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Spotlight on TAE14 – Emily’s story

by Adam Brant | Mar 24, 2018

Robin Maria Pedrero shares the joy of curating a Twitter Art Exhibit and an update about how TAE14 has benefitted Emily and other students at the Center for Contemporary Dance.

In this post Adam Brant chats to Robin Maria Pedrero (@robinpedrero on Twitter) about the 2014 Twitter Art Exhibit (TAE2014) held in Orlando, Florida (USA) and discovers:

  • What her favourite memories of volunteering as the TAE14 Curator are.

  • How the funds raised have helped Emily, one of the students who benefited from a funded scholarship to the Center for Contemporary Dance from the sales of TAE14 postcards.

If you’re in need of motivation to get involved with the TAE we hope you’ll find Emily’s story as inspirational as both Robin and I have. Your involvement in the TAE, and the funds raised from buying the donated art postcards, really does make a big difference for the designated charity each TAE supports!

Robin extends her thanks to everyone for continuing to create and express love and caring through the TAE.

What are your memories of volunteering as the TAE14 Curator?

Volunteering as the TAE14 Curator brought so much joy to both my life and others I worked alongside to make the exhibition happen. Lots of people participated in different ways to make the TAE14 a success, from those who created the art, volunteered, hosted, danced and purchased art, through to everyone who shared their experiences of being involved in the exhibition with others.

I thoroughly enjoyed:

  • Meeting a vast array of artists

  • Opening the beautiful artworks as they arrived in the mail

  • Seeing the Orlando community embrace the TAE

  • Watching how the fundraising from the TAE art postcards donated from around the world made a direct impact in my community

  • Seeing how the act of making and collecting art, made possible by the donations of artists from around the world, was able to uplift the children who attend the Center for Contemporary Dance.

One of the benefits of being the TAE14 Curator was having the opportunity to purchase some of the art postcards I adored. These are now part of my home, continuously bringing happiness.

If you had to pick one favourite memory of being the TAE14 Curator what would it be?

It would probably be the day I brought TAE founder David Sandum and his wife Kjersti to meet with Dario (the Artistic Director at the Center for Contemporary Dance). They sat together to watch a class perform a dance, and I recall them receiving lots of hugs from the children. David and Dario still have a heartfelt relationship from this initial meeting.

I cannot say how overflowing with gratitude I am to the Downtown Arts District of Orlando, and Donna Dowless, who helped sponsor TAE14 and make hosting this large event in Orlando possible.


Emily’s story

So many people from around the world participated to make a difference and the ripples of goodness continue. Craig W. Johnson (Executive Director of the Center for Contemporary Dance) shares the story of Emily, one of the students to benefit from a scholarship to the Center funded by the TAE14:

The Center for Contemporary Dance - Twitter Art Exhibit

A photograph of Emily dancing in a class at the Center for Contemporary Dance

One of the many great stories that have come out of TAE14 is Emily’s, who has both Asperger syndrome and Down syndrome. You can see Emily’s first contact with us (and learn more about her) by reading an article by the Orlando Sentinel about our National Dance Day 2015 event.

Scholarship funds raised during TAE14 were used to help Emily enter ongoing classes at the Center for Contemporary Dance. She has been attending class with us every week since 2015 and her first year of dance was fully covered by TAE funds.

Today, Emily is able to express herself more clearly, manage her emotions more masterfully and leverage improved motor skills to do more for herself, including simple tasks like getting dressed without help.

Emily has performed in five public recitals since coming to us in 2015. To perform on a big stage in an unfamiliar space and in front of hundreds of people is a HUGE deal for Emily. And she keeps asking to do more performances saying “stage” over and over again for days after each show. Thanks to TAE, we’ve managed to turn Emily into a star in more ways than one: Emily is now ASSISTING with classes, helping to welcome and work with new students who enter an unfamiliar classroom environment!

Emily is a great success story and emblematic of the many students with special needs who need scholarship funds in order to attend dance lessons with us–lessons that equip these students with stronger social, emotional and motor skills, making entry into the job market and independent living more probable. This is the goal of our programs, to assist families in giving their child the very best possibility for long-term success in life.

On behalf of over 50 families who have benefited from TAE scholarship funds, THANK YOU for helping us to change lives through dance!”

Craig W. Johnson Executive Director Center for Contemporary Dance 3580 Aloma Avenue #7

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