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FOA offers after school opportunity

Published: Monday, September 17, 2012

Updated: Monday, September 17, 2012 18:09


Tanya Giraldo, Staff Writer

Abby Kuonen, a sophomore business major of Russellville, teaches one of the ballet classes for younger children at the Foundation of Arts. As a second year teacher, she also teaches Stepping Stones Ballet and Beginning Ballet.

Many ASU students don’t just attend classes, but go beyond the campus and serve the community. Several students have been participating at the Foundation of Arts (FOA) and using their talents in FOA productions as well as teaching classes.

Rob Spencer, director of education at the FOA, thinks it is amazing to work with ASU students.

“They are part of the community,” Spencer said. “We are building ties and it is a partnership that we all value and benefit from.”

Abby Kuonen, a sophomore business major of Russellville, teaches ballet at the Foundation of Arts. “Dance isn’t offered at ASU so I am so grateful that the Foundation of Arts exists,” Kuonen said.

This is Kuonen’s second year working for the Foundation of Arts and she teaches kids who are in elementary school and younger. “[Dance] is my outlet, my extracurricular,” Kuonen said. “I love it. It’s not like a job for me.”

Spencer has undergraduate students as well as graduate students who work for him and who participate in plays and shows.

“ASU feeds us these qualified individuals,” Spencer said. “That relationship is valuable in that we can rely on their experiences.”   
Jessica Maddox, a sophomore exercise science major of Carlisle, takes ballet classes and is in “The Nutcracker” at the Foundation of Arts. “It is nearby and it is a place where I could keep dancing,” Maddox said. “I’ve enjoyed getting to meet people and to get that teacher-student interaction.”

Before participating at the Foundation of Arts, Maddox would just dance alone at the Red Wolf Center.

“I’ve gotten the opportunity to branch out and get constructive criticism,” Maddox said.

The Foundation of Arts has three main art forms: dance, theatre, and visual art. Spencer is an ASU alumnus who has used his theatre degree to teach as well as direct the education aspect of the FOA.

“It is probably one of the few places in Jonesboro that I could use a theatre degree without being an actor,” Spencer said.

While Spencer covers the theatre side of FOA, Steven Adair, a senior art education major of Jonesboro, covers a portion of the visual arts.  
“I’ve always been interested working for a nonprofit organization,” Adair said. He teaches elementary kids as well as teens. “I try to foster a positive reinforcement in these kid’s lives through art,” Adair said.

Adair also interns at an elementary school as well as working at the Foundation of Arts
“This gives him a perfect opportunity to get some hands on teaching experience,” Spencer said. “And we get the benefit from an educated person who is going into that field.”

“I like giving back to the community,” Adair said. Although Adair has lived in Jonesboro his whole life, this is his first time participating at the Foundation of Arts. “I like to think of myself as supporting the town that I grew up in,” Adair said.

Kuonen also finds benefit in working outside of ASU.

“I’m not surrounded by the same people all the time,” Kuonen said. “I get to go outside and work within the community and meet people from Jonesboro and people who even go to ASU who you would never run into on campus.”


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