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arts education

Nancy Roucher holding Dr. Mary Palmer Trailblazer Award  presented by Leiland Theriot
Cathy Carter

Sarasota arts education advocate Nancy Roucher has been honored by the state for her longtime contributions to promoting arts education. On Friday, Roucher will be awarded with the Dr. Mary Palmer Trailblazer Award from the Florida Alliance for Arts Education at the organization’s annual summit in Fort Lauderdale.

Opera may seem like work for the grand stage.

But at the front of a crowded assembly room in Lake Worth imaginatively costumed performers recently presented an epic tale of striving, loss and the triumph of friendship: The Adventures of Lola & Friends.

Thousands of the most dramatic teenagers in Florida are in downtown Tampa this week for the annual state conference of the International Thespian Society.

For 25 years, the Florida Thespian Festival has given young performers the chance to get professional feedback, attend workshops with Broadway stars, and audition for college theater departments. 

Mary Shedden/WUSF

It’s just a few dozen yards from the charter busses to the stately columns of the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts entrance.

Dozens of energetic 12- and 13-years olds jump off the bus after a 25-minute ride from their Clearwater’s Oak Grove Middle School.

Volunteer docents scramble to sort out small groups by color, and hand out clipboards and pencils.

“Purple, nice straight line!” one docent yells from the top of the steps.

“Green group over here,” another barks.

Students who are struggling in school take fewer art classes than their peers in Florida. And arts education advocates are concerned that high-stakes testing creates obstacles for would-be artists. A proposed bill would make schools more accountable for their arts programming.

The students from Miami’s Design and Architecture Senior High—DASH—are on a bus ride to Art Basel and Design Miami—two of the giant international art shows that descend on South Florida every December.