From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com.
The DC Department of Public Schools’ (DCPS) 2013-2014 budget includes cuts to the Fillmore Arts Center that leave the program “with no hope of viability,” the Friends of Fillmore group says.
Fillmore — part of the DC Public School system — provides classes, workshops and summer programs in dance, music, theater, visual arts, creative writing and media arts to more than 3,500 DC Public School students each year. The students who benefit from the programs are pulled from Garrison, Hearst, Houston, Hyde, Key, Raymond, Ross, Stoddert and River Terrace schools.
According to Friends of Fillmore — the PTA group who started a petition in response to the cuts — per-pupil funding at the school has dropped by 40 percent in the last four years. The latest round of cuts will force Fillmore’s principal to eliminate four of the five full-time teaching positions that remain at the arts school.
Friends of Fillmore is asking DC Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson to restore $300,000 to Fillmore’s budget for next year. This amount would restore the school’s budget to about what it was in the 2011-2012 school year.
“You need to remember that instruction in different areas of art don’t just make artists, it makes flexible, creative thinkers with critical minds ready to problem solve,” says Kelly Richmond, board chair of Friends of Fillmore, in a letter. “Arts training builds student confidence, perseverance, focus and dedication. These children will be asked to collaborate, work with constructive feedback and express themselves non-verbally when they learn in the arts. All skills I want in my future neighbors, employees, mortgage bankers, librarians, bus drivers, frankly anybody I encounter. Don’t you?”
So far, the petition has more than 600 signatures of support. Fillmore Arts Center has been active for more than 30 years. It operates two locations, including one at 1819 35th Street NW and one at 915 Spring Road NW.
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On Tuesday, October 18, the HomeMade Pizza Co. will donate a large cut of the daily proceeds from all its DC stores to the Fillmore Arts Center. Fillmore provides award-winning arts education programs to 3,000 students at nine elementary schools in the DC Public Schools system.
Two schools in the Dupont-Logan area are part of the Fillmore Arts Center: Ross Elementary (1730 R Street NW) and Garrison Elementary (1200 S Street NW).
Fillmore will get $5 for every large pizza, $2 for every salad, and $1 for every dessert sold at any of the four HomeMade Pizza locations in DC. You can order ahead by phone or online. But you must pick up the pizza — delivery orders do not count. The Logan Circle store is at 1522 14th Street NW (corner of Church and 14th Streets NW; call them at 202.588.0808. Logan Circle store hours area 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.
You can find out how to support the Fillmore Arts Center by visiting Friends of Fillmore.
From Cecile Oreste at danceDC
For Mid City Artist Peter Alexander Romero, nature is the main focus of his sculptures and paintings. The colors and textures found in the ocean, mountains and rivers all provide inspiration to the Dominican Republic native. Although his Caribbean roots are a strong influence in his work, Romero cites his visits to Hawaii as one of his biggest sources of inspiration.
Whether Romero is painting landscapes of the Caribbean or Hawaiian Islands, he is sure to use a combination of bold colors. “I’m not a soft palette painter,” he said. “I’m into the expression that color has to offer. It makes the work more interesting and dynamic. Color, movement, texture — that’s what I live for.”
These three elements can also be found in his sculptures, which often depict fictional characters. These people come from Romero’s imagination and sometimes are based on strangers he sees on the street. All are given their own quirky twist.
“The more you look at human faces, the more you see their imperfections. I use that asymmetry in my sculpture,” he said.
In addition to the visual arts, Romero has a great appreciation for the performing arts – particularly dance. Before settling in DC, he had a successful career as a ballet dancer. An injury eventually prevented him from performing professionally, but he was able to share his experience as a ballet teacher at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts.
Today, Romero continues to inspire students in the classroom as a ceramics teacher at the Fillmore Arts Center in Georgetown. He has also been an active member of Mid City Artists since the organization’s inception. For more information about Romero, visit www.romeroart.com.
Mid City Artist Profiles
- Shaw Artist Chuck Baxter: Trash to Treasure
- French Artist Isabelle Spicer Finds Color in DC
- Robert Wiener: From Accounting to Art Glass
- Mid City Artist Mike Weber is California Dreamin’
- Thomas Drymon: Showing the Hand in His Paintings
- Joren Lindholm: “Between Abstract and Representation”
- Dave Peterson’s Brand Mixes Graphics, Captions, Materials
- Glenn Fry’s Silkscreens: From the Fed to the Real World House
- No Regrets: Betsy Karasik’s Transition from Lawyer to Painter
- Cole’s Metal Sculptures Part of Dupont-Logan Landscape
When and Where: Labor Day from 11 am to 5 pm. It’s a block party on the 1300 block of T Street NW, on the north side of Cafe Saint-Ex (corner of 14th and T Streets NW).
What: Labor Day Pig Roast/BBQ Sauce Cook Off and fundraiser to benefit the Fillmore Art Center. Fillmore provides award-winning arts programs for students at Ross Elementary (1730 R Street NW) and nine other public elementary schools across DC. Virtually all the supplies and equipment used for the program are paid for by donations and special events.
Who: Cafe Saint-Ex, attendees like you, local BBQ sauce makers and volunteers; click here to volunteer. There will be live music, lemonade stands, plenty of activities for kids and lots of great barbecue. And you get to help provide arts education for nine DC public schools.
Why: Kids in the DC Public Schools need arts programs. This event benefits the Fillmore Art Center, which provides arts programs for Ross Elementary and nine other DC public schools.