HAATz Off to Pioneer Teachers of MPS Column:
It has been said that reading, writing and math are the keys to education. It has been said that with these keys, the individual will have what it takes to be successful in life. While there may be some truth to this, Constance Clark Reimer would beg to differ with this point.
She has a passion for children that resonates through her work with the African American Children’s Theater (AACT), that she founded in 1989, “following a family tragedy which highlighted the overwhelming need in her community for adult-directed nurturing, creative arts for youth.
In an interview with this dynamic woman, Constance said that “the Arts should be first for all children. They must have a creative mind to sustain the information given by the teacher. Educators must have an open mind to educate students with the Arts. With arts in education, the students will follow you to the moon. Arts are a strength that must be cultivated in the child.”
These words ring true for her. “For nearly 22 years, as AACT’s Artistic/executive director, Ms. Clark Reimer has directed all of AACT’s programs, producing more than 45 youth-driven musical theatre productions and creating the Academy of Theatre Training and Leadership Development, a unique after school theatre program which has mentored over 1,000 central city children in an intimate, supportive environment,”
You may be wondering what led her to the arts. It was family. She gives credit to her mother who saw that her daughter had a creative spirit about her. And what did Constance do with this creative spirit? She “pursued a successful professional performing career. Her background includes many stage performances, voice-overs, radio, television, and industrial fi lms.” This phenomenal lady has been honored for her work in the arts and youth programming with such wards as the Trailblazers Award for Creativity from Alpha Kappa Alpha, the Outstanding Service Award from Potawatomi Bingo-Casino’s Miracle on Canal Street, The Milwaukee County Board’s “Planters of the Positive Seed” award and the Jack Rosenberg Award for lifetime commitment to social justice.
Her educational background exemplifies the importance of arts in education. Constance received her education from; the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, and the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music.
Constance is an integral part of the artistic community in Milwaukee. She is the face of arts in education. She is the voice for arts and children coexisting as one. She is AACT.
In recognition of her work, she, along with other talented directors of successful performing arts ensembles, will be recognized by the Historic African American Teachers (HAAT) of the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS). This event will take place on March 26, 2011, in which HAAT will honor ‘Historic African American Artistic Directors’ with the “Gerald Wallace Lifetime Achievement” Award at its luncheon #9. They will receive The Historic African American Artistic Directors (HAAAD) Award which is named after the late Gerald Wallace for his artistic leadership and playwright talent.
In a time when cuts in education have included the arts, it is nice to know that in the Milwaukee community, we had an individual who is a drum major for including the arts in the overall development of children.