Head of the classes
by Glenn Moore
Aug 24, 2012 | 4026 views | 3 3 comments | 36 36 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Elizabeth  Sayre is the new arts education coordinator at the Grand Theatre Center for the Arts.  She will be responsible for overseeing course offerings in dance, drama, music, ceramics, visuals arts, special workshops and professional development series.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
Elizabeth Sayre is the new arts education coordinator at the Grand Theatre Center for the Arts. She will be responsible for overseeing course offerings in dance, drama, music, ceramics, visuals arts, special workshops and professional development series. Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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The Grand Theatre Center for the Arts has a new leader for an expanding list of classes for children and adults.

Elizabeth Sayre, a 47-year-old native of Wilmington, Del., began her position as arts education coordinator July 5.

Her duties include managing and developing the arts education programs in dance, drama, music, ceramics, visuals arts, special workshops and the summertime Professional Development Series.

The Grand hosted more than 143 courses and served nearly 2,200 students from July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2012.

“I am interested in trying to help the programs here grow in terms of student numbers and in terms of the ranks of available instructors,” Sayre said. “I would personally love to see the programs here reflect the cultural communities here in Tracy.”

Sayre most recently worked as a program specialist in world music for the Philadelphia Music Project, Pew Center for the Arts & Heritage, where she helped acquire grants for the musical organization in Philadelphia.

Sayre, who now lives in San Leandro, has long been involved in music, having played the piano and sung in choral groups since she was 5 years old.

In the early 1990s, she ventured further into percussion, and she has led women’s drumming circles.

She also completed postgraduate studies in ethnomusicology and has 15 years of professional experience in that field. Her long-term goals include deepening intercultural understanding through the Grand’s classrooms.

“I think a public art institution like this one is a great place where different communities can come and learn about each other in a safe place,” Sayre said. “I think it would be really interesting if we connect the different cultural communities and have offerings in all the artistic disciplines that somehow relate to cultural heritage or relate to Tracy’s history.”

As arts education coordinator, she will also help with collaborations with the Grand’s private and nonprofit contributors and will be a staff liaison to the Grand Foundation.

“I’m excited about being a public servant — I think the arts are a really crucial service,” Sayre said. “I’m excited to be in a place where the arts are so valued that there is a public government institution dedicated to them.”

In response to the loss of arts curriculum in many schools, Sayre said she would work with instructors to complement the offerings of local districts and home-schooling communities.

The Professional Development Series, a collection of summer workshops that began in 2011, may also grow under her guidance.

“I would love to see some of the programs give people a basic training so that they could go on in a more serious way if they want to, or it could just be a hobby — it could go either way,” she said. “I think it would be wonderful to bring regional talent through here, special events and teachers for professional development.”

Sayre said she would be getting to know the city and region but was initially impressed with the Grand and its place in the community.

“I think it’s gorgeous. It’s amazing. It’s a beautiful space,” she said. “I think arts are really a good medicine for people, and carry forward cultural traditions, and are so important and are often undervalued. I look forward to contributing to the future development here.”
Comments
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Macpup
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August 24, 2012
First off I'm in favor of arts programs, but here comes the question. Since the Grand has to be subsidized every year by Tracy's general fund (taxes)to the tune of $100,000, where is the money coming from to pay for this position? We have a Parks and Recreation Department that does the same overseeing as this position, so why not extend their duties to the Grand? The Grand has become another Amtrac and BART - never out of the red.
Ornley_Gumfudgen
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August 24, 2012
"We have a Parks and Recreation Department that does the same overseeing as this position, so why not extend their duties to the Grand?"

If ya are serious about findin an answer ta this very good question ya need ta look at th formation of th special interest group that got control of th Grand before it was built.

All of this sort of stuff once fell under th Parks an Recreation Department under which th Parks an Rec Commission an Arts Commission, once thair appointed by City Council, fall under.

But when th idea of th Grand came about some of th "money" in town wanted a free hand ta operate apart frum those commissions an managed ta get themselves appointed ta th Grand "commission".

Th formation documents an charter of this "Grand" group of people were studied by members of th seated Parks an Rec an Art's commission people at th time, th deficiencies an recommendations pointed out ta City Council an basically were told by Council not ta worry about it cus it wasn't thair business.

Cont

Ornley_Gumfudgen
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August 24, 2012
It's also why th Grand was a remodelin instead of a restoration, why th pipe organ, which was available to em at th time but not in thair vision an th organ chambers were converted inta balcony lodges whair such things didn't exist in th original theater when it was built.

Simply put, some of th politically influential money in town had thair own vision of what th Grand should be an th results are as ya seem at present.

They did a "Grand" job of remodelin th place an I admit it's a "Grand" buildin. But it was sold as a restoration job ta th public, which it ain't, an th runaway costs an operatin in th read costs passed over ta th City ta make up th difference.

So if ya really wanna understand what went on yer gonna have ta deal with th history of how it was all set up ta whair th "money" in town got what it wanted an th cost an mismanagement of th entire ordeal was passed over ta th City ta deal with an have yer tax dollars foot th bill.

Ya just might wanna talk with th people who were on th Parks an Recreation Commission at that time an they, if thair still around, might recall what went on.


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