Good Life

Studio space grows on trees at PASCP

Liza Yen works with beginner and intermediate ballerinas during a class at the Performing Arts School of Central Pennsylvania on Tuesday.
Liza Yen works with beginner and intermediate ballerinas during a class at the Performing Arts School of Central Pennsylvania on Tuesday. adrey@centredaily.com

The footloose and fancy free of Centre County will soon have even more space to strut their stuff.

Already bearing the footprints of dozens of little dancers, the Performing Arts School of Central Pennsylvania is in the process of adding a fourth studio and some additional office space in an effort to accommodate its revolving door of young artists.

“It became very clear during the last full session that in order to continue fulfilling our mission and providing our students with a place in which they can joyfully pursue excellence in their passions, we needed to provide additional space for learning,” Sarah Kopac, PASCP executive director, said.

A nonprofit school for classical ballet training and youth orchestra, PASCP is augmenting its existing facility on Research Drive in State College with costume rooms, a locker room for dancers and more storage space.

It’s a big project — one that PASCP is inviting local residents to affix their names to — almost literally.

For $500, donors can purchase an engraved brass leaf that will be integrated into a tree shaped mural that is being painted by artist Phyllis Kipp. The name on the leaf can belong to anyone — a grandparent, a mentor, a friend.

“The mural is created with the intention of being able to continue to add donors to it. As of today, we have received actual and pledged funds for 27 leaves,” Kopac said.

Kipp’s tree was designed to hold up to 50 of the brass beauties, but can easily be expanded to accommodate more should the need arise.

The artist earned the trust of Kopac and the rest of the administrators when she created a few set pieces for previous PASCP productions.

Kipp is in the process of painting the tree on a 4-by-8 panel, which will be mounted and backlit on the wall of PASCP’s waiting room.

“The appeal for me doing this project is being able to support the performance arts. I appreciate the hard work that they do and what they offer to our community. My hope is that they will be able to build the larger space that they need,” Kipp said.

Among the donors that have already contributed is Barbara Palmer, who was well acquainted with PASCP, having attended performances by the youth orchestra and the school’s rendition of the classic “Nutcracker” ballet.

“Their presence is essential to the community,” Palmer said. “Life without art is lacking meaning, beauty and a spiritual joy. Students who are exposed to music, dance and visual arts early in life consistently do better in their school work.”

So far, PASCP has raised about $28,700 of its $40,000 goal, some of which will be put toward student scholarship funds.

The final renovations are expected to reach completion by January 2017, provided enough funding is raised. Those interested in purchasing in a bronze leaf can do so at www.pascp.org/support pascp/.

Frank Ready: 814-231-4620, @fjready

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