Penumbra Summer Arts Institute

I am always excited when I see the natural order of things-art should reflect life and life should reflect art! I also believe that as artists we have an obligation to not only entertain but enlighten and educate. The Penumbra Summer Program appears to have this on lock!

Acknowledging that the teens of today will be our leaders of tomorrow and we need to treat, teach and train them as though they were, the Penumbra program tackles the issues of social justice and activism head first-without adding sugar. This is wonderful because often we don’t credit our young people with being savvy enough to handle tough life issues-even when they are facing them every day!

An excerpt from the article written by Marianne Combs of MPR News about the summer arts program that is hosted by Penumbra Theatre:

St. Paul’s Penumbra Theatre is known for being one of the premiere African-American theaters in the country. Less well known is its summer youth program, which teaches teenagers not just about acting and directing but about race, class and other social justice issues.

“This is a completely different kind of education,” Khadar said. “I’m a lot more mature, socially aware. I want everyone that I love to go through Penumbra — it’s amazing.”

The Summer Institute began more than 20 years ago, but Penumbra co-artistic director Sarah Bellamy relaunched the program in 2006 with a new focus on social justice and activism. The theater says it is preparing its students for lives as “artist-activists.”

“I think the end result of students going through this program is deeper critical consciousness, civic engagement, tremendous empathy and passion for creating social change inside their communities,” she said.

I hope you enjoy the article and more than that I hope that the Penumbra program lights a spark that will ignite of similar programs to spring up across the country.