Each week on “On a Mission” we talk to community leaders who are out to make a positive impact in the area. Today, our host Wendy Norfleet talks to Allison Galloway-Gonzalez from Cathedral Arts Project.
The Cathedral Arts Project mission is to enrich the quality of life in Northeast Florida through unleashing the creative spirit of young people.
To learn more, visit https://capkids.org
Short company description: The Cathedral Arts Project mission is to enrich the quality of life in Northeast Florida through unleashing the creative spirit of young people. By providing access to instruction in the visual and performing arts, we empower school-aged children to succeed in all areas of their lives. Our project, AGC Jacksonville, is a national collective impact initiative working to promote equity and access in arts education for every child.
What makes your company unique?: CAP is a nationally award winning arts education model and is the largest provider of multidisciplinary arts programs in NE Florida. AGC Jacksonville is the advocacy arm of the organization, convening, researching and activating our community to prioritize education in the arts for all children.
How do you define success?: Our idea of success is when our community is so arts rich that every child is able to engage in a variety of high standard and culturally diverse art forms and experiences in and out of school time.
Who in the industry inspires you and why?: I just finished reading, Taking Flight about Michaela Prince. She was born in war-torn Sierra Leone during the country’s decade-long civil war. Rebels killed her father, and shortly after her mother died of fever and starvation. Michaela had vitiligo, a condition that causes patches of skin to lose its color. In Michaela’s native land vitiligo was considered a curse of the devil. This caused her uncle to abandon her at an orphanage. There she was taunted and abused by the women who cared for the children. They called her the devil’s child. One day Michaela found a magazine blowing in the wind. On its cover was a photograph of a beautiful ballerina en pointe. Once Michaela saw this she found hope and determination to one day become just like that ballerina. Soon after the discovery of the magazine, an American family adopted Michaela, and she became the eighth of their eleven children, nine of whom were adopted. Michaela’s new parents recognized her talent for ballet. They enrolled her in ballet classes and supported her passion for the art. While attending the Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia and the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at the American Ballet Theatre, Michaela worked hard to develop her skills so that she could overcome stereotypes of conventional beauty and racial barriers in the world of ballet.
What is a tip for success that you would provide someone in your same industry?: The Arts are essential and needs passionate champions. The hurdles are never as great at the rewards.
What excites you most about your industry?: No other industry combines the creative thinking of artists, the giving nature of educators and the fiery passion of both!
What is the biggest challenge you think you or your organization is going to face in the upcoming year?: Arts education is always a victim of priorities. Our challenge is to take this critical moment and remind people that the arts are keeping us alive, together and innovating through challenging times. They deserve to be recognized as essential!