Leslie Odom Jr. said that an arts education has helped her become a better person, and it benefits youth planning to pursue more than just entertainment-based careers.
“My art education has made me more empowered and nurtured my natural curiosity about humanity and the human condition,” Omed said Monday during the Virtual Arthur Miller Foundation Honors Gala. “If you know something about telling a story – how to reach people, how to connect with people – can be useful for the things you’re going to do in this world and in this world.”
The annual event of the Arthur Miller Foundation coincided with host Sasha Hutchings almost this year. The night honors those who impart art education to the students. High school teachers receiving the award for work in further education were Lisne Shaffer and playwright Dominic Moriso.
Schafer, who teaches at the Brooklyn High School of the Arts, acknowledged AMD Excellence in Arts Education Award. The students talked to him about their experiences of learning, including alumnus Daija North, who said that Shaffer brought him to a college interview when he needed someone to accompany him. For Sheaffer, art education is a two-way street that allows teachers to learn while also teaching students.
“My students have taught me more about life and about being a human being than anything I’ve ever read or any course I’ve ever taken,” she said. “Our country is currently in a climate that needs healing, and our youth are watching, our youth are listening and they are seeing themselves in the mirror. Let’s keep arts education strong and make sure they learn to love what they see. “
Another alumnus of Shaffer, Marcus Edward, performed a short scene of “All My Sons” with actor Chik Okonkov during the event. A student ensemble is currently enrolled at the Brooklyn High School of the Arts and performs songs as well.
Morisue also received the AMF Heritage Award, awarded during the night’s proceedings. In addition to teaching in New York City for nearly a decade, he has written various plays on social issues, such as “Pipeline”, a work about the school-to-prison pipeline that affects black students. He also wrote the book for “The Eint to Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptation”, a musical running in Broadway.
“Art is theater, and education and social justice [been] – And always will be – life giving, necessary work, “he said. “I come from this work, and doing this work has inspired me and allowed me to create OB award-winning works for theaters and stages across the country.”
Cast members from “Eint to Proud” gave a piece to congratulate Morisieu on being honored for his work in education.
Other guests and actors included Nicolette Robinson, Julianne Moore, Philip Soe, Steven Pasquale, Vanessa Williams, Selea Rose Gooding, LaChange, Mandy Gonzalez and Javier Muocoz.
Muñoz said that the support of foundations and programs such as AMF are important to help the theater people in a more diverse and equitable entertainment world. “I wish it wasn’t revolutionary to diversify the stage, but it is, and so there is still a lot to do,” he said. “I think it’s my obligation to use my platform to help me pursue these things, and it also makes room for me to do a little bit of fighting for someone.”
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