“It’s pretty,” said Gloria Unti, the founder of Performing Arts Workshop. She and I were watching a modern dance performance. “But it doesn’t mean anything.” In the 60s and 70s, Gloria choreographed pieces critiquing the Vietnam War and segregation. To Gloria, art can’t just be pretty and teaching can’t just be about art. It has to mean something. It has to change the world for the better.
It’s rare to witness the world change right in front of you, but at Performing Arts Workshop, we see transformation every day—one student at a time.
We see it in the student who doesn’t speak at school, but starts to speak—even in a whisper—in theater class. We see it in the special needs student who asks to be mainstreamed because he can dance as well as the general education students. And we see it in the young poet who leaves her class and teacher breathless after reading a searing poem about an absent father.
Our goal is to make these moments multiply. Our plan is to partner with schools and community organizations to make learning meaningful. Our vision is that 10 years from now, Performing Arts Workshop will be an educational partner that puts art and creativity at the center of public education.