PORTRAIT OF AN ARTS ADVOCATE: Sara Lawrence-Sucato

PORTRAIT OF AN ARTS ADVOCATE   

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Sara Lawrence-Sucato
Art Educator
Sara Lawrence-Sucato is the Tour Manager and Outreach Instructor for the Dancing Wheels Company & School, in addition to being a company member. She is a teaching artist with VSA Ohio and OAAE’s Artists in Schools program.

 

Q: How did you participate in the arts as a child?

A: I grew up in the Columbus area, and my parents started me in dance lessons when I was a child.  I also took theatre, singing, and magic classes. Performing arts is what I grew to love. I am so fortunate that as a professional dance artist (performer, choreographer and teacher), I can do what I love and it’s my career!

Q: Describe your favorite “a-ha moment” in arts education.

A: My work with The Dancing Wheels Company & School as a professional dancer and as an outreach instructor allows me to spread our message of disability awareness and inclusion on many levels. It’s always rewarding to witness a young person realize that a person with a disability isn’t disabled, she is just differently abled.

Q: How do you practice creativity in your own life and / or what inspires you?

A:  I am inspired by seeing other professional dance artists excel at their craft, whether it be in the studio, classroom or on stage and I strive to be, create, educate and inspire at the highest level for me.

Q: Name one puzzle, or problem, you are working on in the field right now.

A: A person in a wheelchair will find it difficult, nearly impossible I might add, to obtain a degree in dance from an establishment of higher education. There are a small number of teachers who can accommodate physically integrated dance within their course of study. At Dancing Wheels, we believe that by broadening the base of teachers who are apt to teaching physically integrated dance, we can accommodate more students with and without disabilities within our studios and classrooms

Q: Name an arts educator who impacted you and how they influenced your younger days.

A: I have all of my dance teachers from childhood through college and at present as a professional in my field to thank. When I was very young, my teachers at Columbus Parks and Recreation and Powell Ballet kept dance classes fun and entertaining. At Columbus Youth Ballet, I further developed the love of dancing with such a broad spectrum of classes and a diverse cast of teachers showing me what all there is out there to do. At times when I seemed broken, both physically and emotionally, my teachers at Columbus Dance Theatre proved to be a huge support in my life. For helping to develop me as a person and as a dancer, and for influencing my teaching ability/persona now, I am deeply grateful to my teacher mentors.

Q: What can the average person do to advocate for more and / or stronger arts education in local schools?

A: Since we know that the arts in learning provide benefits such as academic achievement, critical thinking skills, and social and emotional development, then continue to integrate arts in education. Bring artists into your schools to work with teachers in enhancing the learning process through the arts.   


Portrait of an Arts Advocate is a monthly feature profiling an OAAE member active in advocating for arts education in Ohio. If you would like to submit your information or recommend an #artsed advocate to us, email akruse@oaae.net.

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About OAAE

Since our founding in 1974, by Dr. Dick Shoup and Jerry Tollifson, our mission has always been to ensure the arts are an integral part of the education of every Ohioan. Working at the local, state, and federal levels through the efforts of a highly qualified and elected Board of Directors, our members, and a professional staff we have four primary areas of focus: building collaborations, professional development, advocacy, and capacity building. The OAAE is funded in part for its day-to-day operation by the Ohio Arts Council. This support makes it possible for the OAAE to operate its office in Columbus and to work statewide to ensure the arts are an integral part of the education of every Ohioan. Support for arts education projects comes from the Ohio Arts Council, Ohio Music Education Association, Ohio Art Education Association, Ohio Educational Theatre Association, VSA Ohio, and OhioDance. The Community Arts Education programs of Central Ohio are financially assisted by the Franklin County Board of Commissioners and the Greater Columbus Arts Council. We gratefully acknowledge and appreciate the financial support received from each of these outstanding agencies and organizations.
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