The next generation of artists visited the center of the New York art world on Monday, October 17th. Students and faculty from the Professional Performing Arts School (PPAS) joined parents and supporters at the William Harvey Studio on North 8th to show off their skills and to raise some shekels for their next production.
PPAS was created in 1990 and has approximately 500 students in grades six through 12. The highly regarded school offers students the opportunity to study the arts in a professional environment, by partnering with several prominent performing arts groups. Through these arrangements, professional artists train students who are majoring in dance, drama, musical theater, instrumental music or vocal music. Partners include The Ailey School, Rosie’s Theater Kids and Waterwell.
The PPAS / Waterwell collaboration began in 2011 with the production of “Emma.” This year’s project, the impetus for the trip to Williamsburg, is a new piece by playwright Bekah Brunsetter. It will be presented in April 2012 at a cost of nearly $17,500, all of which will be raised through donations. A company of artists “dedicated to the collaborative creation of new works for the theater,” Waterwell’s goal for their partnership with PPAS is to “deliver the highest quality theater training…[by] exposing gifted, young performers to the broader New York City theatrical community.”
Fundraiser hosts Bill Harvey and his wife Jeanne have several motives for supporting PPAS. Bill, a local designer, is a staunch supporter of the arts. He has been advocating for the City to establish “The North Brooklyn Creative Economic Zone,” which would protect the neighborhood’s creative core – artists and musicians, but also software or clothing designers and other creative businesses – before they get priced out of the community. A performing arts school on the level of PPAS would be a welcome and appropriate addition to North Brooklyn and would encourage creatives to stay in the neighborhood and possibly attract even more, according to Harvey. In addition, he and Jeanne have a daughter at PPAS as does CB 1 member Katie Naplatarski.
“The school represents the best of New York, breaking down the wall between public education and the real world,” said Harvey. “It’s helping to create the next generation of artists.”