My dream of creating an Arts organization in Camden, New Jersey became a reality in 1995 when I founded the Institute for the Development of Education in the Arts (IDEA). Since then, I have witnessed drastic changes related to the Arts, including school budget cuts that led to the scaling down and/or elimination of Arts education programs, declining audiences, technology driven competition for the attention of youth, which has adversely affected youth participation in the Arts.
I’ve had many sleepless nights, wondering how IDEA could succeed in the abovementioned environment to fulfill our artistic mission. These are difficult times indeed, but never has it been more opportune for community Arts organizations such as IDEA to open a new center.
We have been fortunate to collaborate with other Art and community organizations in Camden, and the resulting relationships will allow us to expand our customer base, develop new sources of funding, and reduce costs without compromising our mission or the quality of our programming. I only wish I had this opportunity 23 years ago!
It is a new dynamic for our organization, and it is a central part of building a sustainable Art community. We are leveraging our limited resources by allying ourselves with other Art groups, community groups, and businesses. Our shared resources will create the synergy needed to ensure that all organizations have the capacity to fulfil their own unique missions.
We are also keenly aware of the importance of the Arts to the creative economy, but as a community Arts organization, it is only relevant if we include those who have been left behind. Therefore, we are training Camden area youth in 21st century skills for Careers in the Arts and cultivating a new generation of creative content providers, as well as younger, potential audiences for the Arts.
We also hope to cultivate the community’s understanding of the intrinsic and fundamental value of the Arts, specifically reminding the community that the Arts positively affects how we think and feel, as well as helping us connect to our humanity.
Having a creative environment like the IDEA Performing Arts Center, meeting up with old friends and making new ones, exploring and displaying our unique talents, and creating a sense of community, might be exactly what we need during these difficult times.
We hope you will make the IDEA Performing Arts Center your creative place to be.
Cynthia Primas, M.Ed
(IDEA) Institute for the Development of Education in the Arts
IDEA Performing Arts Center @ the Parkside Arts Pavilion
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