The first event of 2021 for The Foundation of Arts was Schoolhouse Rock, Live, Jr. It was a project full of nostalgia for me and hopefully fun for the cast. The adults already knew most of the songs, but watching the kids learn “I’m Just a Bill” and “The Preamble” for the first time gave me a sense of renewed optimism for our future. The Schoolhouse Rock songs were written out of another tumultuous time in our country’s past and, through the years, have signified a focus on joy and unity in what we have in common – Math, Science, our National Government and National History. I was thrilled to watch the young ones take part in singing the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution. Like me, the time in their lives when they are learning it predates their full understanding of its importance, but it’s the beginning. Coupled with the fact that their participation in theatre-done-well (a term I’ve coined over the decades as I have learned what works for the greatest good), this experience for all of us has been incredible in how densely positive it has been for the future of our community. Not only have these 40 wonderful people learned more about the beginnings of our country, they’ve learned the beauty of creating in collaboration with others. They learned leadership, independent growth, team unity, and confidence. And the seed was planted that they are far more capable than they may realize. Yes, the future is bright for our community if the FOA’s casts are any sign of what’s to come.
And I haven’t even mentioned our students! Our new plan to focus on the relationship between the arts and character/leadership has begun to develop and grow our students and faculty to be more articulate and centered on principled living.
The diversity within the FOA family is beautiful, and is a direct result of an intentional push toward welcoming all socioeconomic backgrounds and races. The FOA has always been a safe place for every person, no matter their race or bank account, but more strategic choices communicated that principle to our community in better ways, and therefore we’ve realized more blessings because of those choices.
2020 could have brought us down. We had to postpone some important goals, like leading Oasis Arts and Eats Festival for downtown Jonesboro and serving our clients in the L.E.A.P program; but we found ways to grow deeper in how we are able to serve. I can’t wait to tell you more about our plans for the future of the FOA and for our community.
Your gifts in 2020 did more than sustain the mission, they allowed for us to be courageous in rethinking what is important to you and our community. As a result, we were able to reimagine our current programming, continue to employ most of our staff, and plan for a brighter future. Thank you, once again, for showing your love and support. As a family of people who believe that the arts can improve lives, we will grow and prosper together, to continue to unify and enhance our community through the arts and creative living.
Blessings and with a heart for the arts,