Mayor Edward Rendell

Point Breeze Performing Arts Center

Program Narrative

PBPAC's Arts Academy, under the direction of Karen Pendergrass, Artistic Director and Wayne St. David, Resident Choreographer who both have over 25 years of experience in dance and dance education set the tone for the Center's high quality of instruction and participant performances. Artistic Excellence guides the recruitment process of PBPAC's stellar artist-instructors and all PBPAC programming, which primarily targets low-income, inner-city, at-risk K-12 students, including students with disabilities, and diverse audiences of underserved communities. PBPAC's educational philosophy sets up "challenges" that inspire the human spirit to realize its greatest potential. As the organization evolved and our students continually surpassed our high expectations, performing arts ensembles were developed. PBPAC's premier ensemble is The Positively to the Point Dance Company (PTTP), established in 1992 to engage and train our most aspiring student actors, dancers, choreographers, and directors under the guidance of professional artists; to promote the awareness of the arts as a catalyst for self-expression and community revitalization; and to provide positive cross-cultural experiences with peers through the arts. PTTP has appeared in over 500 performances delighting audiences throughout the region, across the country and abroad. As PBPAC's largest and oldest ensemble, PTTP has received yearly awards and international acclaim during tours in British West Indies, Australia, Bermuda, and Peru. PTTP's repertoire boasts innovative dance productions and dramatic pieces by established professional and advanced student choreographers. Also, PBPAC is extremely proud that one of PTTP's original company members has been selected to the Alley Dance II Company becoming only the second youngest member in the company's history.

From the beginning, it was apparent that PBPAC needed to expand its operations in the realm of community development and social service programs to meet the community's increasing needs. The arts are the center of the program's focus, but they also are a vehicle to identify, talk about, resolve, and confront the area's real social problems. Consequently, in 1994, PBPAC created "The Point Community Development Corporation," a subsidiary of the arts Center, to handle economic and social development programs.

Our mission is to use the performing arts as a social action strategy that cultivates talent and revitalizes communities. Reflected in this statement, is our commitment to holistic: physical, emotional, and psychological 'Arts for Social Change.'

To engage youth participants, we offer the most diverse and affordable curriculum of any arts organization in the city. Our multi disciplinary classes include ballet, Pointe, modern dance, Jazz, tap, hip-hop, African dance & drumming, karate, acrobatics, visual arts, creative writing, etiquette, drama) piano and voice. In many cases) youth are initially attracted to these classes and then progress to standard dance classes such as ballet.

PBPAC is currently offering a free ballet class for boys who are registered in the Academy for other classes. In addition to the diverse class curriculum) PBPAC's ensembles provide youth with professional development opportunities as well as the opportunity to perform in front of their peers.

The Youth-At-Risk Education Project was designed to supplement the skills our students learn in class by helping them learn to cope with the challenges of living in a community crippled by poverty. The students meet monthly with a psychologist who teaches them about health, nutrition, conflict resolution, and how to deal with other social pressures.

In addition, we have partnered with the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Work to help provide our students with additional individual support including School-to-Career counseling and college mentoring.

Of the fourteen program graduates, thirteen are currently attending college. The only graduate not currently in college is traveling the world with the Alley II Dance Company. In addition, all the students have exhibited a zero pregnancy rate. These dramatic successes are even more significant when considering that the local public schools send less than 10% of their graduates to college.

Because of their commitment to excellence and to making a difference in their communities, PBPAC has pledged $2,000 scholarships and a computer to each student. During school breaks, many PTTP alumni can be found working for the organization continuing their successes as proud PBPAC alumni.

Ed Rendell, America's Mayor was a lifeline for PBPAC through its infant stages and his efforts have been instrumental in helping us become a community institution. He has helped us navigate our way through city bureaucracies, find new funding sources, and has been personally responsible for funding we have received. Currently, America's Mayor has agreed to sit on our National Advisory Board and he has committed his continued support wherever his endeavors take him after he leaves office in January.

PBPAC understands that to serve as an anchor for community revitalization the organization must develop strong partnerships with local leaders, residents, politicians, youth, and businesses within the community. To achieve this, PBPAC became the lead facilitator of the "Point Breeze Community Network" made up of 40 local social service agencies, block captains, concerned citizens, and churches. PBPAC has also developed numerous partnerships with other local organizations such as Health Management Alternatives, Temple University, the Philadelphia School District, City Year) Philadelphia Housing Authority, and the Art Institute of Philadelphia to improve the quantity and quality of its community outreach/cultural programs including the Christmas Caroling Caravan. The week-long Caravan unites the community to help distributes toys) food and gift baskets, and holiday cheer throughout the city. In addition, our large community volunteer base and Parents Group Association stand testimony to our community's overwhelming support for our programs.

PBPAC depends on earned revenue, which accounts for 46% of the organization's revenue. This includes admissions, tuition, performance fees, satellites, and sponsorships. The remaining 54% income comes from corporate, foundation, government, trustee, and individual contributions. Our largest funding sources are Lila Wallace Reader's Digest Fund, William Penn Foundation and Pew Charitable Trusts. In 1999, the City of Philadelphia contributed $9)692 for our programming. In addition) the city committed $1,000,000 as a match towards a $6,000,000 matching grant from the State of Pennsylvania for community economic development, which includes a new state-of-the-art facility for the Arts Academy. 


Home Search

The United States Conference of Mayors

J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
1620 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Telephone (202) 293-7330, FAX (202) 293-2352

Copyright 2000, U.S. Conference of Mayors, All rights reserved.