Students Take Center Stage At Arts Education Showcase

Students Take Center Stage At Arts Education Showcase

Young people are increasingly finding their voices and speaking out. And Scottsdale Arts encourages creative expression through the arts annually during the Arts Education Showcase, happening this year on Thursday, May 3, from 5:30-7:30 p.m., at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.

This 7th Annual Arts Education Showcase will feature a theme of "Common Ground" to demonstrate how the arts provide a platform - or common ground - for education and outreach programs to work closely with communities and connect with important local issues.

Natalie Marsh, director of Education & Outreach for Scottsdale Arts, said the "Common Ground" theme is important because so many issues can separate people.

"The arts provide an equalizing platform to share personal stories and learn new perspectives in order to build connections to each other," Marsh said. "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 & Outreach programs is a series of Cultural Connections Through the Arts residencies: Integrated, fine arts-focused learning experiences that support core class curriculum. 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 this 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."

One eighth-grader in the program noted that the Cultural Connections poetry residency opened the students' hearts. "I realized that saying and writing deep emotions frees you," she said.

Other Education & 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.

Many family members and friends of the student and senior artists attend the event alongside local educators and members of the Scottsdale City Council. The free event is also open to the public.


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. Since its founding in 1987, Scottsdale Arts has grown into a regionally and nationally significant, multi-disciplinary arts organization offering an exceptional variety of programs through three acclaimed divisions - Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) and Scottsdale Public Art - serving more than 400,000 participants annually.


Scottsdale Arts' Education & Outreach department builds a strong, vibrant community through the arts. The department's high-quality exhibitions, programs and events foster dialogue, promote tolerance, invoke wonder and build connections to each other. The programs serve more than 50,000 students and adults annually through matinee performances, guided museum tours, hands-on workshops, artist residencies and creative aging programs.


Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts is located at 7380 E. Second St. in downtown Scottsdale. Free parking is available in the public parking garage located 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 located on Drinkwater Boulevard at East Second Street.


The award-winning Store at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts supports the mission and diverse programs of the nonprofit Scottsdale Arts. The Store's unique selection of merchandise includes artist-made jewelry, stylish furnishings for home and office, unique creations by Arizona artists, fair-trade and upcycled/recycled global crafts, music, books, greeting cards and imaginative toys. Purchases are tax free, and members receive a 10 percent discount. Gift wrapping and shipping are also available. The Store is open seven days a week: Monday - Saturday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Sunday, noon - 5 p.m.; and throughout most evening events. Phone: 480-874-4644

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