Inspiring a better Springfield through Theater

Rumors of a New Day, playing on September 13, 2010

Social change requires passion, creativity and dedication. It should then be no surprise that the arts often play a pivotal role in transforming neighborhoods or whole cities around. For example, Cleveland has recently invested in its Gordon Square Arts District as a path to economic development. Richard Florida, Director of the Martin Prosperity Institute and Professor at the University of Toronto has even highlighted artists as part of the “creative class” of people who are essential to the future economy.

But ticket sales are not the sole source of the art’s impact on cities, it’s also its ability to provoke the emotion, inspiration, intuition and vision that can transform whole communities.  In the words of Hashima Moja, Musical Director of Teatro V!da:

[art has the] ability to open up the hearts and souls of people and allow us to look inside ourselves and feel, so that we can create a truly rounded and whole society full of emotional intelligence and not just intellect and power.

In that context, Teatro V!da will be presenting “Rumors of a New Day”, a play that invites the audience to believe in themselves and leave their own “bubble”. The show promises to be a joyous celebration of Springfield and the Arts, don’t miss it!

To purchase tickets, contact the City Stage box office.

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Yves Singletary’s vision for Springfield: literacy, community, and TENNIS

[I was recently invited to speak to the students in Anne Richmond’s community development seminar at Springfield College (syllabus here). There I met an inspiring young man named Yves Singletary. Yves has a vision for Springfield, and it is my privilege to be able to share it here.]

My name is Yves Singletary and I am a junior at Springfield College where I am studying Youth Development. While attending school in the Springfield area for the past two years, I have become interested in seeing what I could do to help. Looking to combine my passions for both tennis and helping people, I thought about starting a tennis program to help serve the inner city youth of Springfield. I have been around tennis for 8 years; most recently as an instructor at The Tennis Academy at Harvard, alongside the Harvard Men’s and Women’s tennis coaches. I am a graduate of the Tenacity program, which is a nonprofit organization that teaches tennis and literacy to inner city youth in Boston. I’ve had the opportunity to give back to the program by being a summer Site Leader and a volunteer on many different occasions. My experience with the organization has helped shape me in becoming the person I am today.

Growing up in the inner city of Boston, MA I understand the difficulties that come along with being an African American and getting ahead. Fortunately for me, I had a lot of supportive individuals who helped me to stay on track in order to get where I want to be. I would like to provide the youth of Springfield with the same supports and opportunities, to help better themselves and to help them reach their goals and dreams. In order to help this become a reality I believe there are three things to be focused on: Tennis, Education, and Community.

I would like to help integrate the game of tennis, so that poor children and children of color have access to this amazing sport.  Usually children of color are given the options of football, basketball, and baseball. I would like to be able to offer them the option to learn the game of tennis. Tennis is one of few sports that can be played for life; there are tennis leagues of many different ages and levels throughout the world which allow people to come together and participate in this great game. Springfield is also fortunate to have the space, with beautiful public courts throughout the city.

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