IT STARTS WITH ART: BUILDING THE FOUNDATION OF ARTS EDUCATION AT PENSACOLA LITTLE THEATRE
Grant Year: 2022 | Focus Area: Arts & Culture and History | Grant Amount: $103,820 | Grant Status: In Progress
Pensacola Little Theatre (PLT) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to enrich, educate, and entertain the community by providing a diverse theatrical experience through volunteer-driven performances and educational outreach. PLT is dedicated to the maintenance and preservation of its historically significant structure, Pensacola Cultural Center, which also houses other cultural and community events. PLT has captured the hearts of children and families in the Pensacola Bay Area since 1936. As the hub of Pensacola's artistic community, PLT takes pride in serving as the longest ‘continually-operating’ community theatre in the southeastern United States. The organization has a commitment to offering quality, inclusive, and enriching content to grow and progress the artistic climate of Pensacola in a way that represents all of Pensacola and its people. PLT's arts education classes are offered throughout the year within The Center and serve all ages. In November of 2021, PLT launched a $3M capital campaign to reimagine the Cultural Center to include an overhaul of the interior spaces and the addition of an outdoor rooftop performance space and gathering area.
OVERVIEW OF THE PROPOSED PROJECT
Pensacola Little Theatre's projectreimagines the classroom space and how it is best utilized to grow its outreach and impact. The Rehearsal Hall, home to the education department, trains students in everything from Broadway Babies to Acting for Adults through studying diverse artforms like improv, scriptwriting, musical theatre, choreography, stage combat, and technical production. The program offers a well-rounded curriculum using art as a tool to instill fundamental skillsets in students like self-confidence, public speaking, perspective, collaboration, and understanding diverse viewpoints. The IMPACT 100 grant funds will be used to overhaul the space to create a classroom setting that is more functional, innovative, accessible, and fun so PLT can accommodate more students and elevate their educational experience. The funds will be used for the labor cost of installation and includes all site preparation, demolition of existing cabinetry, disposal of unnecessary items, and cleanup. The new classroom will be used to build the foundation of arts education to foster and grow the artistic and cultural climate of the Pensacola Bay Area.
EXPECTED IMPACT ON THE COMMUNITY
Strong arts programming helps build community cohesion, and access to affordable, quality art programs help to instill foundational skillsets in all children, not just the ones who are afforded cultural experiences. The children of privileged parents are generally exposed to the arts. Low-income children often are not. PLT makes access to arts education a priority to enable children from diverse backgrounds to have a more level playing field with access to cultural experiences locally. Currently, PLT impacts over 120,000 individuals each year, with over a thousand volunteers devoting nearly 80,000 hours of volunteer service to improve the community's quality of life. PLT targets new students, focusing on those between the ages of 4-17, to make the most significant impact in molding their development phase. Pensacola has over 24,000 households, with almost 25% having children and 23.2% of the population under the age of 18. Over 16% of the city's population of 50,000+ lives below the federal poverty line. Access and awareness are needed for these populations while ensuring adequate and beneficial space is provided to facilitate learning and an appreciation of art.