Pre-orders for Rebeca’s new book CHAINED have been coming in fast and furious which is great news for us, but also great news for arts education. B3 is donating $5 from the sale of every autographed copy of CHAINED to Friends of Franklin Fine Arts Center, a non-profit organization whose mission is to raise funds and provide community resources and support for Franklin Fine Arts Center, a Chicago Public Magnet elementary school in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood focused on the visual and performing arts. All of us at B3 have experienced the importance of being exposed to the arts as at early ages and acknowledge how the arts have shaped each of us into who we are today. Franklin Fine Arts Center is especially close to our hearts however because Rebeca’s first real formative encounter with the arts was as a student there:
I am extremely proud to be a product of Chicago Public Schools. From grades K-6, I attended Franklin Fine Arts Center, a magnet school that provides students with arts programming in each grade. It wasn’t until I was in high school that I realized just how unusual my grade school experience was. I had no idea that not every child got to experience dance, drama, theatre, art and music as a regular part of their school curriculum. Not only that, but the student body was ethnically diverse, allowing me to form strong friendships with students of many backgrounds.
I wish more organizations—both for children and adults!—would use the arts to bring together people of different ethnicities, and use this as a starting point for creating a fully open and accepting society. I wish more communities would see the advantages of arts programming, and find cost-effective ways to integrate those programs with core academic curriculum.
Now that I’m grown up, I want to give back to the school that fostered my creativity and taught me to express human emotion through the arts. I want other people to know about the success of Franklin, and I want parents and teachers everywhere to brainstorm ways to bring the arts to more students. This is why Blue Buddha Boutique is donating $5.00 from the sale of every signed copy of CHAINED to Friends of Franklin Fine Arts Center. With small steps, the entire world can be changed.
Interestingly enough, I have a personal connection with Franklin as well. I have been working as a teaching artist with Redmoon Theater here in Chicago for the last four years and this fall, I began a residency at Franklin with their 3rd graders. When you walk into the school, you are immediately surrounded by student art work and the energy of the place and the people inside it. The teachers are exceptional and do not skip any opportunity to use the amazing arts resources in Chicago to give their students a full experience of the arts, their city, and life. As an educator who so often works with students who don’t have access to arts education, I am so thankful for the work they do at Franklin. I can’t imagine what my life would have been like if I didn’t know that I was an artist simply because I was never given the opportunity to explore what art is. I am so proud to be teaching there and to be part of a business dedicated to supporting their work.