SPARC presents LIVE ART: BLUE where kids with abilities and disabilities alike perform on the Altria stage this Sunday
LIVE ART: BLUE is a collaborative effort between professional recording artists and SPARC (School of the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community) students, approximately half with disabilities, who come together for a night of visual and performance art. LIVE ART: BLUE is produced and directed by SPARC, and this year, over 150 students will participate.
SPARC students, who come from across metro-Richmond, attend classes for nine months in advance of the performance. Classes are made up of students with a range of disabilities including autism, Down syndrome and hearing or vision impairment, as well as typically developing students, who, through art, build relationships and understanding of one another. Each class will collectively perform their visual and performance art with the featured musicians during the LIVE ART concert.
All students take classes tuition free thanks to generous grants from local philanthropists like Altria and the Jason Mraz Foundation as well as national organizations like the National Endowment for the Arts.
“These classes are unique, combining art forms in unusual ways to correlate with topics such as empathy, acceptance, helpfulness and kindness,” said Erin Thomas-Foley, SPARC’s Senior Director of Education and LIVE ART’s creator “SPARC teaches students not only about performing on stage, but how they can use their passion and their art to have a collective impact on their community and be a positive influence in this generation. These are also skills that can be helpful in the prevention of bullying and the acceptance of all people. The culminating performance on June 5, demonstrates the importance of these messages and the crucial role the arts plays in the self-confidence and development of a child.”
This year’s performance, titled LIVE ART: BLUE, will feature three-time Grammy Award-winning blues musician Keb’ Mo’ and blues harmonica virtuoso Phil Wiggins. Additional artists include folk rocker Chris Stills, legendary musician Steve Bassett, bluegrass band Love Canon, singer/songwriter Robbie Schaefer and artists Desiree Roots, Jesse Harper, Josh Small and Drew Kullman. Artistic Advisors to the program include Grammy Award-winner Jason Mraz, keyboardist Daniel Clarke, Tim Timberlake and Pamela Arkin.
Tickets are available online at sparconline.org/tickets and through the Altria Theater Box Office, altriatheater.com or 800-514-3849.
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