Showcase provides ‘common ground’ for arts, education, community 

Student musicians perform during the 2017 Arts Education Showcase at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. (Submitted photo)

The Arts Education Showcase will take place 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 3, at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 E. Second St. 

The seventh annual event will feature the theme “Common Ground” to demonstrate how the arts provide “a platform for education and outreach programs to work closely with communities and connect with important local issues,” according to a release. 

“The arts provide an equalizing platform to share personal stories and learn new perspectives in order to build connections to each other,” stated Natalie Marsh, director of education and outreach for Scottsdale Arts. “They show how differences are what make our community vibrant, not divided. The breadth of ages, from preschool to seniors, in this year’s showcase truly shows how the arts are crucial to bringing us together.” 

The event will celebrate the creative accomplishments of participants in Scottsdale Arts’ various education and outreach programs in conjunction with 25 different schools across the Valley, as well as two area senior centers. More than 500 students will participate in the festival-style showcase, which features pop-up performances and art exhibitions in the center’s Dayton Fowler Grafman Atrium. 

The entertainment will include visual art exhibitions, as well as dance, choir, spoken word and orchestra performances. There also will be artist demonstrations, hands-on activities and refreshments. 

Among Scottsdale Arts’ Education and Outreach programs is a series of Cultural Connections Through the Arts residencies: Integrated, fine arts-focused learning experiences that support core class curriculum, the release stated.  

Featuring professional artists at both the regional and national levels, the residencies seek to empower students to develop self-confidence and empathy in an academic setting. Students who participated in the program are among those who will be demonstrating their artistic achievements at the showcase. 

“The responses to our empathy-focused residencies have been overwhelming,” said Christine Harthun, arts education coordinator for Scottsdale Arts. “I have observed both teachers and students so moved by the positive atmospheric changes in their classrooms that they have made efforts to spread it throughout their schools and communities.” 

Other Education and Outreach programs take introductory arts programs to preschools or bring students of all ages to the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. Meanwhile, the department’s Creative Aging programs deliver art-based classes and workshops to local senior centers. The work of these older artists also will be on display at the showcase. 

Through its partnership with the city of Scottsdale, the nonprofit Scottsdale Arts (formerly known as Scottsdale Cultural Council) creates diverse, inspired arts experiences and educational opportunities that foster active, lifelong community engagement with the arts, the release stated. 

Parking for the May 3 event is free in the public parking garage to the west of Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts on Wells Fargo Avenue. Additional free parking is available at the Old Town Parking Corral at East Second Street and Brown Avenue and at the Civic Center Library parking garage on Drinkwater Boulevard at East Second Street. 

For more information, www.ScottsdalePerformingArts.org.

The Scottsdale Independent is published monthly and mailed to 75,000 homes and businesses in Scottsdale.

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