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Karen Montanaro

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LA ARTS
September 27, 2011

It is my pleasure to thank and praise L/A Arts for their invaluable work in Lewiston/Auburn schools.

I’ve been a visiting artist for over 20 years now, bringing mime, dance and movement to children and teens of all grade levels. I have taught in hundreds (thousands?) of schools and have been hired by many arts organizations. In my experience, L/A Arts stands out as a leader, not only in their commitment to the arts in education, but also in their understanding of what “enrichment” really means and how to make it happen.

This year, I am particularly grateful to L/A Arts for a unique workshop-experience that they designed for three elementary schools and me. This spring, Caite Carson-Gabriel (Arts in Education Coordinator) arranged for me to teach a core group of students from each school. The only requirement for acceptance into this core group, was that students express a genuine interest in working with me.

At Caite’s prompting, students were prepared for my workshops in such a way as to maximize the educational experience for all of us. That is, students visited my website and learned about my professional career before I arrived. They also knew that there would be zero-tolerance for discipline issues. In other words, even before I arrived at the school, L/A Arts made sure that the students had high expectations of me, as their teacher, as well as high expectations of themselves as students.

With such preparation, the success of these workshops was virtually guaranteed. I found myself teaching at a new level, spontaneously inventing new exercises and challenges for these eager students. Their level of participation brought me to new heights in terms of how I communicated and functioned as a teacher and guide to discovery. I was delighted to see the students focus their attention and participate in every challenge with energy and enthusiasm. I was particularly rewarded to see their obvious joy and surprise when their performance exceeded even their own expectations.

I hope that L/A Arts is given every opportunity to continue their invaluable work in Lewiston/Auburn schools. It is an honor and privilege for me to be included in L/A Arts’ progressive and committed vision.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

. . . the educational system.

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If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Give them unlimited funds, resources and support.

MY ROLE:
Professional with expertise in this field & Taught and performed in L/A schools.