As kids return back to school, our Board Member, Unissa Cruse-Ferguson, shares a message of her experience with the arts, the value it has had in her life, and why she is working with us to bring the arts to youth. Check out what she has to say:
I’ve always enjoyed dancing. When I was little, I never would’ve guessed that my devotion to flailing my arms, jumping high, and playfully kicking imaginary objects would evolve into a budding professional career in entertainment.
At first, I planned to attend either criminal law school or study marriage and family therapy in graduate school. But, towards the end of undergrad at the University of Maryland, my plan shifted. I had always dreamed of performing on a huge stage or making my debut on the big screen. But, I never knew how to begin. Finally, I found my way and am overjoyed with what I’ve had the privilege of accomplishing in such a short time.
A large part of why I perform is to give back to communities. I get to do what I love and still make a difference. The arts really brings people together from all backgrounds. Dancing, acting, singing, and more are positive forms of self-expression, which is very pertinent to our youth. Everything they experience affects their growth and development. Offering them a positive outlet to look forward to tells them that we care and that they matter. I don’t know what I would’ve done without the arts growing up. But, I do know that I will continue to transform the lives of our next generation, “one step at at time.”
SEE WHAT I WANNA SEE, by Michael John LaChiusa, is a musical about murder, faith, lust, and redemption. It is based on three short stories by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, who is regarded as the “Father of the Japanese short story” and Japan’s premier literary award, the Akutagawa Prize, is named after him.
The musical unfolds like a Japanese screen painting into three distinct tales that challenge the meaning of the truth and the contradictions of individual interpretation.
The tales include “Kesa and Morito”, which is the story of two lovers with secret plans for each other; “R Shomon” follows the investigation after a 1951 murder in Central Park; and “Gloryday” looks at the hoax a disillusioned priest concocts after 9/11 and the ramifications of that lie.