The experience aims to educate the “whole student.” On the most basic level, it’s a show. And before the performance, Angela Farr Schiller explains to the kids what’s going to happen and gives some basics of live theater etiquette.
“Do we lean back and put our feet on the seats in front of us?” she asked to a resounding, “No!”
“Do we take our shoes off?”
“Do we hold a conversation with our neighbor?”
Again, a loud chorus of “No!”
Schiller has a doctorate in theater performance studies from Stanford University. She’s a former professor at Kennesaw State University, where she helped produce and lead community engagement for theater events. But the opportunity to ensure the “A” in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) education is well represented led her to ArtsBridge.
“For most of the students, this is a new experience. Through the arts they are learning how science is part of their everyday life,” she said. “And the venue itself is a teaching point. The architecture and exposure to this space is another type of visual art.”
A committee chooses the shows for the field trips.
“We seek to offer something educational and entertaining to every age level,” said Jennifer Dobbs, ArtsBridge executive director. “The field trips are tied to the Georgia Standards of Excellence and we invite public, private and home-schooled students, teachers and parents to experience curriculum that best suits their curriculum and interests.”
The season goes through March with most tickets running $10.
As Blagg amazed and delighted the children, the adults got into the act as well. He made a teacher float in mid air.
“He didn’t say how he did it,” said Maynard. “But I’m sure there was more science involved than he’ll admit.”
By the numbers
380,000 students engaged since 2007
20,443 field trip participants in 2018-2019 season
10,500 free snack packs distributed in 2018-2019 season
67 counties in Georgia impacted
40% of students receive financial aid annually
23 programs offered during the 2019-2020 season