The San Francisco Arts Education Project is the proud recipient of the Isadora Duncan Dance Award for Sustained Achievement for, “nearly 50 years of bringing professional arts education to San Francisco schools, and for over 25 years of developing dance education for San Francisco elementary and middle school populations. The organization presents in 25 schools, providing participatory experiences in the arts so that children are better equipped to make use of their creative abilities in all aspects of their lives.”
The award will be presented at a ceremony on Monday, March 23, 2013 at Z Space. Cria Merchant, an alumna of SFArtsED programs who went on to a professional dance career before heading into social work, will make the presentation of the award to SFArtsED’s artistic director Emily Keeler and program director Camille Olivier-Salmon, both of whom have been with the organization for 27 years.
“We are honored and touched to be recognized for the work we have been doing for these many years, connecting young people with the finest artists in our region in school residencies, exhibitions, workshops, our musical theater company, summer camps and performances,” Keeler says. “We are so very proud to bring to the young people of this city into the arts, and have had the keen pleasure for nearly 30 years of seeing the joy visual and performing arts bring students, including assisting some of them to find their way into the field professionally as visual artists, performers, choreographers and directors.”
The San Francisco Arts Education Project has provided arts education for children in powerful ways with artist teachers for nearly 50 years – more than 7,000 children each year. This 48-year-old organization, begun by noted artist Ruth Asawa, made a change in 1985 with a decision to invigorate the San Francisco public elementary and middle schools with dance programs alongside programs in the visual arts, theater musical theater and music. The change included a three-year collaboration with Jacques D’Amboise National Dance Institute and then 16 years of epic EVENTS performances, which featured hundreds of performing children in venues like the San Francisco Opera House, Palace of Fine Arts, Yerba Buena Center and Stern Grove. That change was the beginning of present-day SFArtsED, with classes and programs in 25 public schools.
“It has been an honor to work with an organization that has provided programs allowing students to experience the discipline and expression of the arts,” says Olivier-Salmon. “And through that experience, young people have been inspired to pursue the arts more seriously, to become lifelong art lovers and to benefit from the intrinsic demands, creativity and collaboration of many different art forms.”
About the Isadora Duncan Dance Awards
The Isadora Duncan Dance Awards, known locally as the Izzies, are awarded annually to acknowledge exceptional creative achievements in the performance and presentation of dance. Awards are given in nine categories to honor the dancers, choreographers, designers, composers, dance companies, dance scholars and other individuals who have made important contributions to the San Francisco Bay Area’s thriving dance community.
During each 12-month performance cycle, running September 1 – August 31, the Committee collectively views over 400 eligible performances. The final nominees and honorees are selected at an annual voting meeting held in September after the close of the viewing cycle. Member profiles and lists of previous nominees and award winners are available online at www.izzies.org. The Izzies Committee is supported by donations from individuals, groups, the Zellerbach Family Fund and the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation.