Introducing Children to the Arts

~posted by Renee Beale, KMFA announcer

We were out last night to see the performance of Fame at TexARTS, a theatre academy here in Austin, whose mission is to bring theatre, music, dance, and visual arts training to Austin’s youth. As an acting coach myself, I am always pleased to see showcases of new talent cropping up, but what struck me the most was how important it is. In today’s distracting (and dare I say insular) world of emailing, iPods, texting, facebook, twitter, television, video games and more, the list at times seems endless and overwhelming; I was not only watching a performance of Fame, I was watching young people interacting with each other physically, live and in person, making contact and making a connection; a healthy dose of synergistic energies between audience and performer. What a concept! I was also watching young people tap into their creativity using the fourth wall; that imaginary place where the audience resides that actors bring to life on stage. The youth on that stage, aged 14 through 17, are the future of the cultural arts. And even though some of them might never grace the stage of the Long Center, or Broadway or even off-Broadway, they will go on to grace the audience seats in myriad cultural venues here and throughout cities across the United States.

As I write, Darci Kistler is making her final performance on the stage of the New York City Ballet. She is the last student of George Balanchine and her retirement marks the end of an era. As a former New Yorker, I am very grateful for all the wonderful artistic mediums offered here in Austin, but opera, ballet, theatre, and symphonies across the country are struggling to find new audiences and in a down economy, new challenges lie ahead. As I sat there and watched the play last night, I couldn’t help but think those challenges were being met.

“Keep it alive. Introduce a child to the arts.”

~ posted by Renee Beale, KMFA announcer

Renee with Matt, who starred as Jack in "Fame"

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