Summer Series August 24th Edition

Monday, August 24, 2020

Today is the final edition of our Summer Series 2020 newsletter. Thank you for staying connected and don’t miss out on some big announcements below!

Hi Noon Improv (Thursdays @ noon ET, 30 minutes) No experience necessary and all are welcome! Join Opening Act’s Jeremiah Thompson (Act 2 Fellow) and special guests every Thursday for a playful reboot to your day!  Registration is required!  

*Hi Noon Improv will continue into the fall because we’re all going to need a little laughter in the months ahead!

Yoga with Halima (Monday @ noon, Friday @ noon, Saturday @ 11:30am, Sunday @ 10am – all ET)
Teaching since 2014, Halima’s Vinyasa yoga classes focus on proper alignment and straightforward yet challenging sequences in a light-hearted, welcoming environment. Halima believes a mindful practice can decompress and strengthen the body, mind, and spirit! Off the mat Halima is a NYC based actor and Opening Act teaching artist who’s a proud U of Michigan alum. Classes are Pay What You Can.

*Halima will be continuing her classes into the fall!

Opening Act Presents: Leveling the Playing Field for Young Black and Brown Artists in NYC: A Virtual Discussion (Wednesday, August 26th @ 3pm ET)
Please join us for an important discussion with Zareta Ricks (Executive Director, Opening Act) and Jumaane Williams (New York City Public Advocate) for strategizing ways to protect and expand equitable arts education for students of color during this most critical time. 

We will be joined by Michael Wiggins, (Director of Engagement & Education, at Little Island), Tammi Cubliette (Opening Act Teaching Artist), and Odley Jean (former Opening Act student and star of the upcoming Netflix original series, Grand Army) for a first-hand perspective on why access to the arts is essential to building supportive communities, developing strong identities, and connecting youth to life-changing opportunities. 

Opening Act’s State of the Ensemble (Thursday, September 3, 2020 @ 7pm ET) More details to come!

Are you familiar with the extraordinary life of Civil Rights Activist, Ella Baker? Take a moment to read about and learn from this incredible woman.

Swimming with Shark Scientists (Thursday, August 27th @ noon ET) Despite what you see on television, there are hundreds of fascinating shark species other than great whites swimming in the ocean. Likewise, there are plenty of incredible women and people of color making scientific discoveries about these mysterious creatures. Join Jasmin Graham, one of the founders of Minorities in Shark Sciences, and Triana Arguedas Alvarez, a MISS member, in a LIVE conversation about all things sharks! Great for all ages!

Opening Act says goodbye this week to our remarkable Deputy Director, Erika Atkins. For half a decade, Erika has dedicated her ingenuity, awe-inspiring competencies, and thoughtful leadership towards making Opening Act a durably innovative organization committed to arts equity for every young person living in NYC. Erika departs Opening Act to become the Executive Director at the Bloomingdale School of Music on the Upper West Side. While it’s difficult to say goodbye, Erika will always be an important member of the Opening Act family and will remain a collaborator in our shared goal of equitable arts education. Take 2 minutes to watch this lovely video featuring Erika and Malia Braithwaite from 2018. It captures beautifully our friend and colleague, Erika Atkins.

We checked in with a couple of Opening Act students who are heading off to college. Here’s what they had to say …

“I’m pretty excited for college. Don’t get me wrong I miss high school a lot and not fully completing my senior year or having YesFest physically kinda sucked. I’ll also miss having Opening Act after school. It was something I could look forward to, whether it was a stressful day or not. It was so wonderful just making everyone laugh. But yeah, for college I’m pretty excited and a little sad because I can’t be there physically. Do I feel prepared? Honestly I do. Having Opening Act classes and joining The Barrow Group program this summer helped evolve my acting skills. I feel like this was a good start for me as I head to college.” Muhammad Ali

“Um, preparing for college for the first time for me is like that feeling you get when your mom comes home and calls your name so loud, you know there’s something wrong but you don’t know what. Your anxiety builds so much because you don’t know why she’s calling you and boom she points to the sink and there’s a spoon or a plate in the sink you didn’t wash and then you’re like “really”? Going off to college is nerve racking. You have to see it and feel it for yourself. Someone else’s description won’t be the same as your own, so don’t sweat it. At least that’s what I keep telling myself to myself to stay sane with this pressure, especially with the pandemic going on. Sometimes I feel like “eh, no big deal” and then “omg I’m about to go to college what the heck!!” I’m glad I get to have this opportunity and pursue my dreams.” Chinyere Nwosu

Opening Act’s annual fall fundraiser, the #POWEROF20 goes BEYOND THE BUILDING this year from September 21 through October 10, 2020. This dynamic, online event raises much-needed funds early in our programming year so we can consistently show up for our students and alums. The success of this campaign depends on our community mobilizing to spread the word and raise critical dollars to continue this work. We invite you to join us! Please take a moment to complete this google form so we can follow up on how you can help us reach our goal.

Here at Opening Act, connecting with you each week – whether through improv, yoga, music, thoughtful reading, or student updates – has been the highlight of our summer months. Community is essential right now and we continue to be grateful for our strong network of students, alums, families, partners, staff, supporters, and friends. 

Thank you for reading and as always, got your back!