CITY OF PELL – The Pell City Center for Education and Performing Arts received a $ 10,000 grant to expand its Spotlight Studio program.
The Alabama State Council on the Arts said in a press release that it has awarded $ 814,100 in federal relief funds to 63 arts organizations across Alabama, including CEPA, as part of the Alabama Arts Recovery Program. The statement said federal dollars from the US bailout funded the program.
CEPA executive director Jeff Thompson said the center was grateful for the grant. He added that he had asked for money to expand programs, not necessarily to recover from the pandemic.
“I don’t think we’ve ever been at the necessary backup point,” he said, referring to CEPA’s operations during the pandemic. “We have been very clear that we are definitely looking for an expansion rather than just a recovery, but I think we have been rewarded for it.”
Thompson said the center was looking for ways to adapt when the pandemic forced a hiatus from theater performances, but they were able to do so successfully.
Instead, he said he wanted to use the money to expand Spotlight Studio, the audio and video production program CEPA launched for its theater clubs in county schools during the pandemic.
Thompson said the program has two parts: “The Black Box” and Spotlight Films. “The Black Box” is an audio drama-based podcast series where theater clubs work to create a podcast episode from an original script that they create themselves. Spotlight Films, which recently screened its first film “Miss Christmas Business” at the Birmingham Sidewalk Film Festival, is a program that takes a script from these podcast episodes and helps students make it into a short film.
The first film was written and shot by students at St. Clair County High School. It originally started as the “A Hallmark Christmas” podcast episode.
Thompson said CEPA plans to repeat this process over the coming year. According to the rules he provided, the scripts for Season 2 of “The Black Box” will be selected from those submitted by members of each theater club, with the winners produced in podcast form. He said that one of those podcasts would then be picked to be made into a movie.
Thompson said he believes these programs and the arts in general are important for students because they allow children to enjoy life and think critically about situations they may not have. normally.
“It’s a window into yourself and the rest of the world that you don’t have anywhere else,” he said. “This is just the start, these programs allow people to work hard for the things they love, that they want to do, to become leaders in areas, to tackle projects that they don’t. never have the opportunity to live otherwise.
Thompson said it can be life changing for students.
“It sometimes changes their purpose in life,” he said. life, they want to be better, they want to work harder, they want to think more. This is really what we want to do, we want to give them the opportunity to explore this.
Taylor Mitchell, Daily Home reporter covering Pell City.