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Arts Education: Lift Every Voice to air on WJCT

Published Thursday, March 31, 2016



WJCT will air Any Given Child Jacksonville’s Arts Education: Lift Every Voice event on Thursday, March 31, at 8 p.m. and again Sunday, April 3, at 2 p.m. The event, which was held on January 14 at WJCT, featured inspirational keynote speaker Sonia Manzano, of Sesame Street fame, as she shared her journey from theatre student to pioneer for Hispanic women in television.


Manzano’s keynote address and the subsequent panel discussion were filmed by WJCT and turned into a one-hour segment that will be part of a larger conversation about arts education in Jacksonville.


The panel of local and national experts in arts education included Dr. Mai Dinh Keisling, visual arts educator at Paxon School for Advanced Studies; Mario Rossero, senior vice president of education for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; and Stanford Leon Thompson, founder & artistic director of Play On, Philly!


Manzano and the panelists spoke about the importance of identifying and closing the gaps in arts education, especially as they impact students of color. “I think it has a terrible impact when you don’t see yourself reflected in the society because then you get the feeling you don’t belong,” said Manzano.


Cultural Fusion, a collective of cultural organizations in Jacksonville, has adopted the theme of “Lift Every Voice” for its collaborative efforts in 2016 to support members of the community who have historically gone unheard. This event is a proud part of an important conversation in our community.



Any Given Child Jacksonville is uniting diverse stakeholders that include Duval County Public Schools personnel and students, arts organizations and artists, and business and community leaders. We have worked ceaselessly to raise awareness and build capacity to ensure every K-8 student in Duval County receives access to a high-quality arts education. Learn more at


Sonia Manzano has affected the lives of millions since the early 1970s as the actress who defined the role of Maria on the acclaimed television series Sesame Street. Sonia was twice nominated for an Emmy Award as best performer in a children series and has won fifteen Emmy Awards for her television writing. She is also the author of picture books No Dogs Allowed and A Box Full of Kittens published by Simon and Schuster. Sonia's first YA novel The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano, published by Scholastic, was a Pura Belpre honor, winner of the CLASP Americas Book Award, and acclaimed by Kirkus as a “stunning debut." Sonia’s Christmas picture book with Simon and Schuster, and a memoir with Scholastic were just published this year.



Nichole Terry