October 6, 2008

October 6, 2008

Dear LoMA Family,

I am very excited about three new partnerships that LoMA established last week. Carnegie Hall will be working with Ms. Pierre and some of our global studies teachers to train them in music from other countries. Later in the year, our students will have the opportunity to attend concerts of music from Turkey and India at Carnegie Hall, the greatest and most famous music auditorium in the world. In another partnership, American Ballet Theatre, one of the world's premiere dance companies, will be working with the Oppenheimer mentoring group and our dance, art and theatre classes to plan, design, choreograph and stage a dance production in the spring that will be performed at the Metropolitan Opera House, the greatest and most famous opera house in America. They have already given us 100 tickets for the ballet for the Saturday October 25th matinee. See Ms. Gutman for tickets. Finally, Learning through Extended Arts Program (LEAP) will be working with the
upperclassman to write and perform original scripts with the chance of one of them being produced on Broadway.

These programs will add to our current partnerships with some fantastic arts organizations:

·        New York Theatre Workshop recently hosted our juniors for a performance two weeks ago, and then disfigured a few of them with some amazing make-up. They also host our juniors for workshops on theatre life.

·        Henry Street is rehearsing a production of Shakespeare's The Tempest with about two dozen of our students. Henry Street's arts department also worked with the art majors to create those wonderful photographs hanging outside of Ms. Aparicio's room.

·        Educational Alliance and the Door have several active arts groups as a part of their after school programming.

·        About 50 of our seniors are working 15 hours a week with various arts organizations learning the business side of what it takes to produce plays, dances, concerts and gallery shows.

·        Early Stages continues to get us tickets for Broadway Musicals. Our students have seen Hairspray, Spring Awakening and Rent in the last year. Let Ms. Garfield know if you're interested in seeing a show on a school night with short notice.

All of these organizations provide opportunities for our students to build something called cultural capital. Capital in this sense means something a person can use to turn a profit later in life. Knowing about culture - how to view and appreciate the arts - will help our students later in life when they go to college or work with professionals. Professors and employers notice when people have been to museums, seen the ballet or opera, and can recognize the names of famous artists and writers. Cultural knowledge is like a secret code that the elite use to separate themselves from other people. One could argue that it shouldn't make a difference whether or not people know the plays of Shakespeare, have been to the Metropolitan Museum of Art or know the difference between a symphony and an opera, but the reality is that if they don't know these things, they will feel more insecure in college or in certain professions, and knowing these things can open
doors of opportunity.

There are plenty of other ways that these partnerships are benefitting LoMA's students. I believe that a life enriched by the arts makes us more interested and interesting, stimulates our imaginations by opening up new ways of seeing the world and can be a whole lot more fun than playing video games or watching stale TV. That is why I am so excited about these opportunities for our student.

Work Hard,

John Wenk