Design for Sharing Turns 50

Dear Friends,

I hope that you and yours are holding up alright out there, staying healthy and looking after yourselves. Also, that you are finding moments of positive astonishment, levity and wonder within the gargantuan backdrop of what we are all in together.

I do miss being able to welcome you all at our performances. Admittedly, I was always a bit nervous to take the mic in hand and step momentarily into a pool of light, before the artists took the stage, to share a few thoughts and express our appreciation for your presence. With my nerves now totally realigned, I feel a yearning to return to that mic and see your faces in the audience. Writing will have to suffice for now, but my appreciation for your presence remains immense.

These letters feel akin to clicking off Morse code dispatches in the hope that they will find you and carry meaning once sent off through the internet. When I was a 5th grader, a friend who lived across the street insisted on teaching me the dots and dashes of Morse code in the event I ever needed them during an emergency at sea. To improve my skills there needed to be practice sessions, and these took the form of the two of us using flashlights for sending signals from our bedroom windows each night at precisely 11:00 PM. Spelling anything via the dots (short-flash) and dashes (long-flash) of Morse code made for a lot of gibberish. We would crack up the next day at the bus stop when sharing what we each thought the other had said. We tired of it after a couple of weeks, but given this possible emergency at sea one day, I made certain that I had mastered “S.O.S.” before moving on to other projects. His name was Matt, and he went on to become an accomplished scientist.

There is a great deal of work that UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance does with students, and this newsletter edition is about that work. With every kid in California and beyond unable to go to school in the way they were able to but weeks ago, we have heard ample S.O.S. signals from kids, teachers and parents and so we have put together some things for you from our K-12 program, Design For Sharing. Also, from Art In Action – our program for UCLA students and all who seek new ways of knowing through the arts.

In the spirit of my 5th grade self to yours:

—Kristy Edmunds,
Executive and Artistic Director
UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance