By Alyssa Seidman
On Oct. 21, the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts will host its annual Swing for Kids Golf and Tennis Tournament at The Creek Club in Locust Valley. For more than 20 years, the benefit has raised funds that have supported Arts Education at Tilles.
Every year members of the Tilles Center Council of Overseers (benefactors for the venue) and the Swing for Kids Committee (benefactors for the event itself), its patrons, and sponsors compete in golf and tennis events. Their participation is done through underwriting and ad contributions that raise money to profit Arts Education.
After the scheduled events take place, The Creek hosts an evening celebration for all in attendance that includes a live auction, which includes tickets to a one-week stay at the PGA National Golf Resort and suite tickets to an Islander’s game, a raffle drawing, and an awards ceremony for the event’s winners. The auction items are donated by local corporations such as Wit and Whim and The Waterfront Center, as well as by Tilles council members. All proceeds go towards providing workshops for schools and child-friendly performances for young students on Long Island.
“Every student deserves a comprehensive education that includes the arts,” said Stephanie Turner, Tilles Center director of Arts Education. “The need for creativity, innovation, and deep critical thinking skills are essential as our world becomes more interconnected and diverse each day.”
Turner elaborated the purpose of the Tilles’ sponsored Arts Education events: “Experiencing in-school workshops conducted by our artists and attending performances at Tilles Center allows students to interpret, analyze, and evaluate aesthetically by making connections to an array of cultural perspectives and ideas.”
Peter Tilles, the founding chairman for Swing for Kids, said, “The most important part of this event is what it enables Tilles Center to do for schoolchildren all over Long Island. All funds raised at Swing for Kids support the Arts Education Program at Tilles Center. Because of
[its] success, schools across the island can give their students what they often cannot provide, an educational arts experience.” Although Tilles supplements Arts Education series to over 40 schools in Nassau and Suffolk counties, the budgets at certain institutions make it difficult to provide bussing to these events.
“Arts Education is very important because it gives kids the opportunity to view the world in a new frame of mind,” stated Emma Barishman, a sophomore Musical Theatre major. “The first [live performance] I saw was “Beauty and the Beast” on Broadway, and it left me with the impression that everyone listened to show tunes growing up.”
Research from ArtsEdSearch, an online clearinghouse that collects and summarizes high quality arts education research studies and analyzes their implications for educational policy and practice, demonstrates that participation in the arts improves reading readiness,
fluency, and comprehension. According to the online source, research finds that arts education helps students exhibit more divergent thinking, and partaking in media arts have the potential to develop reading and writing skills for all youth.
Arts education is [crucial] to giving children a well-rounded education, [and we hope to] make sure that kids on Long Island are not short-changed in their education as a result of cuts in the arts,” said Tilles.
To encourage Long Island schoolchildren’s appreciation for the arts, Tilles will be hosting shows and supplementing tickets for performances of “Stuart Little” and “The Monster Who Ate My Peas” later in the season. The fundraiser gross can range from $200,000 to $350,000 with a net worth of $125,000 to $200,000 going directly toward Arts Education.
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