 students attending the Umoja school in Arusha are between the ages of 14 and 26 years old, and do not attend the public school system due to poverty-related conditions. The center provides vocational training and educational tuition to young people most in need. Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in the world and in the heart of the HIV/AIDS crisis. Juilliard dancers Rachelle Scott and Jenna Pollack; actors Danielle Brooks and Ryan O'Byrne (a returning student to Arusha); violist Hannah Ross and singer Chelsea Feltman will work with the students through the creation of a performance with comedy, singing, dancing, and story-telling. The main language of the area is Swahili, so Juilliard students will work with a translator. The goal is to use the creative and collaborative skills utilized in the arts in order to guide the students in their personal development and to promote Umoja's goal of empowering students to create change in their communities.
Seven Juilliard students have initiated a community service project and arts education program in Botswana, Africa, called Project MAP (Maru-A-Pula) which will take place May 27 - June 20. While in Botswana, Juilliard students will work with children at the Maru-A-Pula (Setswanan for Promises of Blessings) School, SOS Children's Village, and the Mmanoko Community Children's Orphanage. Maru-A-Pula is an independent day and boarding secondary school in Gaborone, the capitol of Botswana. The SOS Children's Village in Tlokweng provides care for children who have been orphaned or impacted by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The team will teach dance and drama to children from all three organizations. The project culminates in a full-length performance, combining the talents of the Project MAP team and the children from the Maru-A-Pula School, SOS Children's Village, and Mmanoko Community Children's Orphanage. The team's mission is to demonstrate that there is an opportunity for life, progress and success through creativity. Juilliard dancer LeBaron McClary heads up the team, which includes Juilliard dancers Jehbreal Muhammad Jackson, Julia Headley, Hassan Ingraham; and Juilliard actors Kerry Warren, Carolyn Smith, and Sekou Laidlow. Candace Feldman, a current Juilliard Concert Office employee, is originally from the area and serves as their advisor. She knew of the Maru-A-Pula School. LeBaron McClary, who has participated in other Juilliard outreach projects in The Philippines and in New Orleans, met with a representative from the Maru-A-Pula School in the fall in NYC and offered to bring Juilliard students to Africa to introduce the arts project to the community. They gradually worked out the details, and Project MAP was realized.
A team of ten Juilliard students will travel to Kissimmee, Florida from July 3 - 19 to organize a drama intensive - the Kissimmee Drama Intensive - in an area that is culturally diverse and economically blighted and has limited access to the arts. Even though the area is located near Orlando and Disney, it has never reaped the benefits of the economic and artistic wealth that borders it. During the two-week residency at Horizon Middle School, students will receive a comprehensive introduction to singing, improvisation/theater games, movement, poetry, dance, and acting. Classes will take place in morning and afternoon with a ‘creativity slot'. The drama intensive will conclude with a final performance. The group has cultivated a relationship with various arts organizations in central Florida and will work with the Osceola County School Board to provide free transportation to all students in the county. Juilliard actor Evan Todd will lead his fellow colleagues - Danielle Brooks, Richard Dent, Kacey Hauk, Daniel Hernandez, Mark Junek, Claire Karpen, Ryan Redmond, Katharine Robinson, and Auden Thornton - in the project.
Juilliard dancer Breanna O'Mara is director of Detroit Arts Immersion (July 17 - 24) and will bring along a group of five Juilliard students dedicated to the mission of bringing arts education and performances to the City of Detroit in communities that are most in need. Detroit, once a center for music and the arts, is now struggling economically, culturally, and emotionally. As a native of Detroit, Ms. O'Mara founded the project in the summer of 2009 in response to the devastating economic effects waging war on the city and most importantly, on its children. The project is committed to developing a constructive arts immersion program for abuse neglect, long-term foster and paroled youth, through the Holy Cross Children's Services and the Michigan Department of Human Services. The group will organize free public performances that include over four venues with large and diverse audience bases. Venues will include the Detroit Institute of Art, and the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit. The group also hopes to partner with well-established organizations and local artists, such as the Heidelberg Project, to maximize long-term effectiveness. Ms. O'Mara's team includes Juilliard actors Brittanie Brown, Grant Coleman, Mark Junek, Nate Miller, and Juilliard musician Allison Job.
The Juilliard School also supports numerous programs that bring the performing arts to underserved groups much closer to home. During each school year, Juilliard's administrative Educational Outreach programs benefit audiences throughout the five boroughs of New York City. These programs provide instructional opportunities in dance, drama, and music, epitomizing Juilliard's commitment to sharing the arts with the community. By engaging in classroom teaching and interactive performances, Juilliard students gain the foundations necessary for them to embark on successful careers and productive lives as artists, leaders, and citizens. For more information on Juilliard's Educational Outreach Programs, go to http://www.juilliard.edu/outreach/outreach.html.