High school students from LaGuardia High School, aka the Fame School, have been hosting a series of free public information sessions for New York middle school students. These sessions are designed to help the next generation of young artists determine whether, and how, to pursue admission into LaGuardia, New York’s only public specialized high school for the arts. The first information session, hosted online over Zoom, had over 220 families attending, including kids from all five boroughs who are interested in seeking admission to the exclusive and storied school, which last year had an acceptance rate under 6%. Tomorrow, August 20th, will be the next online session, which already has over 270 families registered.
The info sessions are hosted by LaGuardia’s student-run organization, Take pART, which has a mission of increasing access to, and inclusion in, the arts for young New Yorkers. In pre-COVID days, the club was founded to distribute free “house seat” tickets to LaGuardia’s marquee shows, like its legendary annual All School Musical, to middle school kids. The All School Musical takes place in LaGuardia’s 1000-seat Concert Hall, which is officially licensed as a Broadway Theater, and features the stars and working artists of tomorrow. Golden Globe-nominee Ansel Elgort starred in one such LaGuardia musical; Timothe Chalamet, the youngest Best Actor nominee for an Oscar in history, quipped that he never was cast in a LaGuardia musical because the talent pool was too deep. With live performances at LaGuardia indefinitely suspended due to COVID, Take pART decided that the best way to encourage young New Yorkers to embrace the arts is to recruit them.
The club, founded by Elena Critelli (President, and Violist) and Eason Rytter (Vice-President, Actor and Singer), are giving middle school students and their families an online overview of each of LaGuardia’s artistic studios: Dance, Drama, Instrumental Music, Technical Theater, Visual Art, and Vocal Music. Student representatives from each artistic discipline spoke about their artistic and academic experiences, their audition processes, and answered live questions from the attendees at their recent session on August 13th. LaGuardia’s audition process can be a grueling and nerve-wracking day for aspiring 8th grade artists under the best of circumstances, but this year, concerns of safety and distancing have made the logistics around auditioning an additional source of concern and uncertainty for students applying to LaGuardia. Take pART is trying to help alleviate the worries of this next generation of artists by lighting the way for them. The next free information session will be held August 20, 2020 at 7:30pm. Registration is available through the Take p’ART instagram account, @lagtakepart.
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