The Episcopal Fine Arts Department is pleased to announce a new cultural initiative titled "Episcopal & Jacksonville: Partners in Arts." The goal of ESJ\'s new initiative is to connect with and support local artists and art organizations in an effort to increase visibility for the school and local artists and companies, as well as produce high-quality performances and exhibitions that generate educational and cultural connections.

"Art-making is by nature collaborative. Episcopal is blessed with wonderful venues, galleries, and creative spaces. With such a blessing comes a desire to partner with local Jacksonville arts organizations and truly share the stage," said Katie Lebhar Black '95, Director of Fine Arts. "We want to be an effective resource for art making, cultural advancement, and community engagement. These partnerships and related events will tangibly demonstrate to our student artists that they can indeed pursue their passions after graduating as many artists in this city are actively doing. What a powerful lesson! We at Episcopal are excited to see where this initiative will take us, as we all endeavor to raise the profile of our great city as a place where the arts are alive and thriving!"

The first partnership in this new program is with Jacksonville Dance Theatre (JDT). JDT and Episcopal already have a longstanding relationship that dates back to the inception of JDT. The organizations share faculty, technical staff, and space. In early September JDT shared Episcopal's Munnerlyn Center stage with The Nancy Evans Dance Theatre from Los Angeles, and ESJ senior dancers. Episcopal students have benefited for years from the dancers and choreographers that JDT has offered.

Episcopal's second partner for the 2018-2019 program year is Barbara Colaciello of Babs\'Lab in downtown Jacksonville. Barbara Colaciello, owner of Babs\'Lab -- which is part of the CoRK Arts District in Jacksonville -- will be a guest director on the ESJ campus for "Chalk," a piece of storytelling that she collaborated with Al Letson to create. "Chalk" utilizes the genre of slam poetry to wrestle with the topic of bullying. ESJ students will perform "Chalk" on October 1 at 5:30 p.m. in the Sikes Theatre. The event is free and open to the public. "Chalk" will also be performed as part of the school day for ESJ students on October 2.

The third partnership is with Indigo Art Therapy Studio. The National Art Honor Society (NAHS) is comprised of 42 ESJ student artists. NAHS students decided last year to focus on teen suicide awareness and prevention as the group's initiative for 2018-2019. Indigo is a licensed art therapy organization that works with autistic children as well as others who struggle with all forms of mental illness, anxiety, and depression. NAHS will work Indigo Art Therapy Studio to educate the ESJ community on the benefits of art therapy. Indigo will be facilitating a workshop with NAHS students and speaking at the group's fall Coffee House event on Friday, September 28, on the Acosta House lawn, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The event is open to the public. Admission will be $5, with the funds going to support Indigo in its mission. The team at Indigo Art Therapy also will be coming to talk to ESJ students at the end of September and prepare them to lead art groups with their peers on campus so that others can benefit from creating art to decrease anxiety while building supportive communities. Episcopal will be offering facilities and student volunteers to Indigo so that the organization can bring their students to campus to create.

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