We recently sat down with Performing Arts Administrative Assistant, a recent graduate of Emerson’s Theatre Education master’s degree program, SiouxSanna Ramirez-Cruz, to get her take on the importance of arts education and hear about her experiences as an arts educator.
We learned about SiouxSanna’s involvement in arts education, which began when she was only twelve years old, and her interest in working with a wide-range of constituents. Her work has spanned the gamut from newborns to senior citizens in community-based organizations, private/public schools throughout Massachusetts, as well as, theatre training programs and in higher education. Currently, she is the director of a musical theatre program for children between the ages of six and fourteen and the Director of Education of the Jerry Saint Cloud Foundation which strives to connect Boston’s youth to the arts.
For SiouxSanna, arts education is valuable do to its “ability to change a person, to make us better people.” That element of humanity lies at the heart of SiouxSanna’s approach to the arts. “There’s a spark that happens,” she said. “It’s the idea that there’s a light that inspires people.”
SiouxSanna urges those interested in pursuing teaching to look at “every moment as an opportunity to teach. Every opportunity is viable. Be open.” To hear her talk about her experience in Emerson College’s Theatre Education master’s degree program, it is clear that she approaches her time as a student in much the same way. She entered the program in order to learn from her colleagues and “to be a better teacher for my students.”
Extending her interest in the arts in education beyond theatre, her primary area of focus, SiouxSanna is a free-lance illustrator and is developing two children’s books series. One book series will help educators incorporate theatre education in the classroom, while the other will focus on a range of lessons from astronomy to mathematics grounded in multiculturalism.
Ultimately, SiouxSanna uses arts in education to empower students and she urges educators to use power, and give power, in a positive way.