SARASOTA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10)– In addition to presenting high-quality professional productions and plentiful artistic opportunities for artists of color, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe is committed to arts education that utilizes the organization’s authentic voice to celebrate Black achievements, history and culture. While its education outreach efforts have grown organically over the past six years, an investment by an area foundation will seed significant growth of its education programming.

To support WBTT’s efforts, which fill a unique niche in Sarasota’s arts and culture landscape, the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation recently invested $100,000 in WBTT’s education programs for youth and adults. These funds will support Jazzlinks, which brings history lessons to life for area high school students; Stage of Discovery, a free summer musical theatre camp serving minority students; Rhythm & Tales, which offers important life lessons for elementary students through musical fables; the WBTT Voices free community forums; and staged play readings.

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This grant effectively doubles WBTT’s budget for educational programs while covering guest artists’ fees for new after-school programming. WBTT is also planning to expand its adult education to include dance, acting and playwriting lessons. Current and expanded education programs are being overseen and implemented by WBTT’s new Education Director/Artistic Associate Jim Weaver.

“We are so grateful to the Barancik Foundation for this investment, which will enable us to increase our reach, capacity and impact,” said Julie Leach, executive director of WBTT. “Not only does this grant affirm our place in and objectives with regard to the local arts education realm, it also ensures the continued growth and stability of our education programs, so that we can better serve the community for years to come.”

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Recent funding of $2.4M from Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation creates workforce pipelines, supports health equity efforts, and boosts work to promote diversity, equity, and access through the arts.

“This funding will strengthen the organization’s educational outreach at a time when inclusive and integrated arts experiences are so critical,” says Teri A Hansen, President|CEO of Barancik Foundation. “We hope others join us in this support for a treasure of our community.”

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For more about WBTT or to learn how you can support its education programs, call Debra Flynt-Garrett at 941-366-1505, ext. 106 or email dfgarrett@westcoastblacktheatre.org, or visit westcoastblacktheatre.org.