“Global Education Through the Arts”
“South St. Louis city is at the crossroads in St. Louis where Hispanic, African, Asian, Bosnian, White and African American youth live and interact. Our community has the opportunity to help these youth, faced with culture shock, learn to celebrate their differences and build upon their similarities. The arts provide a wonderful means to do this when combined with intercultural communication.”
– Cecilia Nadal
Global Education through the Arts is a community arts project that promotes intercultural competence among economically challenged youth living in South St. Louis city. The 16-week after-school program welcomes ethnically diverse youth to learn dance, poetry, drama, and cultural diversity as a way to cultivate social skills, team building, cross-cultural communication, and conflict resolution. Participants who successfully complete the program will have the opportunity to be involved with one of Gitana’s professional main stage productions.
Successful students from the first session were selected to participate on stage with professional actors in “Complacency of Silence: Darfur,” an original play produced by Gitana which received five Kevin Kline Award nominations. Students were also involved in the play, “My Heart is Always Shaking: Afghan Women Refugees in St. Louis.” S2G Performers (Southside to Global) represent some of our most talented students who tour throughout the St. Louis region utilizing dance, drama, and improvisation.
Students have a rich immersion into the community with trips to theater, dance and musical productions, radio and television stations, festivals and museums. Last year students went to a Pow Wow in Oklahoma learning about Native American culture, attended a Nigerian celebration, and experienced an interfaith celebration of Martin Luther King.
There is no fee for students to participate and transportation support is available for those in need. All of the art instructors are top professional artists in St. Louis. For more information or to register for an upcoming session, call 314-721-6556. Gitana collaboratively works with St. Louis Public Library’s Carpenter Branch, Harmony in Life and the African Mutual Assistance Program to meet our multicultural goals.
“This program is unique in that it focuses on both African American and immigrant youth at risk,” said Cecilia Nadal, president of the board of directors of Gitana Productions. “This is a community-based response which aims at creating an authentic cross cultural synergy between diverse communities in South City. The project uses the arts to bring youth together in harmony and teach important global skills for their future success. We engage a broad spectrum of the community including parents, employers, educators and the faith-based community to be part of a ‘cross-cultural solution.’”
Financial assistance has been provided by the Monsanto Fund and the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency and a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art. Support also comes from the Regional Arts Commission, Arts and Education Council of St. Louis. Private donations are important to maintaining the program.
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