GRoW @ The Wallis Will Offer Young Arts Journalists Professional Mentorships

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GRoW @ The Wallis Will Offer Young Arts Journalists Professional Mentorships

Stage Raw and the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts' GRoW @ The Wallis: A Space for Arts Education are joining forces in a program to offer young journalists professional mentorships. This initiative expands upon The Wallis' previous Student Arts Reporters program which has been offered for the past four seasons through GRoW @ The Wallis.

The Z. Clark Branson/Stage Raw/GRoW @ The Wallis Young Journalists Initiative is a program administered by digital journal Stage Raw (stageraw.com) and underwritten by philanthropist Z. Clark Branson. The Initiative engages professional journalists on the Stage Raw and The Wallis' education staff to mentor young journalists through the process of covering local arts events, in adherence to traditional journalistic ethics, rigor, studiousness, and cogent analysis. After collaborative work between the mentor and mentee on a given assignment, the mentee's articles and reviews are posted on Stage Raw. Both mentors and mentees are paid for this work.

Launched in January 2019, Stage Raw's first session ran through June 2019, with four student mentees: Ezra Bitterman, Julyza Commodore, David Cruz-Chevez, and Audrey Schlief. The new iteration of the program resumes with a six-month session starting in October 2019, with four new mentees, Estela Avalos, Marlena Becker, Jannelys Santiago and Socks Whitmore. All four of the inaugural mentees are returning. The student participants are in high school or college. Branson continues to support the second session, in conjunction with GRoW @ The Wallis, the umbrella for education and outreach programs at The Wallis.

The inaugural session focused on theater reviews. The upcoming session will expand to include feature articles and artist interviews, as well as an opportunity to attend shows in music and dance. In addition to providing matching funding for the program, The Wallis is also offering its space for writing workshops, as well as access to the diverse mix of artists scheduled to perform on its stages.

"GRoW @ The Wallis has been offering teens an opportunity to experience the role of an arts journalist since our 2015/2016 Season, and interest in this program has expanded," said Debra Pasquerette, GRoW @ The Wallis' Manager of Community Engagement. The Wallis' Director of Education, Mark Slavikin, added "This collaboration takes our efforts to a whole new level thanks to the partnership with Stage Raw. These aspiring young adults will receive individualized guidance and personalized attention by a local working journalist which is an invaluable learning experience."

Adds Stage Raw Founding Editor Steven Leigh Morris, "The Initiative's larger aim is to nurture credible arts coverage from young journalists, in order that they can influence and invite their generation into our arts institutions. We're deeply appreciative of Z. Clark Branson for making this program possible and for his ongoing financial support of it, and we welcome The Wallis with gratitude for joining us on this journey."

Testimony from the inaugural mentees: "Thank you so much for allowing me to be an Art's Reporter for the past three years. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching the many performances at The Wallis, and reviewing them. I will cherish the skills working as a reporter has taught me and use it in my future career in college. I'm glad to be a part of The Wallis family." Frederick Minser (age 18)

"My experience with Stage Raw has been incredible. Getting paid to see wonderful theater and publish my own thoughts? Phenomenal. This program gives teens a great opportunity to share their impressions of theater. Stage Raw has taught me so much about arts journalism, attention to detail, and even time management. I'm so grateful to be a part of this program." - Audrey Schlief (age 15)

"Such a useful tool that exposes young up-and-coming writers to a world of journalism and writing that is something that we can truly use in various ways to our advantage as a career path." - David Cruz-Chevez (age 16)

"The Stage Raw journalist program allowed me to immerse myself into plays that I had never been exposed to before. Because of this, I was able to discover more art and really get the chance to dissect a show and to see how it all comes together as a whole. . . I think that it is crucial to experience all kinds of new things and Stage Raw was able to provide me with that, while pushing me to become a better writer and artist." -- Julyza Commodore (age 19)

"Stage Raw is trying to build a youth theater culture with this program. Which I find to be vitally important to our industry; without a new generation of theatergoers, the theaters will struggle. An investment in youth is an investment in the future. I for one was not considering a career in theater, however, after reviewing plays and the ins and outs of stage direction, I've developed a real passion for our industry." - Ezra Bitterman (age 16)

For more information about The Wallis, please visit: TheWallis.org.



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