Texan kids get free music and dance classes

A redeveloped arts centre in Brownsville, Texas, will offer free classical music and dance classes to underprivileged children in the surrounding Buena Vida neighbourhood. The project is led by Brownsville Society for the Performing Arts (BSPA) and is part of a USD5.8m (€5.1m) redevelopment.

‘The Historic Downtown Cultural and Entertainment District will be a year-round historic, cultural and artistic attraction that will make Brownsville the premier heritage travel destination in the Rio Grande Valley,’ said BSPA president George Ramirez. Ramirez added that he hoped the new centre would create ‘hundreds of jobs’ in an impoverished part of town. The new centre will be known as the Brownsville Performing Arts Academy (BPAA).

University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Music (UTRGM) will house its academy in the new space. UTRGM teachers will then provide tuition to local students, with their time paid for by money from the United States Housing and Urban Development Fund. A second partnership with AllegroBalletSchool will offer ballet tuition.

BPAA plans to follow the El Sistema music education model pioneered by Dr Jose Antonio Abreu. El Sistema improves students self confidence, discipline and other personal skills through music tuition. BSPA hope the new centre, located in the downtown Stegman Building, will open in 2017.