As anyone who has moved to a new town knows, first come the obligations, followed by the opportunities. Where to live, shop for groceries, and send the kids to school are part of that first list but it's the opportunities yet to be discovered that lead to truly memorable experiences. Let me share with you how the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center has become one of those opportunities for our family shortly after arriving in the area from Texas.
In Houston, fine arts was among our priorities. Thanks to my brilliant ex-wife Bonnie, our daughter Aidan spent four years at a fine arts magnet school which focuses on helping each child "develop their individual talents in the arts and to understand the relationships between academics and the arts." Our girl excelled, participated in the school choir in fourth grade, and we were grateful. Then a job opportunity for Bonnie in Milwaukee came suddenly over the summer and she chose Shorewood as the place to call home.
The abrupt change of scenery meant scrambling to find new arts resources in Milwaukee, and we were fortunate to hear about Milwaukee Children's Choir from a PTO leader in the Shorewood school district. Bonnie arranged an audition for Aidan with the artistic director of the Milwaukee Children's Choir, and I took her to it. When my daughter and I met Marco Melendez, a gracious and joyful man, we were delighted to hear he's from Texas. We were even more delighted when Mr. Melendez offered Aiden a spot in the Girlschoir.
A few weeks have passed since then and a visit to the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center has become our Tuesday ritual as my daughter rehearses under the direction of Sarah Zietlow. As a parent, I am impressed by MYAC's attention to creating a safe and secure environment for the kids. Bonnie and I weren't able to just take her to rehearsal without stopping at the front desk to get a sticker identifying us as parents. (Following a parents' meeting, we now have badges to wear during every visit.) I also enjoy knowing an open space for students and parents to sit, relax, work, and connect is always available when we're there.
Beyond the elementary school community--which we are still getting to know slowly--I have a strong sense the community we are now a part of at MYAC will be enriching and rewarding to all of us and lead us to many new opportunities, valuable connections, and heartwarming friendships in the coming months. The time spent there has already given us a glimpse of other arts opportunities we may explore in the future, whether as participants or as audience members. I'm eager to get acquainted with the work of First Stage and African American Children's Theatre, and I'm sure we'll make time to see more than a few shows in the upcoming year.
Finally, I welcome the families at MYAC to introduce themselves to us anytime. We love meeting new people, especially ones who can lend a helping hand as we adapt to life in Wisconsin. We're just beginning to explore the arts, culture, and entertainment opportunities here in Milwaukee, and would love to hear your recommendations.