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The Mann Center for the Performing Arts

December 2023 $300,000/36 months

The Mann Center for the Performing Arts is testing whether by connecting the dots between public high schools, stagehand unions, and performing arts houses, they can create a pipeline to good jobs in the performing arts industry for young people of color — a field that piques many students’ interests — while diversifying union membership. This project represents a new hypothesis for how large arts organizations might relate to their communities – by forging  pathways for community members to access careers in the arts through union apprenticeship. Currently, there is no direct connection in Philadelphia between public school programs and union apprenticeship in the performing arts. To carry out their experiment, the Mann team will transform a pilot program focused on non-performance-based careers in the arts for youth at Overbrook High School to include a postsecondary component and direct on-ramp to the unionized performing arts workforce. By directly connecting participation in that program with union apprenticeship via the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and forging partnerships with other arts institutions to host student apprentices, the Mann will create a new pathway for more equitable access to careers in the arts, which they will spread via partnerships with other performing arts organizations, and via the Mann’s growing national profile in the field.

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