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Tag Archives: 4 Cs

Meet Corinna Archer

by Corinna Archer, Programs Associate AmeriCorps VISTA

Hi, my name is Corinna Archer and I am so excited to be joining the Creative Action family as the new Programs Associate VISTA! While I wasn’t sure what to expect on my first day (besides asking a million questions), everyone has been so welcoming and helped me feel right at home in my new role in the office for the next year. When I started as a volunteer at Creative Action in 2011, I was so excited to find a meaningful way to serve my hometown community through my skills making costumes and working with youth that I developed during college as a dramaturgy major at Carnegie Mellon University. One year of AmeriCorps service with Communities In Schools of Central Texas and many volunteer hours with Creative Action later, I have deepened my relationship with Creative Action as a VISTA where I can share my passion for the arts and serve the community by helping give youth access to empowering creative learning opportunities.

I just returned from a fantastic pre-service orientation in Dallas where I met so many inspiring VISTAs, and learned about the history and mission of Volunteers In Service To America (VISTA) and how VISTAs fight poverty by supporting and strengthening non-profit organizations around the country. While learning about the variety of ways VISTAs help to combat poverty by developing community resources, I was reminded of the “4 C’s” that Creative Action programs inspire students to become: creative artists, critical thinkers, courageous allies, and confident leaders. While all of the VISTAs I met at PSO were focused on addressing different community needs through their service with all kinds of amazing organizations, as VISTAs we will each embody the”4 Cs” throughout our year of service as we solve problems with creativity and compassion, engage volunteers in meaningful service opportunities, and stand up against injustices in the community.

As an AmeriCorps VISTA I am proud to serve as a role model of the “4 C’s” in my community by supporting the mission of Creative Action to activate the academic, social and emotional development of youth through the creative arts, and I can’t wait to see what wonderful experiences this year will bring!

My First Week

by Marett Hanes, Teaching Artist at Smith Elementary School

Jumping into my first week as a Teaching Artist (TA) for Creative Action felt a little bit like being launched from 0 to 65 mph on one of those awesome roller coasters—terrifying, exhilarating, and significantly less scary once it gets started!

I started on September 10, a week later than I normally would have, because I had just gotten married and was on my honeymoon during my start date. I immediately wanted to jump in and start doing great things with my classes upon my return, but I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect.

My classes revolve around art and real-life issues, a deep passion of mine, and one of the driving forces behind my wanting to work with Creative Action. To start off my 2nd and 3rd grade classes, I chose to have my students create superheroes, and focus on what “job” the superhero had—how did they help others? Many of the responses I received were astounding. Heroes brought clean water to Africa, removed trash from the ocean, watered dying plants, helped the poor, ended bullying, and saved homeless animals. It was so exciting for me to see students identifying problems that they wished to change and using their artistic abilities to create a positive message.

During the next class, I used an idea that I was introduced to at training by another TA to help the students understand Creative Action’s 4C’s. I created a superhero on my agenda board and taught the children about his four superpowers:

  • Critical Thinker
  • Creative Artist
  • Courageous Ally
  • Confident Leader

By the end of the class, students could identify and explain the 4C’s based on books and in games that we played together in class.

I finished off the week by having the students choose personal heroes for their selves. They chose moms and dads, teachers and policeman, even other kids in the class. Seeing their ability to think critically and creatively was so inspiring to me, and I can’t wait to continue the rest of the semester! Having the 4C’s so deeply embedded in my lessons has really helped the students and myself to focus our ideas and our work toward my intended goals.

UPDATE: Theatre Action Project is now Creative Action. Read more about our name change.

Introducing Shobie Partos

by Shobie Partos, Director of School and Community Outreach

Have you heard jokes about how Austin is one of the few places where people all the time sit around and have conversations about how great the town is? I laugh about it because I have done this multiple times.

I love living here for all the usual reasons– the music, the breakfast tacos, Barton Springs, the vibrant downtown, the heat… but I also realize that this is not always a wonderful place for everyone, and there are significant challenges for many of Austin’s residents. Like so many folks I know, we want to make a positive change here. We want to make this an even better place to live for everyone, but it is not always clear how to go about it.

And that’s why I am thrilled about my new job at Creative Action (formerly Theatre Action Project) where the arts are used as a tool to engage young people and empower them to make positive change in their lives. Through in-school, after school, and community programs Creative Action inspires youth to be:

  • Creative artists
  • Courageous allies
  • Critical thinkers
  • Confident leaders.

Isn’t that amazing?! I have never before witnessed such engaging and important programming, and I want for it to reach all of our kids.

As the Director of School and Community Outreach I book our in-school programs, and work to identify where our programs are needed. If you are interested, please contact me to find out more: shobie@theatreactionproject.org

UPDATE: Theatre Action Project is now Creative Action. Read more about our name change.

New Name, Same Cause

by Karen LaShelle, Executive and Artistic Director

We are excited to announce that we are changing our name to Creative Action.

Over the past fifteen years we have grown from a handful of volunteers into one of the largest arts organizations in Austin, employing more than 70 artists every year. Last spring we were named one of the top 50 arts education organizations in the nation by the President’s Committee on the Arts. Our programs are in seven local school districts each year. Thousands of youth and families depend upon our programs every week.

And, as we have evolved to best meet the needs of Central Texas youth, we have continued to innovate and find even more ways to engage and spark the hearts and minds of kids. So, what began as a program mostly using theatre, role-play, and drama, has become something much more expansive. Today, we employ a host of creative arts, including theatre,  film, dance, music, visual art, media arts, and whatever other random acts of creativity the moment calls for to help us meet our mission. And the name, Theatre Action Project, just doesn’t describe who we are.

Don’t worry, we will still provide our acclaimed interactive classroom performances, after school arts residencies, and community-based youth theatre programs to inspire youth to be creative artists, courageous allies, critical thinkers, and confident leaders in their community.

We are excited to share this new development with you, and thank you for your support as we move forward.  And if you think we’ve done a lot in the last 15 years, just wait until you see what Creative Action will do next!

Our Superhero Teaching Artists

by Cassie Swayze, After School Programs Associate AmeriCorps VISTA

For the next week and a half, our 2011-2012 community of teaching artists launch into our Fall training intensive.  I am very excited to meet our newest cohort of teachers and welcome our returning TAs to Theatre Action Project (TAP) After-School.

Yesterday was our first training day with new, returning, elementary, and middle school Teaching Artists: nearly fifty in attendance! We packed the Ruiz Branch library and played games like Chair Swap and Superhero Factory. In Superhero Factory, teams of Teaching Artists put their heads together to create a new hero using one unique trait from each person. Using their newly acquired superhero traits they posed for the rest of the team. The activity was goofy and fun, but led to a discussion about how this game could inspire the 4C’s in students.

The TAP After-School team is so lucky to have so many intelligent, engaging, and enthusiastic Teaching Artists this year. I can’t wait to see what our Superhero TAs create with their students this semester!

The 4 C’s in Action in TAP After School

by Natalie Goodnow, Artistic Associate

All of Theatre Action Project’s (TAP) programs seek to inspire young people to become 4 C students: Creative Artists, Courageous Allies, Critical Thinkers, and Confident Leaders in their communities.  We’ve seen some fabulous examples of the 4 C’s in action in TAP After School (TAPAS) throughout the course of the spring semester.  Check it out:

Creative Artists are people who express their thoughts, opinions, and feelings through an artistic medium. 
Some shining examples of creative artistry took place in Teaching Artist Mitch Bowman’s 3rd-5th grade TAPAS class this spring, in which students spent the semester studying elements in the Sensory Alphabet: Line, Shape, Light, Motion, Color and Space.  They applied this knowledge in the creation of a gorgeous shadow puppet play, “Musicians of the Sun,” based on an ancient Aztec myth about how color and music came to our world.


Courageous Allies are people who recognize injustice, demonstrate empathy for others who are targets of injustice, and identify themselves as courageous bystanders so as to address injustices.
Check out this commercial for “The Courageous Kit,” created by 4th and 5th graders of Smith Elementary with Teaching Artist Christin Davis.  It’s a FANTASTIC example of Courageous Allies in action!  It’ll teach you how to be a courageous bystander!  And it’s funny, too!


Critical Thinkers are people who understand diverse perspectives, evaluate the consequences of their choices, actively question and engage in their world.
The short play “Voices,” written and performed by students of Del Valle Middle School, with the guidance of Teaching Artist Sophi Hopkins, premiered at the TAP Youth Arts Fest on May 12, 2012.  I believe it’s one of the best examples of young people engaging in critical thinking through art that you will ever find.

Confident Leaders are people who demonstrate community consciousness by designing creative projects aimed at addressing a need in that community.
We are so proud of the Confident Leaders of Ojeda Middle School, led by Teaching Artist Moeko Crider, whose lightbox animation film “So We All May Live” also premiered at the TAP Youth Arts Fest this May.  Their animation aims to address pressing ecological needs in our global community by exploring human impacts on the environment in different parts of the world through the eyes of our animal friends.


Congratulations to all of our TAPAS Teaching Artists on a stunningly successful spring semester!

The 4Cs and Me

by Patrick Torres, Middle and High School Program Director

TAP's Courage in Action All Stars at Austin City Hall, Summer 2011

Here at Theatre Action Project, we have just kicked off the new school year. That means we are already hard at work facilitating programs that offer students in the Austin area opportunities to make a positive impact in their communities by becoming Creative Artists, Confident Leaders, Courageous Allies and Critical Thinkers, or the 4Cs. Read the rest of this entry