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Monthly Archives: February 2011

Meet Amanda Davis, the new Marketing Associate VISTA

by Amanda Davis, Marketing Associate VISTA

This week I, Amanda Davis, joined Theatre Action Project (TAP), as the Marketing Associate AmeriCorps VISTA. I am so excited that I am getting the opportunity to work here and support the arts. In May of 2010, I graduated with a degree in Communications with an emphasis in graphic design and photography, from Benedictine College in Kansas. Through this degree, I learned that the media can shape the world and change lives; I wanted to change them for the positive. I have always had a love and passion for the arts since a young child and believe that everyone should be allowed to follow their passions. Getting the chance to follow that passion into a low-income area is what drew me not only to AmeriCorps, but to TAP.

Last week, I had the chance to attend my Pre-Service Orientation (PSO) in Albuquerque, New Mexico to become a proud member of AmeriCorps VISTA. I was joining so many others on a journey to help in poverty areas and make a difference. While there, I was able to meet so many amazing people, that were passionate about what they were doing, thus reaffirming my reasoning’s for joining VISTA and TAP. I knew my passion for art could make a difference and that moving over 850 miles from home, and leaving my comfort zone, to work was where I needed to be.

TAP interested me not only because of the media position but because of what they were doing (inspiring youth and the adults to solve the real world problems they face every day, through art and theatre). I have always been a huge advocate of the arts and believed that the arts are what keep people motivated and intrigued; without the arts that grace our life things would be pretty dull. Art is the spice of life!

My goals, as the Marketing Associate VISTA, are to make TAP more present in the community through social media, printed materials and our website. I really want to leave this year having helped to let the community know more about us.

In being new here, not only at TAP, but in the Austin community I would love to extend to you the excitement that I have about this great city. If anyone has any suggestions for great events, food or other things about this area that I should check out, I am totally open to it. Anyone out there that has volunteered or been a part of TAP or AmeriCorps, thank you for all that you do and letting me join you on this great journey. If you have any suggestions about anything, let me know.

If you give a child a glue stick… …they’re going to create a masterpiece.

This is exactly what the children who attended the Paramount Theatre event, “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” did. The show is based on Laura Numeroff’s classic book. Before each performance of the show at the Paramount Theatre, Theatre Action Project volunteers helped the young theatergoers make mouse ears, as well as getting face painted whiskers and a nose.

Just one of a series of collaborations between the Paramount Theatre and TAP, this weekend’s show had a higher than usual attendance. Between shows, a large group of ‘mice’ could be seen scurrying between the arts and crafts tables and their theatre seats.

We hope to see all of these children at future Paramount Theatre shows, or this weekend’s Zilker Kite Festival, where TAP will have a booth with more fun activities, or they could even join us at our upcoming Spring Break or Summer Camps.

Mixing and a’Mingling to a VISTA Beat

by Mary Alice Carnes

Two incentives had the Theatre Action Project VISTAs meeting on Sunday morning: some serious Tex Mex at Mi Madre’s and a fun and very informal meet and greet with past, present and new TAP VISTAs. Our mission: to learn from each other.
Sunday’s gathering around a booth during a very busy brunch was a great way for past and current VISTAs to share their experiences and ideas with TAP’s incoming VISTA volunteers. After spending a year at TAP, our veteran VISTAs have learned quite a lot:

· There is a busy, creative, and fun culture of the TAP staff and Teaching Artists,

· There are many fun events and programs that help us engage in a dialogue with the community,

· There is a strong army of dedicated volunteers helping us reach our goals every day, and

· The impact of TAP’s service is BIG, serving 16,000 youth each year.
When someone decides to join VISTA, they make a commitment to work at the poverty level as a volunteer with an organization for one year. In our case, VISTAs specifically chose TAP because they were attracted to TAP’s mission and diverse arts programs.
By investing 365 special days at TAP, VISTAs meet the goals of two great organizations AmeriCorps and Theatre Action Project. It’s a great partnership.
If you’re a VISTA in Austin the TAP VISTAs are interested in connecting with you. There’s a lot of Tex Mex and other great food in Austin for us to choose from, giving us lots of time to mix and mingle and learn from each other. Let us hear from you. What incentives brought you to your decision to be an AmeriCorps VISTA?
“AmeriCorps VISTA is the national service program that works to eliminate poverty. The first VISTAs began serving in 1965 in the migrant farm worker camps in California, the hollows of eastern Kentucky, and the inner city of Hartford, CT.”
From VISTA…In Service to America
Mary Alice Carnes is the Community Relations Manager at Theatre Action Project and a VISTA supervisor.

Spring Break Camp March 14-18 at Rawson Saunders School

Register your child today for Theatre Action Project’s Spring Break Camp, “Lights Camera Action!” See the video below featuring last years Spring Break Camp, “Playmakers.”

Please visit our site for registration info.

Inside Austin with Sara Hickman and Anita Ashton

Listen in with Chris Sanchez as he interviews Texas State Musician of the Year Sara Hickman and TAP Development Director Anita Ashton. Learn more about the Best of Times CD Release Party happening this Saturday, Feb. 5th, at the Paramount. Tickets still on sale. Visit for more information or

Inside Austin with Sara Hickman and Anita Ashton