Society for the Performing Arts Recognized for Partnership with HISD

Society for the Performing Arts Recognized for Partnership with HISD

Society for the Performing Arts (SPA), Houston's leading performing arts presenter, announced today that the organization was the recipient of a crystal award given by the Texas Association of Partners in Education (TAPE) in January. This award was given to SPA in recognition of its partnership with Houston Independent School District (HISD).

Each year, TAPE recognizes exemplary partners and partnership programs across the state. Award winners represent volunteers, community organizations, government agencies, institutions of higher education, businesses and school districts, whose commitment to education partnerships have made a positive impact on the youth in their community. Award winners are selected based upon criteria established by the TAPE Board of Directors, with emphasis on impact and measured change in student progress and outcomes.

SPA was nominated by HISD for programming that provides students with opportunities to appreciate and become aware of how the arts are fundamental to their overall enrichment and quality of life. "Without our partnership, my students would not be able to experience the professional performing arts on such a large scale," said Rachael Musquiz, dance director for Furr High School in HISD. "SPA provides students with limited economic resources a chance to dream big."

Programs facilitated by SPA within HISD schools, such as Furr High School, have included student performances prior to main stage events, dance and music master classes, teacher workshops, lectures and demonstrations. Additionally, SPA's Movement Toward Literacy program, which supports student creativity and critical interpretation of written text and spoken word, sponsored free after-school workshops focused on composing and sharing original poems and monologues from January through April 2013. Approximately 35 HISD students from Marshall Middle School, as well as Yates, Davis and Reagan High Schools, participated in after school residencies facilitated by Writers in the Schools with direction from SPA.

In August 2013, SPA offered a five-day residency, titled Revelations: An Interdisciplinary Approach, created by the Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation. The residency included writing projects, movement workshops and an examination of the historical context of choreographer Alvin Ailey's most famous work, Revelations. More than 60 HISD students from Johnston, Marshall, Revere, Lanier, Pershing and Black Middle Schools participated.

"Each season, our community partnerships are the heartbeat of our arts education programming," said Joe Angel Babb, SPA's director of education and community engagement. "HISD is incredibly supportive of our efforts to give students opportunities they may otherwise not have. We want the young people of today to gain an appreciation of the performing arts that will hopefully stay with them for a lifetime."

SPA's partnership with HISD continues in 2014 with music and dance master classes, its annual student visual art contest, Movement Toward Literacy activities and a residency with Jessica Lang Dance.

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