Asolo Rep Sets Eyes on Building Inclusive and Equitable Arts Education Programs
Significant funding will go toward "Theatre for All," a new educational initiative focusing on inclusion, diversity, equity, and access in arts education.
(SARASOTA, FL) – As arts organizations across the board focus on economic resilience during a difficult climate, Asolo Repertory Theatre has also doubled down on its efforts to promote inclusion and build equitable educational programming.
Asolo Rep is launching its Theatre for All initiative, a new, comprehensive, community-centered program designed to develop and build access to online and in-person arts education opportunities. With focus on creating spaces for learning that are exciting, welcoming, and responsive, Theatre for All is an opportunity to develop meaningful connections and relationships that can deeply impact our community and our artform.
A primary goal of the initiative is to address financial and technological barriers to arts education. Theatre for All will create a transparent financial aid process in partnership with community organizations that are already working with local families. Other aspects of Theatre for All will include assessing the need for and providing access to technology that could otherwise be a barrier to participation in online programs, developing a diverse teaching artist roster, and setting up a sustainable structure of staff trainings in anti-racism, anti-bias, and culturally responsive practices.
“We believe in the transformative power of the arts for all people,” said Asolo Rep Managing Director Linda DiGabriele. “Theatre for All involves listening to the needs of the community and connecting with a diverse roster of teaching artists. Their voices will have an immediate impact on Asolo Rep and southwest Florida, and experiences here will potentially help shape the impact going forward.”
Theatre for All will follow a three-and-a-half-year timeline, which began in January 2021 with research and development. Full details of the first steps of the initiative will be publicly launched in early May 2021.
Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation has granted $250,000 to kickstart these efforts. Additionally, the Barancik Foundation doubled their annual support of $100,000 to $200,000 to Asolo Rep this year to help mitigate the loss of revenue due to the ongoing pandemic. The combination of these two awards is $450,000, one of the largest foundation gifts ever received by Asolo Rep for annual support.
“We cannot overstate how grateful we are for the Barancik Foundation’s generous support of this initiative,” said Asolo Rep Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards. “There are whole segments of the population that simply cannot access arts education opportunities. It’s longstanding. It’s systemic. And Covid has just made it exponentially worse.”
“Asolo Rep was close to Chuck and Margie’s heart, and their wish was for all of our community’s children to have equal access to its treasures,” said Teri A Hansen, President|CEO of Barancik Foundation. “These efforts will address barriers brought on both before and after the pandemic.”
ABOUT CHARLES & MARGERY
The Charles and Margery Barancik family has long believed in the power of philanthropy to shape our world and enrich the lives of all people. It was the expression of this belief that led them in 2014 to establish Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation—a private, family foundation located in Sarasota, Florida. Barancik Foundation creates initiatives and awards grants in Sarasota and beyond in the areas of education, humanitarian causes, arts and culture, the environment, and medical research. Visit BarancikFoundation.org to learn more.