Hello! My name is Parker Harris, and I am the Lead Student Coordinator for Arts Everywhere. I am a sophomore from Snow Hill, North Carolina, and I am studying Dramatic Arts and Performance Studies. I hope this post finds you safe and healthy. The start of the semester has been like none other. I know feelings of anxiousness and discomfort are lingering across our campus community. Make sure to take some time for yourself. Times are tough, but we’re tougher!
Since campus closed in March, I have been spending a lot of my time reading, learning, and leading my organization Kids On Stage. Kids On Stage is a youth community theatre group for ages 4-18 based in my hometown. We staged our first production, Shrek The Musical JR, in August of 2016 and have continued to produce musicals year after year. Since that summer, we have staged productions like Frozen JR, where we made it snow on the audience, and the timeless classic, Into The Woods JR, featuring a massive fabric forest on stage.
Like everything this summer, our incredible lineup of shows (I was FINALLY supposed to direct High School Musical!!) had to be postponed, but I wasn’t going to let that stop us from making art and telling stories that matter. I called up my closest friends and colleagues and talked through many options for summer programming until I came across notes about a production I was working on titled HEAL. The concept was something I came up with after Hurricane Matthew left our community in disarray. While that version of the idea didn’t make it to the stage, it was clear that the message of hope and inspiration was incredibly relevant. The result was an inspiring production performed safely, drive-in style!
All that is to say, even in the middle of a global pandemic, the arts are not canceled. Yes, the arts may look different, and yes, it might be hard, but we are Tar Heels. We can do this. We have to do this. I encourage you to continue searching for innovative ways to stay creative this semester. Our arts community is resilient and I am confident that there will be soon be virtual concerts, workshops, and other wonderful opportunities provided by our student organizations. However you choose to engage in the arts the semester, know that Arts Everywhere is here to support your creative endeavors!
I look forward to seeing how you leave your #HeelPrint soon!