Local organizations push to bring back arts for students amid pandemic

Local organizations push to bring back arts for students amid pandemic

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It’s been months since kids sang in a choir and performed a musical live on stage.

Just like other schools in the Charlotte area, Myers Park High School teacher Amanda Roberts said they had to cancel their spring and fall shows because of the pandemic.

Content Continues Below

“I know sports is trying to get back on campus, but there’s even push back there on when they can do it, and when they can do it safely. I feel like arts kind of get tagged on the end usually, so for us to come back it would be even more of a push,” Roberts said.

To give students an in-person experience this fall, Blumenthal Performing Arts just launched the Blumenthal Teen Actor’s Lab at Spirit Square in uptown. Students come once a week to do their remote learning and end the day with in-person theater.

“We have a great pool of resources of professionals in our community who are directors, technicians in the theater arts world,” Vice President of Education for Blumenthal Performing Arts Andie Maloney said. “We also have a lot of performers that are connected to our Blumenthal programs in the past, and now professionals actors on Broadway.”

“A lot of students have expressed interest in it. It’s something else for them rather than be stuck in front of a computer,” Roberts said.

Arts+ is also starting an in-person and virtual opportunity for kids interested in singing in the Charlotte Children’s Choir.

“We are working on doing some outdoor performances, neighborhood tours, cul-de-sac, that sort of thing,” Artist Director Wes Smith said. “We are going to put together a virtual concert that will air on our Facebook page.”

Roberts said any opportunity to have kids back in the arts will benefit them.

“I would love to bring them back even it was a small group. We are still hoping out for the spring that we can do something, but I think everything changes every day, and you just don’t know,” Roberts said.

Both programs do have a cost, and we’re told they’re working with families to make it affordable. They’re also following health and safety guidelines to make sure students are socially distanced and doing regular temperature checks.

The Blumenthal’s Teen Actor’s Lab is $55 a month, but scholarships are available. If your student wants to join the Arts+ Charlotte Children’s Choir, its tuition is on a sliding pay scale and starts at $27.