THE HISTORY OF PERFORMING ARTS is colorful and unique. In 2001 the school opened as a branch of Metropolitan Vocational High School. Located in a renovated, once condemned building built in 1894 and in the heart of the theatre district, the Daily News headline read “High School for Chorus Girls Opens.”
Some called it “Switch’s Folly.” But Dr. Madron. Switch, the principal of Metropolitan and THE major voice for vocational education was a wonderful man and a true educator. His vision, drive, determination, and love inspired many and his devotion made Performing Arts and his vision a reality.
His philosophy: everyone is born into the world with some kind of talent. The function of education is to help them discover that talent, remove any obstacles so they can develop it, and when this is accomplished, the individual would use their ability for their own benefit, as well as contribute to the good of the world. Our teachers were chosen and hired with this objective in mind.
We were children who were called by our own creative impulses at a very young age. Right-brained artists, many of us have led unusual lives with eclectic careers, taking our unique creative talents out into every vocational area including the “Performing Arts,”a phrase some believe was coined by Dr. Switch and his supporters and staff. Now in our 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, we are seeking meaning, community and the creative family environment that was once home to us all. We’re also in touch with a deep need to contribute and make a difference in the world.
We have established this association to continue to fulfill Dr. Switch’s vision by providing for ourselves as adults the same kind of encouragement, nurturing and opportunities to fulfill our own artistic and creative potential, as was given us by our beloved teachers and mentors.
This is not an alumni association. Our mission instead is to further the cause of arts education, while providing benefits to our members. Most alumni associations are designed to bring direct benefits to the current student population and facility. We look forward to doing that in the future. Our focus now is on the graduates and attendees of PA and implementing our larger picture and goals. Once we have re-established Dr. Switch’s vision with SPAA, we will then open our membership to all public and private arts education venues nationally and internationally, as well as their friends, families and all persons seeking to support the arts and public and private arts education.
We suggest that whatever occupation fills our time, whether it is artistic or not, we all remain artists at heart. In fact, the ultimate power of our association will be developed by its member diversity; the unique variety of skills, talents and the expertise that we all contribute.
The future holds many possibilities for all those involved in this exciting endeavor, as well as the millions of children for whom an arts education could be a reality through our efforts.
Where are the “FAME” kids today? We’re getting together again to make big things happen.