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Monthly Archives: March 2010

Fun New Ways To Support TAP

Spring is here and TAP is finding new ways to help our supporters give. Freshen up your office, your home, or treat yourself to a shopping spree by signing up with iGive today.

It’s completely free; all you have to do is list Theatre Action Project as your cause and every time you search the net or shop through iGive you are supporting TAP! Once you have signed up, install the iGive Toolbar. This way iGive is there for you every time you need to search, and with every search you earn TAP 1 cent.

Make a purchase through iGive within the first 45 days of signing up and you earn TAP a $5 bonus in addition to a percentage of your purchase.

Help TAP out and save yourself a hassle and money! Discounts and coupons are always available through iGive and most stores, as you will find, have free shipping.

Giving made easy my friends.

Also, don’t forget about King Florist’s “One Bloom at a Time” Program. Mention TAP when buying flowers and we receive 5% of your purchase.

Happy Wednesday!

Big Top Candy Shop

Well, I don’t know about you guys, but it’s Tuesday afternoon and I am starting to slowww down. I’m definitely in need of some sugar. Unfortunately, I will have to settle for coffee, but for everyone else out there enjoying this beautiful day you should think of heading on over to the Big Top Candy Shop on South Congress. This place is amazing and has every kind of candy you could possibly imagine. Treat yourself and the kiddos to some oh so yummy treats! And hey, if you’re in the neighborhood, drop by TAP and say hi! Candy welcome. 🙂

Update on use of Hotel Occupancy Tax Dollars

Hello Friends,
Thank you for taking the time to email the Mayor and City Council members regarding questions to the funding process for the Hotel Occupancy Tax dollars. Our emails, calls, and general speaking out, did not go unnoticed. Kevin Johns, director of AICP, sent a letter out to the Austin Cultural Arts Contractors, apologizing for the poor handling of the revision. I won’t post the whole letter here, but I will do my best to sum it up.
Currently, the proposed new language in the application has been deleted. The Law Department will be consulting with additional legal experts on the interpretation of the code; and, there will be a stakeholder group including representatives of the arts, the Arts Commission and hotel industry representatives to assist in refining the process. Mr. Johns goes on to say that his attention was for 201o to be a test year, a year in which data could be gathered on which organizations were not reporting tourism, or reported zero tourism. In doing a close examination of this group the City could potentially be in the position to help. The prelude to the new application was never intended as a death sentence and everything is being done to insure that the Hotel Tax source of dollars is legally applied. When the language and understanding of the code is finally secured, and still certain groups fall outside the tourism dollar portfolio, the City is willing to develop a safety net and suggest appropriate funding.
Well, I think this is a great start! Definitely the way this revision should have been handled from the start. It is still yet to be determined which organizations will continue to receive funding, and which will not. However, it is clear that the the arts community will have a legitimate voice in this revision and will no longer be blind sided by any additional changes to this code.
Thanks again to everyone who spoke out. This whole process has shown me how committed our community is to preservation of the arts. It’s a wonderful thing. We will be posting more updates on this as it comes our way so keep reading!
Sarah Garza
Community Relations Assistant

Volunteers make TAP’s world go round!

“If our hopes of building a better and safer world are to become more than wishful thinking, we will need the engagement of volunteers more than ever.” -Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan

By the end of the year TAP will have reached 16,500 youth all over Central Texas at over 120 sites through After School Programming, TAP In The Classroom, Youth Theatre Ensembles, and TAP In The Community. Volunteers give us the capacity to further our reach to create social change. Thanks to all of your hard work, we continue to grow and continue to give more young people a chance to learn critical life skills, gain tools for creative expression, and have successful experiences that build self-esteem and confidence.

Help in the TAP Office

Help TAP get organized!
  • We need your data entry skills! TAP takes evaluating its programs seriously by surveying teachers and students for each program.
  • your filing skills, to help us keep track of all we do.
  • and your tech -savvy organizational skills to help organize our electronic donations.

Volunteer Opportunities in the Community
SafePlace Field Day and Festival
  • When: Saturday, April 10th, Volunteer Shifts: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. & 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

  • Where: The Fiesta Gardens, 2100 Jesse E. Segovia St. Austin TX 78702

Art City Austin

  • What: Have fun connecting with the Austin community with TAP and go to the festival for free!
  • When: Saturday, April 24th, 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Where: Downtown Austin
Dragon Boat Festival

  • What: Cultural family fun activities!
  • When: Saturday, April 24th, 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Where: Lady Bird Lake

Help youth and parents do meaningful crafts together!

  • What: TAP will facilitate crafts for the youth and families going to see the Biscuit Brothers at the Paramount Theater

  • When: April 25th, Volunteer Shifts: 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. and 2:40 p.m. to 5 p.m.

  • Where: Paramount Theatre, 713 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701

Celebrations of Families

  • What: Parenting festival
  • When: Saturday, May 1st, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Where: Palmer Events Center

Pecan Street Festival

  • What: Community Arts Vendor Festival
  • Where: 6th Street
  • When: Sunday, May 2nd, 11 a.m. to 3p.m.

Youth Arts Festival

  • What: Art work and performances by TAP students!
  • When: Saturday, May 22nd, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Where: Carver Museum, 1165 Angelina Street, Austin, TX 78702

Contact me at to sign up to volunteer!

What are you up to this Summer?
Help TAP out in June, we are looking for individuals to help with our summer programming at campuses all over Austin, Changing Lives Youth Ensemble, and our Summer Pageant.

  • Must have availability in 2 hour blocks between the hours of 9am to 5pm Monday through Friday.

Please send an email to if you are interested!

Family Fun for the Weekend

Alright everybody, I checked the forecast and it is going to be sunny and beautiful all weekend. The perfect time to get out and play! There are some GREAT festivals happening that you definitely shouldn’t miss.
This Saturday from 9am-6pm you will find the Austin Kids Expo at the Palmer Events Center. This is certain to be a day made just for kids. There will be awesome entertainment including Sea World from San Antonio. Take the kiddos; they will love it!
Feel like doing something outdoorsy? Then head on over to the Zilker Garden Fest at the Botanical Gardens. The festival runs both Saturday and Sunday, 10am-5pm. There will be a Kids Corner that the little ones are sure to enjoy.
This Sunday from 10am-2pm you will also find the Clean Water Festival at the LCRA Redbud Center. Festival activities include science experiments, fishing and kayak clinics, reptile and river bug shows, arts and crafts, games, and much more.
All these events sounds totally TAPtastic. Hope you have a chance to check them out!

TAP spreads joy with puppets and face paint at Kite Fest

Thousands of smiling faces enjoyed a slight breeze and plenty of sunshine on Sunday, March 14 at the the 82nd annual Zilker Kite Festival, which was delayed a week due to rainy weather. Austinites gathered in the park wearing shorts, sunglasses, sandals and with children and dogs in tow giving proof that spring had arrived. The festival goers created a sort of living rainbow with their kites, which ranged from ladybugs to the Little Mermaid.

After dodging kite strings and family picnics I found the Theatre Action Project tent where puppet shows were held and face painting offered nearby. Theatre Action Project uses the art of storytelling to teach children about social issues such as self-esteem , loyalty, and bullying. “We take those stories and that art and start to relate it to what they are going through,” said Freddy Carnes, who is an artistic associate and camp counselor for Theatre Action Project.

Just as Carnes was telling me about how the festival provided an opportunity to engage the Austin community he was approached by a mother and her daughter who wanted to say hi and inform him that Rebecca, the daughter, planned on signing up for another camp session. Talk about perfect timing (^_^).

Carnes said the secret to Summer Camp
success is allowing the children to express themselves creatively through the arts. “We’re not trying to train kids for Broadway,” Carnes joked. He said he just wanted the kids to have a good time and maybe gain a love for theatre.

Mark Nuncio
Tower PR

TAP takes on New Stages

TAP staff Amanda Hashagen and Andrew Dolan talk about The New Stages Youth Theatre Ensembles at Gardner Betts Juvenile Justice Center

New Stages: Arts Empowerment for Juvenile Offenders is a program for teens in the Travis County Juvenile Probation Department residential program. The goal of the program is to help those incarcerated develop social support, interpersonal communication, and self-efficacy skills by writing and performing a show based on their life experience.

In just four months, we have worked with 30 teens. I had the privilege of working with the young women of the facility. Our work began slowly as we learned to trust one another through theatre games and writing exercises. As their trust and self-confidence grew, they then decided on a theme for their play: “Just because someone makes a mistake, doesn’t mean that they can’t still achieve their dreams.”

The final play loosely followed the journey from childhood to womanhood, and all the trials and celebrations in between. Through their monologues and poems, they revealed that they are, at this point in their lives, both girls and women. The play revealed stories of family love and strife, friendship, abuse, need, dreams and hope. The performance gave the audience some insight into the true girl/woman — not just the person who was there, at that moment, locked up.

While I have overwhelming pride in the girls for their performance, I am most amazed by their growth throughout the entire process. I watched in awe as they moved from, “I can’t do it”, or “I won’t do it”, to “I can’t wait to do it!” I am grateful to have been a small part of these girls’ journeys into a positive womanhood.

Author: Amanda Hashagen-Middle and High School Program Director

I had the opportunity to work with the young men’s group for the New Stages Program. When we began, theater games weren’t working. It was a struggle for us to find a starting place.

In our third session, we had a breakthrough when I posed the questions: “What comes to mind when you hear the word BOY? What comes to mind when you hear the word MAN?” The room shifted, a lively discussion ensued, and soon we found ourselves imagining a character called Little Brother and writing letters to him. Little Brother was our younger brothers, sisters, or cousins. Little Brother was our younger self.

For the performance, we heard the content of the letters, advice about helping mom, stories about dealing with teenage pregnancy from the young father’s point of view, and an older brother telling the Little Brother some truths about their dad.

It took a tremendous amount of courage for the men to perform. One of my guys turned to me right before he went on and said, “Mr. D, my legs feel like they’re jelly. Never felt this before.” But after he finished, he was glowing. It was a wonderful process, and I’m thrilled to have spent a few hours each week working with a group of young men who are in the middle of grappling with that transition from boyhood to manhood.

Author: Andrew Dolan, TAP Teaching Artist