Juilliard artists to share talents with students in Samar

Chelsea Ainsworth and Kendra Samson

Six artists from The Juilliard School will visit the Philippines June 4 to July 1 as part of an outreach program to perform, teach and “create meaningful exchange” with Filipino artists and students.

The visiting artists are led by Filipinos Leonides Arpon and Kendra Samson, the first Filipina recipient of a full scholarship to the Juilliard School of Dance. They will be joined by dancer/choreographer Chelsea Ainsworth, clarinetist Brian Gnojek, artist Kyle Netzeband and chamber musician Midori Samson. The program called Project Philippines 2012 is currently raising funds for the trip — via Kickstarter — with a goal of $2,500.

“As a passionate team of dancers, musicians, and one visual artist, we are excited to share our talents with individuals in many communities. We hope to learn from the Filipino culture as well as create meaningful exchange,” said Ainsworth in the project’s Kickstarter page.

The team will spend time in Northern Samar, one of the most underdeveloped provinces in the Philippines, and Manila, providing free arts education and “creating a safe space for young people to communicate and express their realities.”

“The mission is to have an open exchange of ideas, information, and ways of life with the communities through interactive classes and open performances,” said Samson.

Project Philippines began in 2008. “We are returning this summer to expand on this program to incorporate visual arts and music,” she said.

Leonides Arpon in a 2006 performance.

Students of the San Isidro Elementary School in Northern Samar

The idea is to “empower discipline and self-confidence” in Filipino children, said Arpon, “to spread hope and a positive vision for our arts and our lives.”

But before they leave, the team is holding a fundraising concert “Art for a Cause: Project Philippines 2012” at the Philippine Center’s Kalayaan Hall on April 30. The team members will perform, joined by their friends dancer and model Ritsuko Arpon, composer Molly Joyce, classical musician and Bach disciple Evan Skinner, classical choreographer Manuel Vignouelle and violinist Charles Yang.

The Philippine Center is located at 556 Fifth Avenue. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets will be available at the door starting at 6:30 p.m.

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