Rare is the performing arts venue that chooses to develop and produce its own educational outreach program—such is an undertaking typically left to performance groups.
is an exception to the rule. The venue established the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre Foundation for the purpose of community outreach and arts education.
ArtsBridge, the Centre’s Foundation arts education initiative, is rolling out its fifth season of wowing young audiences and educators with dazzling productions, field trips, workshops, master classes, artists-in-schools and the Shuler Hensley Awards - The Georgia High School Musical Theater Awards.
Last spring, 2011 Lovett School graduate Jamie Harwood of Vinings received the best actress award at the Shuler Hensley Awards.
As the signature program of the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre Foundation, ArtsBridge has continually expanded its collaborative partnerships with Greater Atlanta, national, and international arts organizations and, consequently, its offerings to the schools served by the program.
“The remarkable success of ArtsBridge is a powerful product of the artistic and program support we receive from our collaborative partners, the positive reputation ArtsBridge has with regional participating schools, and the generosity of our invaluable patrons,” said Courtney Reed, Cobb Energy Centre Director of Education and Communication.
“This broad-based community support has allowed us to consistently expand and grow the strength and diversity of our program, promising to make this fifth season the strongest yet for ArtsBridge.”
Since its inception, ArtsBridge has connected with more than 26 public school districts as well as private and home school groups; engaging some 160,000 students, whose anticipation and delight is felt from the moment packed school buses roll up to Cobb Energy Centre.
“We are especially pleased to report that not a single student or school has been turned away from a performance because of inability to pay,” said Reed.
Participating arts organizations include Atlanta Ballet, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Gas South Broadway Series, Georgia Shakespeare, Kennedy Center for Young Audiences on Tour, Kennesaw State University College of the Arts, The Atlanta Opera and The Georgia Ballet.
For its 2011-2012 season, ArtsBridge offers more than a dozen productions from September 2011 through summer 2012, designed specifically to expose school-age audiences to the performing arts. The season lineup includes:
January 11, 2012, 10:00 a.m.— Kennedy Center Theater for Young Audiences on Tour
The power of poetry takes center stage in this play that is an adaptation of award-winning novelist Jacqueline Woodson’s book about a troubled young boy, Locomotion, who adopts the art form to express his feelings.
January 13, 11 a.m. - Global Stages - Quincy Jones Presents: The Alfredo Rodriguez Trio
Sponsored by The Nissan Foundation
Amazing young pianist, Cuban jazz sensation, Alfredo Rodriguez is fond of saying that music has been his life since he was very young. His uncanny virtuosity-was enough to pique the interest of Quincy Jones-and his all-hands-on-deck enthusiasm at the keyboard indicate that music will be his fiber for as long as his fingers can find their way to the ivory. All in all, his performance are breathtaking-and a study in contrasts.
January 20, 2012, 11:00 a.m. —Gas South Broadway Series Presents Blast!
Blast! is a novel art form evolved from the showmanship of outdoor pageantry on athletic fields across the nation. A collection of 35 brass, percussion and visual performers creates a unique explosion of music and theater. Blast! won a 2011 Tony Award and a 2001 Emmy Award.
February 2, 2012, 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. - A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Georgia Shakespeare’s 2012 Will Power Ensemble brings the Bard’s classic comedy of mistaken love and comic shenanigans a little closer to home with Athens, Georgia as the setting and the music of REM and the B-52’s helping tell the story.
February 16, 2012, 11:00 a.m. & February 17, 10:00 a.m.—Atlanta Ballet Kids In Step - Snow White
The magic unfolds in a one-hour performance of the classic fairytale featuring the full complement of familiar characters—Prince Charming, the wicked Queen, and of course, Snow White.
March 28, 2012, 11:00 a.m.—Kennesaw State University College of the Arts - Synergy
Best suited for middle school and high school students, Synergy fuses dance, music, theater and visual arts in a creative, high-energy production of technical virtuosity that provides a cross-disciplinary understanding of the arts. Synergy features a collaboration of the KSU Dance Company, Orchestra, Storytellers, Musical Theatre Ensemble and Visual Artists.
April 17, 2012, 7:30 p.m.—ArtsBridge Presents - Shuler Hensley Awards - The Georgia High School Musical Theater Awards Celebrating Excellence in High School Musical Theater
Fashioned after Broadway’s Tony Awards, the Shuler Hensley Awards celebrate Georgia’s high school musical theater programs with a glorious, high profile awards ceremony that features everything from a glamorous red carpet to dazzling production numbers from high school musicals.
May 9, 2012, 11:00 a.m.—The Georgia Ballet - Dance Through the Ages
A visual history of the stunning and athletic art of ballet from its origins in the courts of France and Italy, through the Romantic and Classical periods that defined the well-known story ballets such as Giselle, Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, and on to the contemporary ballets of today that fuse traditional vocabulary with thoroughly modern movement and music.
Schools that wish to purchase tickets to ArtsBridge performances may visit www.cobbenergycentre.com/education or see here. - Cobb Energy Centre contributed to this story.