Category Archives: 10 Years, 10 Ways to Support

Celebrating 10 Years of Arts Education


In 2012, Progressive Arts Alliance has been celebrating our 10th anniversary of
utilizing contemporary arts and 21st century media to inspire students to reach
their full potential. If you weren’t able to join us in August for our
exciting celebration concert at the House of Blues, we’re inviting you to join
us our celebration continues into the New Year.

PAA Video

As we look forward to 2013, we’re excited to
launch the next 10 years of PAA.
Our plans include:
– Serving over 1,300 students per week
– A new office to better support our work
– A new strategic plan to support our

Please join us in celebrating the kick off to
our next 10 years by making a
tax-deductible contribution to show
your support.

How your donation supports our work:
– $50 pays for supplies for an animation project
– $100 pays for a workshop for 30 students
$250 pays for a need-based camp scholarship
– $500 pays for art supplies for two classrooms for the entire school year
– $1000 pays for a semester-long after-school program

Donate before December 31 and receive the following:
– Our collectable VIP Cassette with a gift of $50 or more
– Plus our exclusive 10th Anniversary T-Shirt with a gift of $100+

The work of Progressive Arts Alliance enlivens schools with the rigor of arts
learning.Will you help us move forward into our next 10 years?
Click here to donate now or mail your donation to the address below.

Thank you for your support and warmest wishes for the holiday season!



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PAA’s 10th Anniversary Celebration at House of Blues Cleveland



We hope you’ll join us for Ten Years of Rhapsody: A Progressive Arts Alliance Celebration on Saturday, August 11 at House of Blues Cleveland to celebrate PAA’s 10th anniversary of providing dynamic arts education programs to our community.

The event will feature:


– A Dance Party with Grandmaster Flash,
The Turntable Legend;

– A Performance by the PAA All Stars, PAA’s most exceptional students;

– Hands-on experiences for the whole family – learn how to scratch a
record and more!



– Local organizations will “battle” while
the audience decides who’s best;

– There’s still time to reserve your company’s
spot, call 216.772.4722 to enter.

Project 5 REUNION









We’re pleased to honor Cleveland’s own Project 5, a pioneering 1980s
break dancing group featuring Cleveland Councilman Matt Zone.
At the event, you’ll learn Project 5’s powerful story of how hip-hop and
break dancing united the members as youth and taught them valuable life
skills. The tribute will include a special reunion performance and a video
featuring original footage from the 1980s!



– Featuring gift certificates from locally owned businesses,
original art work, art-making materials, vouchers for unique
Cleveland experiences, and more!


-Balcony level VIP Lounge featuring exclusive pass holder

Event sponsorship opportunities are available:
For more information on these opportunities, please contact
email or call 216.772.4PAA.


Click HERE to buy your tickets now!


General Admission ticket includes access to the 7:30 pm performances
including the Project 5 tribute, Corporate Cleveland’s Best Dance Crew
competition, hands-on arts experiences, dance party featuring
Grandmaster Flash, silent auctions, 50/50 raffle and more!


VIP Lounge Balcony Access ticket includes general admission and
access to the exclusive VIP Lounge (located in the second level of the
main hall), two drink tickets (good for your choice of beer or wine), and
exclusive VIP opportunities.


An All Access Pass includes general admission, access to the VIP Lounge
during the performance, a ticket to the Pre-Performance
“Behind the Scenes” Dinner with PAA artists, and complimentary
valet parking. Begins at 5:30 pm, dinner served at 6 pm.

*additional Ticketmaster handling fees apply


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Looking Back: 10 Years, 4 Memories

PAA’s Founder and Executive Director Reminisces

Memory 3: Our ‘MacGyver’
Above: DeeJay Doc (right) watches student Aaron perform at Hip-Hop Camp 2004.
By Santina Protopapa

In 2004, we were in need of a new DJ instructor for camp.  Some dancers I had worked with in the past recommended that I contact Doc Harrill, aka DeeJay Doc.  Doc immediately brought a different perspective to teaching turntablism and DJing to camp.  His first order of business: make sure students know how to properly handle the gear at all times or what he calls “DJ etiquette.”  During the first student performance under Doc’s guidance, PAA artist-educator Dave McCullough looked at me and said, “Wow.  There’s such a difference when you watch students Doc has worked with on the turntables.  The way they pick up the needle.  They way they approach the turntables.”

Since joining the PAA team in 2004, Doc has continually brought new ideas and approaches to everything he does for our organization.  He’s also quite inventive and innovative in helping us solve problems with our gear and other hurdles we face.  His innovation has led me to call him the “MacGyver” of PAA.  From helping us better store and transport laptops to finding the best ways for us to “rig” our sound, I’m always amazed (and quite grateful) for everything Doc brings to our programs and especially to our students.  His strategies to help make things run more smoothly have always helped improve the quality of our programs.

Speaking of innovation, it’s been such a pleasure working with Doc over the years and watching him grow as a teaching artist. His thirst for knowledge and his enthusiasm for curriculum design has deepened the level of engagement our students have been able to experience.  I’m looking forward to seeing what Doc will bring to the camp as our students’ “scratch buddy” in the future.

Thanks Doc for all you do!

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Summertime at PAA!

Ten Years of Progressive Arts Alliance

Summertime at PAA!

Here at Progressive Arts Alliance, we’ve not only been enjoying
Cleveland’s hot summer weather, but we’ve also been enjoying
all of the dynamic arts learning experiences we’ve been able to
provide throughout Northeast Ohio.
Since June, we’ve been giving students of all ages the opportunity
to learn in and through the arts with programs ranging from
video production to printmaking to hip-hop.
Read below for a recap of all the exciting things that have been
going on this summer and be sure to click the links to some of our
students’ work samples!
This month we’re kicking off our 10th anniversary celebration with
our 10th Annual RHAPSODY Hip-Hop Summer Arts Camp.
We hope you’ll join us over the coming year as we celebrate
10 years of service to our community.
Santina Protopapa
Executive Director

RHAPSODY Hip-Hop Summer Arts Camp
PAA Allstars

We’re pleased to be presenting the 10th Annual RHAPSODY Hip-Hop
Summer Arts Camp this year at the Idea Center at PlayhouseSquare.
Click here to see the camp’s recent feature on WKYC TV Channel 3 with
Robin Swoboda. We hope you’ll
join us for our students’ exciting
show this Friday, August 12 at 3 pm at the Idea Center
that will showcase the music, dance, and visual art they’ve been working
on over the past two weeks.

Media Arts Camps

PAA was pleased to continue our work in partnership with the
Cuyahoga County Public Library system. We presented our
Media Arts Camps to students at the BrookPark, Olmsted Falls,
Parma Hts., Garfield Hts., and Strongsville library branches.
During our Media Arts Camps led by PAA
Artist-Educators Lauren Sammon and Josh Reith,
students learned how to make their own stop motion
animation videos, designed their own web sites, and created
soundtracks for their videos and web sites.
We enjoyed seeing all of the imagination and innovation
our students brought to each of these programs.
Click on the below thumbnails to visit students’ websites
view their animations:

Blob Boy AnimationTornado AnimationFlower AnimationPurple Cow Animation










Printmaking and Mural Design Camp at Judson 

Slideshow of Mural Design and Printmaking at Judson




Progressive Arts Alliance presented an intergenerational printmaking
and mural design program which gave older adults from Judson at
University Circle the dynamic opportunity to learn about printmaking
and the processes of designing a mural over the course of one week
while working with middle school students from Open Doors Academy.
Printmaking activities were led by PAA Artist-Educator Jen Craun and
mural-making activities were led by Meri Ruble.Participants in the
program each produced an edition of prints and as a collaborative team
completed an exciting mural about our community.

Video Production Camps
Video Production Camp








In addition to our Media Arts Camps at Cuyahoga County Public Library
branches, PAA also presented Video Production Camps at the Fairview
Park, Brooklyn, and Brecksville branches. Led by PAA Artist-Educators
Lisa Manzari and Carla Carter, students at our Video Production Camps
learned all phases of the production process and applied what they
learned by producing different types of persuasive videos.
The videos the students produced were informative and creative,
humorous and well edited!

Musical Soundscapes
Audio Recording Workshops
Musical Soundscapes






Our Musical Soundscapes Audio Recording Workshops visited all 28 branches
of the Cuyahoga County Public Library and were led by
PAA Artist-Educatorand professional audio engineer Doc Harrill with
help from our summer intern Stephen Phillips. Each session allowed
students to have the special opportunity to explore musical styles
from throughout the world through engaging in the process of
“sampling” audio clips. Students then produced
their own original audio recordings using recording and sampling
software on PAA’s Apple laptops. Click the graphic above to hear
some of the recordings produced during our Soundscapes workshops.

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Filed under 10 Years, 10 Ways to Support, Hip-Hop, Summer Camps

Looking Back: 10 Years, 4 Memories

PAA’s Founder and Executive Director Reminisces

Memory 2: Magic Happens in the Jams

undefinedAbove: PAA Artist-Educator Rep Life (Daniel Gray-Kontar) doing a chair freeze at this year’s Hip-Hop Camp jam.


By Santina Protopapa

It’s the end of the first week of our 10th annual camp and we just ended the last day’s activities the way we have been ending the first week of camp since 2004’s camp: with an open jam.  We decided to have a jam at 2004’s camp to give students the experience of how hip-hop emerged as well the environment that encapsulates the essence of hip-hop culture.

In a hip-hop jam, the DJ sets the tone for the party and artists from all of the other elements are punctuating and enhancing that energy with their dynamic contributions.  In our jams at hip-hop camp, we make sure to give students open time and freedom to express themselves and showcase their creativity and imagination.

There are so many exciting memories to share from our jams over the years.  There have been moments at each jam that allowed a student to shine who completely surprised me, our instructors, and other students.  I can’t help but think of Robert’s head slide while dancing and battling at our first jam.  Or the infamous MC battle that pushed everyone so hard that one young student ripped his shirt out of frustration to find his next rhyme! That MC battle sticks out in my mind because it also revealed one of our best freestylers: William.  I’ll also never forget Rolanda seamlessly looping records at one jam – representing the original skills of DJs who started hip-hop culture.  And I also can’t forget Anthony rhyming at our jam last year and telling everyone he’s “signing this beat like an autograph.”

Today’s jam also had some magical moments just like every year.  We saw Emanuwel dance with energy and intent in a way we never have seen before.  We also enjoyed sharing our students’ art work with projections of live creations.  And perhaps one of my favorite moments from today’s jam: seeing our instructors joining our students in being creative.  The ultimate surprise for me in today’s jam was seeing our MC instructor Rep Life jump out on the dance floor and really break and finish it off with a chair freeze.  I’ve known him for nearly 12 years and I had no idea he could hang with the b-boys.  It was a magical moment.  Especially after a few minutes before hand, he was so moved by the energy of our students that he whispered to me, “Watching these students is making me have a moment.”  Thanks Rep for reminding me what hip-hop is all about!

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Looking Back: 10 Years, 4 Memories

PAA’s Founder and Executive Director Reminisces

Memory 1: The Power of Partnerships


Above: Executive Director Santina Protopapa at Hip-Hop Camp, 2010 (Photo by Chris Ramsay)

By Santina Protopapa

It’s Monday, August 1 and the first day of the 10th Annual RHAPSODY Hip-Hop Summer Arts Camp just ended and I can’t help but be nostalgic and look back at how the camp has grown since we launched the program in 2002.

One of the most successful aspects of the RHAPSODY Hip-Hop Summer Arts Camp over the years has been the power of the collaborative partnerships we have enjoyed to present the program.  The camp launched thanks to a partnership we created with Janus Small, then director of the Center for Arts and Culture at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C).  Janus was excited to understand how hip-hop could be used in arts education and in theater settings.  I was thrilled when I casually mentioned to her that our new organization, Progressive Arts Alliance, was interested in presenting a summer camp for students that would enable them to learn more about the history and artistic expressions of hip-hop culture and she said “Absolutely.  Let’s do it here at Tri-C.  And by the way, I’m sending my son to camp too.”  Janus’ support allowed us to form the core curriculum that we have been honing over the years.  I’m so grateful for Janus’ vision to support an upstart organization and offer so much guidance in helping us to launch the camp.

After the camp’s first two years at Tri-C, Janus left the college to launch her own company and since Tri-C would no longer be able to host the camp without Janus at the helm, she referred us to Hathaway Brown School as a potential host.  While I was nervous about approaching an exclusive private school about hosting our young camp, I was extremely excited by the enthusiasm for hip-hop expressed by Hathaway Brown’s Marlene Leber, chair of the dance department.  Marlene helped PAA make a home for the camp at Hathaway Brown for three years.  Our partnership with Hathaway Brown enabled us to reach more students by providing better access to the camp for students who lived in the immediate neighborhoods and cities near the school.  This partnership helped professionalize our operations and also led us to meet students who would eventually become the PAA All-Stars (more on this in a later entry).

While at Hathaway Brown, we formed a partnership that has become the most enduring alliance in which our organization has engaged. Colleen Porter, Director of Playhouse Square’s Community Engagement and Education Department, generously offered the then newly opened Arts Education Spaces at the Idea Center at Playhouse Square for our camp’s culminating performance. The opportunity to perform in the professional facilities at the Idea Center was exciting for our students. Following the camp, when we were looking for a new venue for the program, Colleen suggested that we partner with Playhouse Square to continue to offer the camp at the Idea Center.  The camp has had its home at the Idea Center since 2007 and our partnership with Playhouse Square has given the camp additional infrastructure and has enabled our staff to present our best work in the best facilities possible.  We are so grateful for Playhouse Square’s commitment to supporting the local arts community and we are especially grateful for Colleen’s vision and commitment to “bring in as many students as possible to take advantage of the space we can offer.”

As we are launching our 10th Anniversary Celebration Year of Progressive Arts Alliance with this year’s camp, I am also grateful for our new funding partners who have signed on to support our RHAPSODY Hip-Hop Summer Arts Camp and the other outreach programs we provide throughout the school year.  These new national supporters include The Hot Topic Foundation and The National Endowment for the Arts.

 I hope you will join us as we begin our celebration of 10 years of engaging students in the special process of learning in and through the arts!

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