THE ARTISTS IN THE SCHOOLS PROGRAM places professional touring companies and actors, musicians, visual artists, dancers, poets and storytellers in the schools. Each performance or visiting artist presented in the schools has been approved for appropriate quality and content. Prior to each performance or visiting artist in a school site, teachers receive study guides, which contain descriptions of the performance, curriculum connections, pre- and post-performance activities, discussion questions and information specific to the art form.
During the 2011-12 school year, over 85,234 students and 4,299 teachers, staff, and family members participated in 1,119 arts experiences presented by 102 performing companies and artists at 173 K-12 regular and exceptional, magnet, alternative, and charter schools, and in other educational settings.
Words and poetry are given new life and a new twist as four professional spoken-word poets present poetry jams in 25 Hillsborough County High Schools for over 1,000 students and teachers each year. After a poetry-writing workshop with the professional teaching artist and time spent perfecting their own poems, the high school media center becomes a “coffee house,” complete with coffee and snacks, as student poets present their poems at the open mic. After each of the high schools proclaim a winner, the students then attend a workshop at the Arts Council, and perform their winning poems at the District-wide Poetry Jam at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts.
Working in collaboration with the Supervisor [of Library Media Services 6-12] and media specialists in the District, the Arts Council schedules the following acclaimed teaching artists/poets in the schools:
- Nyssa Rhiannon Hanger has been writing and performing poetry for over ten years. Her style of writing attempts to bridge the gap between literary poetry and spoken word. Though she is a believer in the creative power of live performance and shares most of her poetry in this fashion, she is well versed in poetic tools that constitute high quality art that can hold up on paper as well.
Nyssa has formal training in creative writing from her two years at Blake High School, studying under local poet, Gianna Russo. She is currently enrolled in the Master's Program at USF for Religious Studies and also works as a massage therapist specializing in structural bodywork. Since May 2008, she has hosted a weekly open mic, called "Open Mind Open Heart Open Mic," and co-founded a love-project created to connect community artists and explore the power of love performance, Door Stop Productions, whose aim is to hold open the door to your mind and heart.
- Walter “Wally B.” Jennings is a poet-turned-performer who comes across as trustworthy and honest, and who just happens to have been blessed with the gift of public speaking. He has been writing poetry for 20 years and performing publicly for the past 10 years. He writes freely and speaks from the depths of the heart, regardless of whether he is performing in front of 1 or 1000. His poetry jam/free verse style poems share and discuss common experiences from everyday life, ranging from: diabetes, marriage and fatherhood, youth empowerment, and self-determination. He uses tact, transparency, and humility as instruments to connect with his listeners and does not use profanity or vulgarity, to ensure his messages can be communicated in all mediums. Wally is a 1998 graduate of Florida A&M University (Cum Laude), receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Economics.
Wally B. is the founder of “Black on Black Rhyme-Tampa”, one of Central Florida’s largest and longest running open-mic poetry shows. Also, he is the founder of “Heard ‘Em Say” Teen Poetry Night. “Heard ‘Em Say” was established to provide our community’s youth with a healthy social outlet and platform to express themselves and promote growth in the areas of: self esteem, written and oral communication, networking, social tolerance, and cultural understanding through the art of spoken word poetry.
- Kwabena Dinizulu, acclaimed performance artist, poet, and Griot began a career in the oral tradition over 20 years ago, first as announcer in radio, then in radio and television production. For over a decade, he has devoted his time, energy and talent in the oral arts of poetry and storytelling, captivating, educating, enlightening, and entertaining audiences of all ages. Kwabena has been featured at venues nationwide.
In his poetry workshop, Kwabena exposes students to the art of spoken word and the traditions of poetry slams through today’s contemporary poets and yesterday’s classic poetry. The workshop includes a poetry/spoken word presentation, followed by a hands-on portion with Kwabena as mentor to students as they write their own poetry. The last portion is the spoken word open mic/cofee house where students are encourage to share their muse and present the poems they have created.
- Ranney Lawrence is a prolific poet known for his hip-hop infused, neo-beatnik diatribes. He has show- cased his poetic work in many of the nine one-man shows created in the last decade. Ranney performed The Break of Dawn: Tracing the Origins of Speech, an abstract 30 minute, stream-of-consciousness language odyssey, at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. He won the top prize at a spoken word competition held by the Universal Poets in Ybor City, Fl. Also, "ranney" was a 2003 nominee for "Best International Poet" by The Farrago Poetry Group in London. He has headlined at poetry slams and festivals all over the world. Signature pieces include the room shaking, "Zounding: Amen. I'm in. Amen. I Passed the Baraka, "the confrontational "The Role Model We Will Never Hear About," the stunning “A.N.G.R.Y., "the manic "Higher," and the flavorful "Next Time..."
The Arts Council is partnering with Heard ‘Em Say Teen Poetry Nights to sponsor monthly poetry jams for teens scheduled on the last Friday of every month at The H.O.P.E. Learning Center- 2902 E. Lake Avenue, Tampa, 8pm. Admission is free and teen poets are encouraged to attend and to perform.
Open Mind Open Heart Open Mic
Hosted by Nyssa Hanger and Door Stop Productions
- Every Thursday, 7-9pm at Cafe Hey, 1540 N. Franklin St.
Located in the same building as the Oceanic Oriental Market,
directly on the corner of Franklin and Kay Street,
slightly North of 1-275.
The mic is open to all performance genres & audiences of all ages
For more information visit www.doorstoptampa.wordpress.com
or find us on Face Book, Door Stop Productions
Thanks to the generosity of the following people, this fund has been established to honor Carol by funding a Hillsborough County touring artist in the school. A staunch friend of the arts, especially arts in education, Carol began (with Joe Testasecca) the Arts Council/Hillsborough County
Carol is deeply missed, but thanks to her efforts, the Arts in Education program has grown to be an integral part of the District’s dynamic arts initiatives.
Our gracious thanks to the following supporters: Jackie and Donald Genovese, Leslie and John Osterweil, Michelle and Sean Lyons, Val and Mark Peterson, Lynn Norton, Annette Armstrong, Rachael Bail, Ronald Walker, Sharyn Brookins, Ruth G. Kruglick, Shirley Herris, Elayne and Marc Baskin, the Bloombergs, Kid's Stuff Staff 2007, Donna Peckett and Danielle Dresden - Tap It New Works Ensemble Theater.