Creativity takes Courage

Creativity takes Courage

“Creativity takes Courage” – Henry Matisse

This quote inspired our theme for the 2017-18 Year of the Arts in Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS).  In coming together to support and celebrate the Year of the Arts, we connected our students to meaningful, engaging arts experiences in their classrooms, schools, and across the city.  Activities included arts integration, professional development for MPS teachers, a city-wide student and family passport to explore the arts in the city of Milwaukee, increased community arts partnerships across the district, a continued spotlight on our Turnaround Arts schools, and the first ever All-City Arts Festival! 

In collaboration with Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. and the Summerfest Foundation, Inc., Milwaukee Public Schools will host a three-day All-City Arts Festival on May 9th, 10th, and 11th that will take place at Henry Maier Festival Park.  This event will feature over 8,000 students from across the city at the elementary, middle, and high school level presenting various arts forms including visual arts, music, dance, theatre, spoken word and much more!  Additionally, the Festival is supported and enhanced by a number of partnerships among various public and private schools, artists, arts organizations, and the community at large. 

I am so excited to see our students come together around the arts.  Art has the ability to bring schools and communities together. Just think how incredible it will be to walk from stage to stage and experience the diversity of our schools, students, and art forms during the festival!  I say experience, because you will see student artwork in the Art Gallery, listen to wide variety of instrumental and vocal ensemble performances, see dance routines, listen to spoken word performances, and even get to tryout a variety of activities for yourself in the Art Activities area.  You will see and hear so much, and discover that our students have so much to express through the arts.  The arts are powerful and have transformative components that support every student’s learning.  I welcome everyone to this free event to come and cheer on our city’s talented youth on its most famous stage!

To learn more information about the Year of the Arts and the MPS All-City Arts Festival, click on the link below:

Author: Anthony Soyak
Anthony Soyak

Tony Soyak currently serves as the district Music Curriculum Specialist for Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS).  He oversees curriculum, professional development, community partnerships, and coordination of all district-wide events for K-12 music education. 

Tony has led several music education initiatives in MPS.  In 2014, Tony led the Expansion of Fine Arts as part of district-wide initiative to improve student outcomes through fine arts opportunities.  In the 2015-16 school year, Tony helped develop the Fill the Gaps Initiative, an initiative that connected local arts organizations with MPS schools with vacancies in either visual art or music to provide arts programming to all students.  In addition, he has connected music educators in MPS with resources around the country including Little Kids Rock, Berklee PULSE, World Music Drumming, and Quaver’s Marvelous World Music.  Tony’s efforts have helped MPS be selected as of the Turnaround Arts districts.  This nationally recognized program from the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts empowers high-needs schools with innovative arts, dance, theater and music programs, and arts integration across subject areas, arts resources, musical instruments and high-profile artist mentors, as a proven strategy to help address broader school challenges and close the achievement gap.

Tony Soyak earned a Bachelor of Music Education and a Master of Music degrees from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University in Chicago, IL. Tony looks forward to continuing his efforts in music education as having MPS host of the Urban Music Leadership Conference in October of 2018.