A new PBS special features an awards-laden actor celebrating how arts education nurtures and inspires the hearts and minds of students of all ages.
Art Happens Here with John Lithgow follows the six-time Emmy winner sharing his passion for arts education by joining students and teachers at four Los Angeles organizations and diving into four arts disciplines: dance, ceramics, silk-screen printing and vocal jazz ensemble.
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Art Happens Here follows Lithgow as he tries his hand at singing, dancing, printmaking and pottery, working alongside and learning from young people whose lives are being transformed by art. It will debut the pubcaster on April 26; watch a trailer here, and see the poster below.
Lithgow visits four organizations that are making a difference in the lives of young people: Self Help Graphics & Art, a pioneering Chicano community organization at the intersection of arts and social justice; the Debbie Allen Dance Academy, a nonprofit school offering dance classes to people of all ages; the Community Center of La Cañada Flintridge, home of a nationally renowned ceramics studio; and the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, a specialized public school open to aspiring young artists throughout Los Angeles County.
The longtime actor, whose credits range from Broadway’s the Changing Room and Sweet Smell of Success to TV’s 3rd Rock from the Sun and recent The Old Man, said he wanted to be an artist growing up and was inspired and encouraged by his public school art teachers. He has come to see those teachers as his heroes, responsible for instilling him with confidence, curiosity and a sense of self.
“Education involves much more than just the basic academic subjects and preparing kids for being tested and evaluated,” said Lithgow, also a double Tony winner and two-time Oscar nominee for Terms of Endearment and The World According to Garp. “Arts education is an anchor that provides a child emotional and social development and a sense of who they are in the world.”
The special is produced for PBS by PBS SoCal, in association with Shore View Entertainment, The Watershed Company, Ninetythree Media and Life & Thyme, Inc. Perry Simon, Lithgow and Juan Devis are executive producers, with PBS SoCal’s Tamara Gould serving as executive in charge of production. PBS SoCal’s Angela Boisvert is the producer.
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