Meet Ivy Bennett, A4L Program Director who started working with A4L as a Teaching Artist, and now oversees our Lewis Arts Studio and ArtWorks Internship programs, in addition to some of our after-school partnership sites. 

 

What brought you to A4L and how long have you been with the organization?
I started as a dance Teaching Artist and transitioned into administration in 2007; I have been with the organization for 16 years. I was freelancing as a choreographer and dance instructor prior to my introduction to the organization, so it was a perfect fit.

What is your day-to-day at A4L like?
I check in with Teaching Artists and Site Managers regularly to ensure that programs are running smoothly. Some days include site visits, where I am able to see the magic of the arts in person. I get to meet students, parents, and site staff; I love hearing about the progress that students have made and what fun they are having in our programs. On days when we host our ArtWorks internship and Lewis Arts Studio programs, I am in the office assisting as needed.

Tell us some fun facts about you.
I am a Florida native. I love the outdoors, but dislike bugs. Road trips are my favorite form of travel, and I love to discuss finance and money.

Do you have an artistic or non-artistic accomplishment you’re most proud of?
I received a “Lady of Liberty’ award for the work that I have done with Arts for Learning within the Liberty City community. I grew up in Liberty City and the community means a lot to me. Being honored amongst other powerful women in the community was a career highlight for me.

What has been a life lesson you’ve learned through the arts?
I found my voice through the arts and have learned to show up, even when I am afraid.

What inspires you about the work A4L does?
The children and the lives that we change. I have witnessed firsthand how the arts give students permission to find their genius. Once they do, they blossom and it’s a beautiful thing to witness.

Do you have an impactful A4L story to share?
There are so many. One in particular happened several summers ago in our Wall(In) program, where students worked with Architect (Germane Barnes), professional Teaching Artist (Chat Travieso), to research the remnants of the race wall in Liberty City and create monuments for fabrication. By the end of the program, several students shared that they had never thought about going to college nor did they know what an Architect was but they were now interested in the field and furthering their education after high school. A six-week program made a lifelong impact on those young people.

A4L is an amazing resource that helps not only the students, but their families. Your continued support keeps all of us excited about new possibilities and futures.

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