Straz Center arts education partnership program giving Tampa Bay kids an opportunity

Kids in need are getting help from a leader in the Tampa Bay arts scene. The Straz Center is looking to connect with underserved kids, providing tickets, workshops and even free weekly classes. 

"I'm excited to show off my great moves," six-year-old Trinti said. 

Wednesday's dance performance is one step closer to achieving her ambitious goal. 

"I could just be a dancer and an artist, so I would paint and paint pictures while I'm dancing," she said.

She's one of the students at Sullivan Elementary School benefiting from their partnership with the Straz Center's Patel Conservatory. All 100 kids in the school get weekly ballet lessons, free of charge. Most live at Metropolitan Ministries and likely wouldn't have access to these classes otherwise. 

"I'm in my own space and I can feel free," seven-year-old Obriella said.

The Straz Center is now accepting applications for their arts education partnership program. They have 800 students getting direct lessons, but reach around 10,000 people through workshops and tickets.

They want to help even more. 

"Title one schools, charter schools, even archdiocese Catholic schools are eligible to apply. We just ask that they have a need base of 60% or higher," Alice Santana, Community Programs Manager at the Straz Center, said. 

Many kids said dancing gives them something to look forward to, and what they do here even helps with other subjects.  

"They teach us math, they teach us science, they teach us everything that you need to learn to grow up," Trinti said. 

The Patel Conservatory dance teacher is Siomara Bridges-Mata. The teacher on staff at Sullivan Elementary who teaches all specialties is Brenda Johnson. 

Groups can turn in their applications through April 6 here.

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