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Isinglass Summer Camp 031917

Mar 15, 2017|

AN INTERVIEW WITH JOHN ZAJAC AND NATE COHEN FROM ISINGLASS, A NON-PROFIT PERFORMING ARTS ADVOCACY PROGRAM THAT SPONSORS A SUMMER CAMP FOR HIGH SCHOOL YOUTH.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

This is microscope and Entercom radio Portland public affairs program I'm Gary blocks and have you given any thought yet to summer camp for your kids this year. This time on the show we're going to be talking about a very interesting summer camp for high schoolers and hell I isn't glass is killing us all support the arts here in Portland. On the shows Tom I like to welcome John Lindsay Jack executive director and co-founder of Eisen glance yeah. And also made Cohen program director of eyes and thus more news show guys. Thanks for having us 21 live in the studio and one live on the phone. He quipped and let's let's get started first by figuring out what is Eisen thoughts. I think glasses and performing arts advocacy organization. So we do is we pilot programs is that aren't geared towards meeting the arts ecosystem in Portland healthier. So if you look at the ecosystem in Portland if you look at the way the arts are structured and how they're funded. And where the audiences come from with the artists come from. I'm just to work on all of those are the same time in order to meet them all healthy kids are all in related to one another. And so we try and look at the entire system. And come up with pilot programs and they can actually make it healthier we're better doing in my pilot programs. So for example we will do some research will get some data money challenge facing the performing arts. And then we will go through this process where we bring in. I experience and and business people and artists and go through this process of thinking about what really interest seeing new way of solving that challenge of that problem would be and then we actually implement the solution that we can uplift and those are pilot programs. Where did you come up this idea here co-founder so where does come from it eighteen from the idea I don't I worked in theater in my twenties. And then I went in she designed. And an advertising in strategic thinking. For businesses and I wanted to get back into the performing arts and back from the business and so. This seemed like the natural fusion of my abilities that I developed in my other career this is the needs of the performing arts industry. And so we found an eyeglass so that we could kind of why that isn't sinking apply that innovation. An innovative thinking to performing arts and the challenges that they face it neither did you get involved. I'm actually a guy I applied to be a teacher that first year that apple back twenty court T Adam. And sort of come up with a program element of the organizations. And Americana went from there and her. He was second in. Yeah yeah. Includes only a real challenge I think to win especially with the environments the way it is a you know how or how or the arts and surviving nowadays. I'm well I'm needing any. Well yeah I mean how I would standards I think the answer is that there is a lot of struggle happening across the board and and the way that people are dealing with the coming up with you they're trying to argue is the app and two. Younger audiences more diverse audiences to find ways to use our race outcome of certain crowd funding being sort of obvious example but also to other innovative solutions. I'm digital technology. Advancements in bill way to engage people I. Indeed it audiences and without looks like I'm so it was so bad bit actually a sort of that is they they're thirteen should the need for an organization. That really be examined how effective those solutions are and tries to continually. Push the boundary. Well what we think it works and eat and what doesn't work in the you know yes this is an effective solution can we make it more back order word there's there's a really easy connection that we can make here that it seemed everybody it's incurred under their resources are concerned so that to sort out looking out it's just looking into things people are already doing. And trying to come up but trying to come up and I'm a bit about hire. Higher perspective higher altitude. You are non profit organization correct we are final on C three nonprofit and so what is your funding comes from. We get a mostly from individual donors. He actually. Most originations are or fifty dollars here or less just because we have a very broad community that we engaged. And so we get a lot of smaller donations to support our work. We are also an incredibly lean operation so. We need is our only full time employee and we were really really hard because this is based on our belief that. I guarantee you a service organization like as a last. So we do a lot a little. When you say performing arts what exactly who are you. Saying what were the performing arts in your definition well we work in theater primarily because that is where the basis of expertise is foremost in the people who work with your organization. And but we aren't looking to expand into working this dance troops as well as. Music the music industry that's classical music. Found the right now we've merely work in the theater industry just because we also found that that has a huge amount of need. And not as many people pay attention. And you were a lot with. Younger people high school students remember exactly and so just before or even. Knew I was gonna ask you just before sir this interview Johnson you're on your way to a tee to high school just like in just a few minutes. I yeah I'm I'm actually the middle school at the moment actually. You but I am I'm on I'm on the front steps are now I walked out of a lot about the Mac you are. Back if you actually. I'm I mean that's that struck one of them essential component of the big league system is. Education. Side of that you know bad where where do we get new audience for. The answer is it's gay has it figured you're gonna become our your are you it's probably the art form and tend to think ears and so. For us there there it's essential that we're sort of constantly engaging an import he could Oster. Passion for the arts and then luckily our understanding the struggle that the arts they sweeping without any young people. So they what has been your experience when you go into the urban and middle school or high school wouldn't book in response to get. It didn't I mean it's incredible I mean that's that's the thing that I think is is sort of so heartbreaking about the public school funding struggles is that there is not a single school in the country that doesn't have kid who loved you are you want to be art and find meaning and passion and then yeah I'd give the purpose and it gives them so let's get them com and Ian. Yeah our level of confidence that a lot of people come don't gain for years and you know here's until they're in the they're you know well into their adult lives. And so very very of this real desire and he did. In this student bodies. Suited to do more and to be doing. Better work and more work and still be working with each other to be working with bear teachers and to be Orton with a professional in the beauty and so I think that. I think that the fact that. Public school arts funding is deserted the perpetual struggle it is the heartbreaking. Bring back that much it means so obvious. The people who work with all the. Have you ever encountered a student who maybe didn't realize they had such a passion for performing arts. Yeah tell until you introduced into them. Yeah I yeah I mean that's happened that's happened a couple of times I'm and we had a kid compute. Our summer program to a couple of years ago who. Came into the program saying you know I'm I'm not really sure this is my thing I'm glad it's an interesting in your mom thought it would be yet another thing to do this summer as well you act as our. I guess catamounts are here are you what happens and she actually ER two years into the you did agree now Canada soleil and that I I think that there's because they're the use as you could cancel her back under. I kind of impact the Mac kind of effect on it I am. Because it's it's it's OK about not just about art you know and I think that's something that a lot of people. Sort of lose lose focus upon the better the skill you get through. Art are still the best field of understanding does go to the comprehension and they're still there of how I look at something and evaluate and L is not post story with it another way you know offer a point of view that's different or challenge in existing perspective I'm. It is a little quiet almost every single career or not it no oil there there's great city building huge amount of potential for it to be. About more than just making mart itself pretty good what happens without arts. I'm you know I I think that while this study to show you that bit yup. From a sort of academic employing a grade to go down pretty reasonable doubt and the trickle down. You know all of the data and every longitudinal study at lever bit down about impact of arts. Student progress on the stage they be better at math class Islamic taking classes that the entire appliance. They're more likely to vote com. In low income schools students with who I beat Libby are two or three times more likely to graduate college and they're voted for the arts you know so so. The impact is. Enormous sin when he goes the way I think what happens is that says the kid who knows what's potentially benefit and so outlet for them in terms of engaging and understanding or kick it. I am in terms of feeling like it. There's something that they're passionate about it school you know you have that kid who who want to feel old engaged and want to feel elated and they're not I hit his brain is the macarena could end and when they leave darts that they les ability to feel like they're getting. Something that their passion about through this system until I think about the really critical. It's critical that they get that well grounded and balanced approach. So can we talk about now that the summer program that's coming up the user are sponsoring that's going to be a good program certainly can you hang out and talk with a about the sort limit. OK so what is the egg program. The egg program is. Tree in the teenagers the passionate teenagers that are already in high school that loves the art. To bring more than our backs their peers so. What we do during the summer is we actually bring in and ten to twelve extraordinary kids. And we teach them both the art and the business of theater so we re teaching them stage directions stage management design. Precision theater history play analysis for teaching them marketing we're teaching them budgeting we teach them fundraising which teaching them project management. So we're teaching them off holistic set of skills. And then in the final weeks to program we work with them to develop an advocacy program religion teach their skills and bring them back to their high school. In order to enrich their program review found a new program. If they're schooled and happier. Who MM what kind of response we received that sounds pretty music and it's it's actually you know is. This is risk and we sort of the program and a lot of people were like you know. Kids don't wanna come for seven weeks they don't wanna work hard every day we don't you know 'cause I waste my unsolicited I know it's an irritation and so shocking you know like. So you know we've we've grown steadily over the last three years this coming summer is the fourth year of the program. And every year we have. No multiple almost all the kids go back to their schools and do incredible projects and our first year. We had a young Lee who's fifteen to act tour school and she noticed some facts. This movie where in English classes and freshening classes they were setting Romeo and Juliette for the only in 43 minutes. And you know that's a three hour place it's very difficult to get through it and Shakespeare in the language is really difficult to understand unless you're actually here to be performed. And so she worked with a bunch of people in the professional world who she recruited. To create a 43 minute cuts. Of Romeo and Juliette that could be performed. In front of the freshman English classes and she did that for her whole high school. While and so it's it's these it's little things like that but we also have from last year we have. Eight a young man who went back to their school and has been creating a technical curriculum. So that it's the students in that school can actually learn technical theatre as well as the art of theater so that there can be pretty. Built here programs and the teen years strain that freshmen sophomores and so it it's an apprenticeship and meant to ship around within the student body. That gives both my upper class students opportunity created a teaching man to younger students and give the owners and the opportunity to learn skills. From the oldest into or leaving school. It's pretty outstanding it's eat into the results have been far out of what even I expected and we started the program. You know it turns out when you give these kids. These extraordinary kids the tools they need you give them the skills even the confidence in his needs said. These kids come out of this program with a lot of knowledge that the most extraordinary thing EC is that they come out of it with a huge amount of confidence. In and so I mean we don't need to do you think it's. We we we have to estimate a little bit just because some of these numbers are the track but but we think and a in the three years even running the program I think there are our graduates is. Created something along orange bills 400. I'm opportunities for listings to engage with you are formed in various ways about performances that those. Students have done that come out of an opportunity to me or something like three or 4000 students like forty to schools. I'm. So there's this spread that is really. It's it's it's way better than we had hoped honestly if it's. Yen in the to be clear that eat teen graduates. In our years sin that's you can see how if we can get more and more of these kids in the program and train them we can start to treat him in the ultimate vision. Is to create a core. Of young people to help to support and defend. The arts in their schools. And have the skills the ability the confidence. I'm in the poised to do that and that's really what we train teach. Ultimately that's our learning outcome is we want the kids that leave the program to half that poise the confidence and those tools and he believes that's a pretty enormous ripple effects. Yes I think I think we've noticed that there. It's been very gratifying to see that just because that was the original intent of the program and the more we expanded the more we kind of get more kids to more results we see we don't see you know it stayed about the same week the more kids in the program and last year we had nine. This hero can have twelve. The more positive effects we see it across. The schools in the city are there still is there still availability to get involved in the league program in the summer. There is he had the and we're still in the middle of accepting applications soon. Cuba have kids that learned in ninth grade tenth grade or eleventh grade. More through going into. They're ninth tenth eleventh or twelfth grade so we're really looking for is kids that Stiller are going to be in high school the following year. Not graduating senior not a series CES is necessary for. Not for graduating senior. But I the applications are open until April 1 look at you can go online to our site to apply. It's a HTTP. Slash slash I'm I guess I N dot GO ASS. Slash apply. And has not collapsed. And it's a simple application he takes about probably. Thirty minutes to fill out this essay questions. And then we bring in the tenants that we think will be most successful. Pre interviews now we talked to them while we're really trying to find folks that are passionate to have the maturity to accomplish these. These projects the next Shearson Ceci ultimate goal. Iran and other real passionate love for theater and it's pretty intensive pray it's a hell how many weeks is this it's seven. A little bit part of the program seven weeklong and it. At least nine to port there every day a couple of days delete it's a little bit locker. Which I think the kids to see each of those is we want to be like to meet that there is a big bill later. I am you know and then there is work that we expect it to be up well so it's it's really like being in school. It's just. School at all focused on 1 thing I am Bernanke Don did that that always makes some blasts last look at knee ligament strain of the ball market actually fund guys. I write us. This but it's you know it's reading plays than during kospi ended and them and he. You know any images that represent character and doing 32 composition Pete didn't like that so it's it's just continuing to engage dork that. I'm that happens during actual the actual cost I'm. Is there a performance aspect to the Susan mostly the other side of performance that he and his. Sorry. Yes yes literacy we we view over the course of the summer we could actually make eleven plays at based at a local production so. Every Friday during the program they get a little neon. Collaborative crease and project where we give them a piece of source material that somethings sort of randomly could be a song could be on the could be. Picture that we are non line therapy data that. The history textbook or something like gotten under sort of criteria. Dominique you know negotiating Blake. I'm everyone below and on speed yet that 32 boots are being good movement back and saying and we of them and our have to make a play off. I'm that he got every Friday and then in the middle of the program that's what we get the program we get a single elite which is my favorite part of the Berger who I am where we actually bring in professional actors and every day at Manningham because I think its production. These production team as the director of speed manager and then three or four designers in the best of luck sadly cutting down realm. I'm given a script and two professional actors who have that script memorize. And that man and they start working on antennas 5 PM they perform a fully produced version of that plane. And and the next day they rotate jobs and do it again sir did you at the director on Monday becomes. Due today. So the latter on Wednesday etc. etc. and the idea that every day for that whole week. And then the last week not last week to the program we switch into the long form devised your performance. I'm that they make themselves at an original production at the kids put up guns great indirect couldn't perform and design and all that kind of stuff and that actually gets performed. I'm in the evenings or an audience that week so it's too and to click that. While that sounds so. Amazing Imus is blow their minds yeah we've got this I think it does I think you know what we're trying to capture is we're trying to capture. Especially during fail we are trying to capture the sense that when you're doing these shows. In the show must go on and if it doesn't. You really engaged so many different people. You really have to respect the fact they're using their time in your respects the fact there's a lot aren't you in order to create the work. I'm and it's not just there's a concert to numb and have to leave it to that status but I don't think the idea is that I'm. You know we we want this speaker we treat pretty student could be speaker failure is not only. Possible. And maybe even probable but OK you know that bet you you're allowed to make mistakes here allowed today you hit off. I am we care more about our eLearning and are you growing band is this the perfect version of this clay. And it's better than anyone ever done or I'd say at college kids I'm pretty regularly I'm not worried about a half hour art I'm worried about health committee are hard getting. You don't count is. Now does this sort of the emerald same as that well coming go conclude. But work ethic and professionalism like that I'm. Never never really got to do it up and and I have to about it. Okay no thanks for joining USA today issuing that they don't burn director of Eisen thus thanks have been and so. So John what makes an ideal candidates it to get in this program color kind of qualifications does a student mean. You know really what we're looking for our kids that have a passion for the art form and we're looking for kids that wanna make a difference the wanna change their school for the better. You know if if you feel like you have within you the ability to you. Can bring more theater tear pierce. You have the passion for theater you don't really need a huge amount of experience and turned this program we really. And construction decree tomb that allows us. People with a huge amount of ski experience in a ton of value out of it but also you know. We've had fourteen or fifteen year old in the program that have gone on to do really extraordinary things. I'm in their schools and they certainly didn't have a huge amount of experience meeting theater before. They went into it and didn't do most students have some sort of theater macro labor they've done performance of some sort curve for sure they have some connection to theater they've they've experienced it there and you know as he said. They're intrigued by it or they're passionate about it because they've had a couple opportunities to do it. And and one of the things we're trying to do is get more of those kids to be exposed to theater you know the more of these graduates and advocates that we put into our schools. I'm more opportunities I mean eighteen graduates and 400 plus creative opportunities for other kids and some of those kids that. Had never had an opportunity before XD theater. It's kind of like once you get bitten by the bug it's gas Larry I mean who doesn't like. Going out and acting back to you full on a stage there's a lot of people who love to get the attention for but also there are a lot of people left were created leaning groups. I'm there's a very resilient unique I think she in theater. Quality to it it teaches you how to engage with other people in a way that's both constructive but also respects the fact that you have a point of view. You know we talk a lot about their eyes and last about how business can learn huge amount from theater and and this is one of the aspects that we thinks you know is preparing these kids not just go back and be advocates not just to be furious and we've had kids go to some of the best programs in the country. For theater. But also just to be. Really really great people to work with some really really create that have really successful careers using these skills in the future. Collaboration is so important and I'm sure they've they're learning that skill first and foremost right well yeah I mean do you do what's cool about it is that we're teaching them. That they can both have their own ego and their own point of view. But also they have humility if they have the ability to engage with people you know through trust and to respect. They can actually create something even better. Because they have that humility and they know what they want and what they're looking for any of the confidence to voice it. And that you know that's kind of at the heart of a successful theater process and I think you know my experience working business has banned the that's at the heart of a successful process. I'm really in any work environment. So on the last minute or so we have Kirk told told our RNC and how they can find out more information maybe get signed up for classes and they and when the deadline shares of the deadline is April 1. The application. And is bats eat each cheating he. Slash last. I isn't it it Eisen dot the last slash apply guys. The you can also go to artists repertory theaters site. They are partner. There this year so artist repertory theatre is this is an extraordinary theater it just became alert theater which is do you regional theaters it's one of and she classifications. Of theaters in the country nationally. Indeed have an extraordinary community focus they have this focus on both. The Portland community but also on the community of artists that bring the arts two Portland's. And this is. I think I'm the one of their efforts actually bring that community focus. And and make an impact in the ecosystem here in the city. Very cool mr. sounds so great since opens the most high school students right. Yeah it's open to all high school students in the region took it's gonna be located Irish repertory theatre. Gideon and access to the entire facility. Which is huge we've been in smaller black box seat as the other years. And but yes it's located are conservatory theater it's open to any high school in the region. You just have to apply. And done. We take a command. You know can get ready for and he does. She's usually have to miss you if not for the faint of heart this this program is not for the faint of heart and courage. Well it's been really fun thanks yeah thank you so much for having me John's they Jack executive director of Eisen the last thing to be limited scope thanks. Mitchell's go is an Entercom radio Portland public affairs program I'm Gary blocks of if you're involved with the nonprofit or public affairs organization or do you have an idea for an upcoming show I'd like to hear from you. Visit microscope PDX dot com and submit your ideas you can also go to the station's website and submit your information there. Thanks for listening to metro scope and enjoy the rest of your weekend.

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