EVDG VOL.3 - Page 70

From NeVaughn Brown to the Reader, The article below is about a woman of excellence that I have come to know and admire. She has supported our endeavors and the endeavors of our colleagues that give back to our hometown of Camden, NJ, especially the youth. We usually hold a Q and A type interview for pieces like this but this time I chose to do a little something different. In this article you will here from the source herself. An extraordinary woman disguised by ordinary circumstances:EVDG Hi, My name is Cynthia Wallace Primas. I am President/CEO and Founder of the Institute for the Development of Education in the Arts, better known as IDEA and doing business as the IDEA Performing Arts Center. My love for the arts started when I was growing up. My brother was a visual artist and so was my mother. I started IDEA in 1996 in Camden NJ, 20 years ago this year. IDEA started at the kitchen table with myself and another parent from Camden. Her and I approached the school district and asked if we could explore the possibility of creating a performing arts high school in the city. The Camden school board with the help of the superintendent created a resolution that allowed us to form an ad hoc planning committee of interested citizens to explore the idea of creating a performing arts school in Camden. One of the first things our committee did was to go to Washington DC to see the Duke Ellington School for the Arts and to meet the founders. One of the things the founders suggested was that we form a non profit to serve as a friends of organization in support of the school once it was up and running. We came back home and started IDEA, Institute for the development of Education in the Arts. Our nonprofit had a board of directors who helped us in advocating for the formation of an arts high school. In 1999 three years after starting IDEA the camden school district took on the challenge of starting the Creative Arts High School in Camden. We are happy to say we served as advocates for this endeavor. Although that project was complete we continued to expand IDEA as a viable arts education and advocacy group. We started first with our jazz program by bringing jazz legend Dr Donald Byrd to Camden. He eventually shared his music and math theory with us and the youth were able to produce a jazz, hip hop, bebop music cd with him about his life, using their phone numbers to produce melody. In 1999 we started our jazz camp which we called the Music by the Sea Summer jazz camp. The camp was a partnership between IDEA and Chicken Bone Beach Historical Foundation Inc in Atlantic City. For ten years, our kids from Camden Creative Arts High School, the Philadelphia Clef club and Atlantic City High School Music department came together to