NJPAC launches Colton Institute for Research and Training in the Arts

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originally published: 12/03/2021

(NEWARK, New Jersey) – The New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), a non-profit, multidisciplinary performing arts center and one of the nation’s largest providers of arts education, announced the establishment of the Colton Institute for Research and Training in the Arts on December 3, 2021.

Building on NJPAC’s unique focus on arts education as a means of learning, empowerment, and social and emotional development, the Colton Institute will be dedicated to educational research, curriculum creation, teacher training and the development of the pre-vocational workforce.

Made possible by a generous $ 10 million donation from Judy and Stewart Colton to support arts education programs and research into new arts training techniques, the Colton Institute will enable the continued growth of the Arts Center as a national leader in the advancement of 21st century arts education.

NJPAC’s commitment to arts education began over 25 years ago, before the Center des arts campus opened in 1997. It now offers more than 3,000 arts education courses, residencies and workshops each. season, affecting more than 100,000 students and families.

With the Colton Institute, the first-ever research center and incubator within a performing arts center, the NJPAC will have access to a research staff that will enable the Arts Center to design continuous measures, including criteria qualitative and quantitative, to study the effectiveness of its curricular and pedagogical approaches.

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The Colton Institute will also increase the Arts Centre’s education offerings and advance its services for students – many of whom come from economically disadvantaged circumstances – including mentoring and on-the-job training, creating a pathway to the career opportunities in the performing arts, whether on stage, behind the scenes, or in administrative offices.

The work of the Colton Institute will also enable the NJPAC to:

  • Expand its most effective arts education and teacher training programs to reach more students;
  • Develop a more complete artistic training experience for teachers and professionals;
  • Identify research programs and, in collaboration with a team of professional researchers, systematically study and analyze the impact of the arts education work of the Arts Center;
  • Continue to develop the rigorous training of the NJPAC for its arts education faculty, enabling the Arts Center to ensure consistent pedagogical knowledge and practices for all of its teaching artists;
  • Develop and disseminate tested learning and study programs to other performing arts centers, educators and the field in general at the national level.

“The arts are intrinsically linked to 21st century skills such as collaboration, creative problem solving, critical thinking, and global and cultural awareness. The Colton Institute will enable NJPAC to expand and enhance programs that advance these skills and help our students use them to take the next steps in their journey. I am extremely grateful to the Coltons for their recognition and generous support of this mission, ”said John Schreiber, President and CEO, NJPAC.

In addition to direct training in artistic skills, NJPAC’s performing arts teaching methods center the voices and perspectives of students as a driver of the artistic creation experience across genres, to the benefit of the student body. whole child. Surrounding students with supportive care and encouraging creativity by providing young people with the skills, tools and space to tell their own authentic stories, the practice is built around a student-centered ‘creator’ philosophy.

The work is supported by coaching based on the individual interests of students that builds confidence and amplifies skills and performance training with mentoring programs that emphasize education, professional development and well-being. social and emotional. Through this work, made possible by more than 150 teaching artists, the Center for the Arts has continually inspired the growth and creativity of its students in diverse New Jersey communities, as well as globally through its extensive digital offerings.

“This gift is particularly personal for us. One of our grandchildren has participated in NJPAC’s arts education programs, and we have seen first-hand how transformational this experience can be, ”said Judy and Stewart Colton.

“As patrons of the Arts Center for many seasons and volunteer leaders engaged in the evolving educational work of the NJPAC, we believe wholeheartedly in the vision and goals of the Institute.

“We see our students discovering things about themselves that they didn’t know before. Just seeing them open up and change after participating in some of these workshops is fascinating, ”said jazz violinist Regina Carter, member MacArthur“ Genius ”, composer, conductor, board member of administration of the NJPAC and one of the artist teachers of the Arts Center. Importantly, Ms. Carter is also the Artistic Director of the annual Geri Allen Jazz Camp at the Arts Center, a unique training and mentoring initiative for young jazz musicians who identify as women and not binary.

“Even if they don’t become professional musicians, these experiences help them to be better listeners, better communicators. They learn to work together, to become very good problem solvers. I know they’ll work better as a team after that, no matter what career they pursue, ”added Carter.

For decades, NJPAC has provided access to the arts to kindergarten children in high school classrooms, through live performances in its theaters, and through its own on-campus arts training programs. In addition to developing new programs within the Colton Institute, the Arts Center will continue and expand its current offerings, including its Creative coaching mentoring program for students who wish to pursue arts beyond high school, and arts training on Saturdays and in the summer – from Wells Fargo Jazz For Teens at In the mix, the NJPAC Social Justice Arts Program. The Arts Center will also increase its use of social workers who participate in all of NJPAC’s arts education programs, providing mental and emotional support to students, as well as professional development for classroom teachers, resource guides for students. educators and At the microphone podcasts for students connected to NJPAC School performance series.

“The arts play an undeniable role in the development of children, creating cultural citizens who have tangible knowledge, compassion and skills to better understand themselves and others, which enables them to contribute to society. significantly, ”said Jennifer Tsukayama, Vice President, Arts Education, NJPAC. “With the significant gift of Judy and Stewart Colton, the research institute offers us the opportunity to assess the impact and effectiveness of the teaching, learning philosophies and programs of the NJPAC. “

New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), located at One Center Street in downtown Newark, NJ, is America’s most diverse performing arts center and the arts, culture and civic hub of New Jersey – where great shows and events enhance and transform lives every day. NJPAC brings together diverse communities, providing access for all and showcasing the best artists in the state and around the world while acting as a leading catalyst in the revitalization of its hometown. Through its extensive arts education programs, NJPAC is shaping the next generation of artists and art lovers. NJPAC has attracted nearly 10 million visitors (including more than 1.5 million children) since its opening in 1997 and maintains significant and lasting relationships with each of its constituents.

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