Art Is In Season

by Sydney Downs

Supporting: March for the Arts 2021 for Duke Ellington School of the Arts Project

My Team: Third Years



Quiet as it’s kept, marigolds are blooming this fall at Duke Ellington School of the Arts, and I am one of them.

The special thing about Duke Ellington is that it is a community that accepts qualities that are often disliked when viewed through the lens of our society. Here they admire and validate everyone who has beauty on the inside. Duke is a place where art is allowed to do what it is supposed to do; shed tears, fill hearts, provoke change.  And importantly, they facilitate excellence even when there is adversity. 

Last school year, I studied Pecola in Lydia R. Diamond's play adaptation of Toni Morrison’s, The Bluest Eye. She was a young black girl who came of age in what seemed like a  gothic world during a gothic time, and the gothic community nurtured her development. Of the many things we can learn from “The Bluest Eye, “ we’ve learned that the townspeople,  the school, and  Pecola’s relatives were a big part of who she became. This is true for me, too, except despite the harshness of the pandemic and the biases and injustices of this time, I have you.   I am flourishing, and I continue to grow as a young woman in the arts because of you.  

Donating today to the Duke Ellington School of Arts Theatre Department’s March For the Arts Campaign ensures I will receive masterclasses from renowned actors, top-tier training from industry professionals, and professional production experience. As I enter into my 3rd  year of training this season, I ask you to give generously to this fertile ground. You are an essential ingredient in the soil that will cultivate my story, no matter what is going on in the world around us. Give in celebration of a community of artists, art educators, and the re-opening of creative spaces designed to help society grow and make us all feel alive again.

Thanks so much,



Click on the links below to see my most recent work.

March for the Arts, is the

Duke Ellington School of the Arts annual Theatre


Why do we fundraise?

In the Theatre Department, students aren't just taught how to act. They are taught how to create the stories they want to see. They are given the tools to shape the world around them with their art. Ellington relies on the generosity of parents and donors to ensure that our students receive the highest level of pre-professional training and performance opportunities. Donations enable them to create sets, craft costumes, power technical capabilities, hire additional instructors, and fund classes with Master Acting Teachers like the renowned Professor Vera Katz.




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