Press Release by OCPS
National Superstars Join with Local Celebrities to Encourage Students to Get Involved in Arts Courses in Their Schools and Post Their Own Videos to Join the #ThePlaceForYou Movement
Orlando, FL (April 20, 2021) – The Orlando/Orange County community is teaming up with local and national celebrities for a social media movement to celebrate the Arts and to remind students and parents that the Orange County arts classroom is absolutely The Place For You! As Florida public schools return to full face-to-face instruction for the 2021-2022 school year, it is important that students reconnect with their arts families and experience the social and emotional benefits associated with arts education.
“Here in Orange County Public Schools, we know what the studies show about a well-rounded arts education: Students have higher test scores, higher GPAs, and students involved in arts courses have a lower rate of dropping out, and these statistics extend across socio-economic boundaries, race and students with disabilities,” says Scott Evans, Senior Director of Visual and Performing Arts for Orange County Public Schools.
In a series of personalized videos, national superstars will join with local celebrities like Sofia Deler, a recent graduate of OCPS and star of the recent Netflix hit “The Prom,” as will Michael James Scott, who played the beloved “Genie” in Aladdin on Broadway, to encourage students to get involved in Arts courses in their schools.
Local arts organizations are in on it too: Artists from Creative City Project, The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, Mad Cow Theatre, Renaissance Theatre Company and others will all take to social media to promote #OCPSArts as The Place For You! Students, teachers, and other members of the community will be encouraged to create and post their own videos as well.
Cole NeSmith, Executive Director of Creative City Project, immediately joined this initiative: “I’m a graduate of OCPS — I went to Boone High School — and the arts are my life. I know what the social benefits of collaborating with other people to create a work of art can do for a person. It’s life-changing, and we want to make sure our local students are taking advantage of that.”
Celebrity videos touting arts classes as The Place For You! will hit screens beginning today. The project’s Coordinator Donald Rupe, who is also the Artistic Director of Renaissance Theatre Company, says, “We hope this becomes a movement. We want people to share their own stories and tell the world what their arts education has meant to them, whether they became professional artists or not. The arts classroom truly is the place for everyone.”