By Tina Jenkins Bell
BAPA School Liaison
Anthony Whitson Martini is excited about recent and future collaborations, allowing schools to start, reinitiate, or enhance their curriculums to include music and arts education.
Martini was hired by the Beverly Arts Center (BAC) in November as the Education Manager for School Partnerships. He can already see proof of the hard work BAC has put into helping schools and community organizations integrate and manage various kinds of arts programming on a consistent or long-term basis. BAC has worked with between 30 to 50 schools to offer arts programming before, during, and after school.
This past school year, Martini worked with several elementary schools, including Sutherland School, to provide assistance such as access to teaching artists, instruments, and other music-based offerings. Understanding the importance of music education to children’s cognitive, movement, and social development, Martini wants to expand BAC’s music education offerings at other elementary schools, particularly for Pre-K through 5th grades when music classes may not be offered.
Two other BAC school collaboration initiatives excite Martini. One is the BAC’s music instrument library which houses a variety of instruments that are available on loan to school partners working with BAC to integrate music education. The library defrays the cost of music programming, too.
“We want students to have access to a variety of instruments, so that they can learn first-hand, not just by watching videos,” Martini said.
The other initiative is a grant from the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation to help school and community partners affordably integrate music education into their curriculums and programs.
The Paul Angell grant funds will be used to assist a collaborative effort to raise funds for the Morgan Park High School (MPHS) band as well as to enhance other music education programs at the school.
During school spirit week of 2021 and led by band leader and teacher Shemeka Nash, Beverly Area Planning Association (BAPA) toured MPHS band facilities and discovered the band’s decades and decades of illustrious awards and accolades. The need to replace certain instruments, which, even with constant care and attention by Nash, had buckled under the weight of age and use, was also apparent. BAPA called attention to MPHS band’s need for assistance. The Beverly Are Arts Alliance (The Alliance) and BAC responded immediately to the call. BAC Executive Director Denise Powell was BAC’s original representative in the group, and Martini took over that role when he came on board at BAC.
“Our partnership between BAC, BAPA, The Alliance, and the incredible creative team led by Shemeka Nash at MPHS has been focused on making sure that students are getting the attention they need, especially after the pandemic and particularly as it relates to music education,” Martini said. “What we are hoping for is to help MPHS revitalize and reenergize their music education department, particularly their band, by giving individual attention to particular sections of instruments. We’re looking to have sectionals where we have a specialist work with certain instrument groups, like brass instruments—trumpets, trombones.”
The Paul Angel grant may also help MPHS band needs, such as instrument replacement.
“Ms. Nash has agreed to this type of partnership and that is the most important, acceptance. In addition to the principal being accepting, having a band instructor who is open to having a collaborative educational environment is just incredible,” Martini said.
As part of this effort, The Alliance has two planned summer concerts to raise funds to match BAC’s efforts.
During the 2022-23 school year, Martini looks forward to working with Morgan Park Academy to offer a week-long arts camp that will include instruction in visual arts, devised theater, and dance, and culminate in a show.
Martini welcomes conversations with principals and community organization administrators who want to integrate arts programming into their offerings. If interested, email Martini at email@example.com.