Amazon grant helps Synetic Theater bridge the digital divide on arts education

Eleven months of virtual school was long enough for Isaac Miccolis.

Like many 5-year-olds, he struggled to pay attention to his class on the screen and missed seeing his Langley Elementary School teachers and classmates in person. He returned to the neighborhood school in Northeast D.C.’s Eckington neighborhood in February, but his art classes were still virtual. 

Then, this spring, Isaac’s school gave students art kits through an Amazon.com Inc.-funded program called smARTies Art-in-a-Box, designed to jump the digital access gap. The box included a flat piece of cardboard student artists could fold to make a stage and blank puppet characters for decoration.

The idea came from Synetic Theater, an arts and theater organization based in Crystal City. Christopher Rushing joined Synetic as director of education outreach shortly before the pandemic, and his team quickly pivoted to digitizing theater education by distributing show recordings to Alexandria middle schools. But he soon realized…

Read the full story from the Washington Business Journal.

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