Our aim is to nourish curricula deprived of the arts while providing students from low socioeconomic groups equal access to creative programming.
Since 1989, the Theater and Poetry Project (TAPP) has been presenting free arts education in the form of poetry workshops, Meet-the-Author sessions, and musical theater and dance performances to the Paterson Public Schools.
We offer language arts enrichment in the form of in-class or virtual workshops led by professional poets for Paterson students, grades 1-12.
This experience allows students to meet children’s book authors and develop personal connections with literature while increasing reading engagement.
A published anthology showcases winning poems, which are presented annually by students in the PCCC Theater during an awards ceremony.
Professional shows presented in the PCCC Theater, including classic children’s stories and multi-cultural programming, offered to students, K-8.
It’s required by NJ law that all students have equal access to arts education. As a result, the state mandated learning standards define 5 artistic disciplines in which students are expected to be literate and fluent:
It’s true that arts education does not directly influence test scores. However, studies have shown that the arts have the ability to develop creativity, critical thinking, and innovation skills. We, along with the state of New Jersey, believe that the arts give students the tools necessary to become successful in their postsecondary careers and throughout the rest of their lives.
Exposure to the arts, as well as to the creators of art, is a life enhancing experience for the young people who participate in Theater and Poetry Project programming.
School 28 has participated in TAPP programming since its inception in 1989. Each student submits poetry to the annual contest and many attend the excellent theater programs. In 2019, our school was chosen to be a National Blue Ribbon School, a program that recognizes schools based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps. We believe the Theater and Poetry Project has significantly contributed to this prestigious recognition.
Over the years, the Theater and Poetry Project has enriched the lives of Paterson students, many of whom because of limited school budgets and constrained financial situations, have lacked access to the arts. But there are so many students in Paterson—some very gifted, some with just a thirst for the arts—who have flourished under what TAPP has brought to their lives in terms of creativity in both writing and theater. For Paterson students, TAPP has opened doors—ones that might never have been opened except for this outstanding and innovative programming.
Storytelling can be a form of community organizing. These stories and poems are testimonies to real lived life. Students flourish in asserting the power of their narrative, carefully crafting the beloved details of their perspective. There is great love and joy in opportunities like these. Learning moments like these raise the standard of our living. Young artists become tremendous ambassadors and advocates for their Silk City through their work. The Theater and Poetry Project is a servant leader by providing this space and tending to these relationships. The Center tends a garden in which we all grow.