Direct: Source of employment allows Bronxites to participate in the arts in the Bronx, and encourages economic vitality.
- Encourages the music sector in the Bronx...Direct benefits for both musicians, and arts administrators, by "creating and doing".
- It's really important to note, that the Bronx has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, and that any job growth is a good thing. The Bronx is still pretty cheap, so many artists can live there, and employing them in the Bronx can help change the economic face of the Bronx without gentrifying it.
This chart from the U.S. Department of Labor shows that the Bronx has the highest unemployment rate when compared to the average U.S. unemployment rate, and the rest of the tri-state area...We need all of the help we can get!
Direct: The Bronx Opera Company encourages cultural tourism to the Bronx. Bronx Opera attendees can change what both Bronxites and tourists think of when they think of the boogie down. The Bronx Opera Company's cultural partnership with the Bronx Tourism Council signifies their commitment to encouraging growth in the Bronx.
- "The Bronx Tourism Council is a division of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (BOEDC), creating a cohesive and symbiotic relationship between arts and culture and economic development. The role of the Bronx Tourism Council is to promote the borough's rich history, its institutions, and cultural diversity on a local, national, and international level".
- We Bronxites are proud of our heritage, but we can always use a little more pride! We love feeling close to our neighbors, and can connect on many levels. Bronxites are very open and accepting, and adding more arts to the mix can encourage the overall community, especially when arts presenters are dedicated to reaching Bronxites, and NOT just tourists/ yuppies. We're used to being forgotten, this could change with more organizations like the Bronx Opera company.
Direct: Arts & education programs benefit students through both creative participation and attendance. These programs give students an opportunity to stay off of the street after class, a luxury which many young Bronxites lack.
Opera in the Schools Program
"We work with 4-5 schools each year, bringing in 450-500 students through our three-pronged program, which works as follows: BxO brings cast members to three-to-five Bronx schools to introduce students to opera and to each of our productions. Students see a one-hour abridgment of the show during the school day, and are invited to attend full performances at Lehman on the weekend for free, with reduced prices for accompanying adults. Weekend attendees get a backstage tour forty-five minutes before each performance".
"In its first 20 years, OitS has worked with an average of 975 kids each year, for a total of approximately 19,500 Bronx students served".
After School Programs
After school program productions of Annie, Alice in Wonderland, Fame, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and The Immigrant Experience (A Musical Revue) between 2010 and 2014 helped educate students in lower and high schools, and hired between 5-10 teaching artists per production.
90 student artists + 550-600 student audience members = program reach of 600+ students annually
Indirect: Arts & education programs also do double duty as civic programs, by giving students opportunities to be busy after school. This helps educate students, build confidence, build societal bridges, and helps parents provide well rounded educations for their children.
Direct: Kingsbridge Heights Community Center Partnership benefits immigrants, students and creatives of all ages by helping them learn, and participate in their community. Again, this builds tolerance, awareness, empathy, confidence, and acceptance, which helps strengthen the Bronx community.
- an After-School Choir (Kindergarten – 5th Grade)
- an Improv Group for Tweens and Teens (6th Grade – 12th Grade);
- a Dance/Movement Class for clients with Special Needs (Ages 5 -21),
- a Public Speaking class for Adult ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) students.
People don't think of opera when they think of the Bronx. In fact, when I tell people I'm from the Bronx, the first question I'm asked is usually "how many people die in your neighborhood from shootings each year?" Now, I live in a very safe part of the Bronx, but we've had our fair share of violence, drug epidemics, and diversity issues, like many other places.
In addition to being a food desert, many people think that the Bronx is an arts desert, but that's changing, thanks to help from organizations like the Bronx Opera Company, and many others.
With economic issues still more prevalent in the Bronx, when compared to many other places, supporting the arts is secondary, but the arts provide a means to build a cultural and economic bridge between the Bronx and the rest of New York City.
These assumptions about the Bronx have to change, and The Bronx Opera Company is helping to create that paradigm shift.