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The Amazing Way This Organization Introduces Students to the Arts

Act One is a phenomenal local nonprofit foundation that serves to engage Title 1 students with the arts, and I recently sat down with president and CEO Geri Wright to discuss how (and why) they do this.

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Geri Wright, the president and CEO of the Act One Foundation, has joined us today to discuss how this nonprofit organization benefits local children. In Geri’s words, Act One’s primary function is to “provide access to the arts for students in Title 1 schools.” She calls this their signature program. Act One is still quite young, having only started in 2012, but has already achieved great things. In their very first year, they took over 6,000 Title 1 students on a field trip. This is amazing in and of itself, but the growth they’ve seen since then is even more impressive. Right now, Act One is set to send over 47,000 students from across the Valley on an arts-related field trip. What Geri and the other hardworking individuals involved with Act One are doing is so crucial, because the arts definitely suffer when budget cuts are made in schools. And while a lot of other outreach programs may have the capacity to invite students to performances, they lack the ability to transport these students to and from venues. Act One, meanwhile, fulfills this need. Geri has done fundraising work in the Valley for 25 years now, spending the bulk of that time as the Heard Museum’s chief development officer. She also spent time working with the American Red Cross and the Arizona Theater company.
Art education should be part of every child’s education, and with Title 1 schools, this is not consistently the case.
But of all the work Geri has done giving back to our community, her involvement with Act One is something she finds particularly exciting. She loves to engage students and to watch them discover possibilities they never knew existed. “It’s a life experience [for these students],” says Geri of the field trips sponsored by Act One. Not only do these experiences open students up to new interests and passions, but they also offer teachers something to draw upon later during lessons in the classroom. In terms of their actual process, there are four steps Act One takes to make these trips possible: They pay the art organization for tickets, they pay for the students’ transportation, they provide teaching guides to complement the art organization’s guides, and they provide educational resources for teachers to draw upon later in their classrooms. And, when the budget allows for it, Act One also provides books for the teachers’ classrooms to supplement the experience. The bottom line, according to Geri, is that “art education should be part of every child’s education, and with Title 1 schools, this is not consistently the case.” Of course, they are always happy to receive help from people who believe in their cause and want to get involved. The best way to reach out for more information is by visiting their website: Monetary donations are always greatly appreciated, but other forms of involvement are also more than welcome. If you are a teacher or are involved in an arts organization, you should absolutely get in touch with Geri and the other great people at Act One. As always, if you have any other questions about today’s topic, or about any of your real estate needs, feel free to give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you soon.