A New Year’s Message to the Center Community,
(Given all that continues to happen at home and around the country, we felt it important to reach out this week.)
As our new year advances in Richmond and we are focused on helping individual students find the classes and support that best fits their path, we understand that our lives are impacted by immediate national and local concerns around justice, equity – and grieving – as much as by hope. We understand that all of these are connected and that we must renew our efforts to create a different, more just future.
For over five decades, we have worked to ensure that the Center is a safe and vibrant environment, where our youth might strengthen their independence and agency. We also understand that the work ahead of us will require even more resolve and imagination. We at the Center want to underscore our passionate belief that every child who walks through the Center doors is precious and in possession of gifts to be celebrated, nurtured and shared. We want you to know that we will celebrate and welcome each of you fully – both in person and online – and will surround you with deeply rooted traditions of training from across the world and with the imagination of individual artists. While there are limits to our material resources, there is no limit in our commitment or solidarity.
We will continue to name the joy and power in Black lives and culture, to honor the arts of Mexican heritage and the dances of Indigenous and Brazilian traditions, and to celebrate our LGTBQ+ community. We cherish our youth who possess deep questions about the arts and those that have already heard a specific personal call to music, dance, and theater training. All youth possess voices to be heard and we will support each and every member of our community without exception.
Even as we focus on welcoming students back to study, please know that we will also be conducting a formal assessment of all of our work this spring and we will reach out to you. Our goal is to build new visions of programs and a rededication to and advancement of our values and actions. As we ready for this planning and communal dialogue, I am heartened by all that we have prepared for and all that our ancestors prepared us to hold, which is rooted in the practice of our arts.
We rely on you to speak out to and with us, to reflect with us, so that our work deepens and continues to mature. We will listen hard. Just as the Center was born in the civil rights movement of 1968, we know we are being reforged today – relearning, recommitting, renewing. We welcome your questions and thoughts about our classes, our faculty, our student support systems, our history, our future, and our communal growth.
Writing on behalf of the Center,