Before he created Broadway’s smash hit Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda was just a public school kid who was lucky enough to be at a school with funding for arts education.
“And I think it saved my life,” Miranda said in a recent interview, adding that it pointed him in the right direction. “I think the values you learn when you’re involved in creative endeavors in school, they apply to the rest of your life.”
When Philly native and star of Hamilton Leslie Odom won Best Actor at last year’s Tony Awards, he took the time for a very special shout out, thanking, “the teachers I had coming up in Philadelphia. I know that their legacies burn bright in me.”
Sharon Marino, Principal of McClure Elementary School, was nearly moved to tears. “I beamed with pride that a product of our Philadelphia public schools made it big.”
Principal Marino sees every day the potential in the eyes of children. For some, she knows something clicks for them once they discover a love of reading. “For others, just like Leslie” she says, ”it’s the arts that awaken their imagination, curiosity and drive to excel.”
That’s why PCCY created the Picasso Project. Since 2002, the Picasso Project has provided 41,000 students access to transformative arts education. This year, 14 schools received mini-grants of up to $5,000.
The Picasso Project aims to improve the quality of arts instruction at under-resourced schools, give kids an opportunity to work together on projects, and inspire students by combining arts with core academic subjects.
McClure Elementary received Picasso Project grants for three years. “I watched my students work with the Picasso Project funded artists and saw their love of learning swell and their self-confidence grow,” Principal Marino reports.
Come check out a Picasso Project in action, at South Philadelphia High School’s production of “The Wiz,” in partnership with the Curtis School of Music:
SPHS Music & Theatre presents: “The Wiz”
Thursday, May 11 and Friday May 12th, 7:00pm
South Philadelphia High School, 2101 S Broad St Philadelphia, PA 19148
“Who has access to the arts has a moral dimension. If it affects cognitive function, can we continue to accept distributing this access in an uneven fashion to children according to income?” William Penn study that quantifies the benefits of arts education.