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Doing Good: Walton Arts Center takes stage shows virtual for area students



FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Thousands of students can now see world-class performances virtually thanks to the Walton Arts Center.

Art can help us travel through time like in the stage show Layer the Walls.

“As each layer is peeled off a different family’s story is revealed,” the show’s creator Rachel Sullivan said.

It shares lessons of history and immigration through art. Thousands of Northwest Arkansas students would have seen this show in person. But the Walton Arts Center has not hosted students in-person since March.

“They miss the arts and they miss what it brings to the classrooms so that’s when we made the option to pivot to this virtual Colgate Classroom Series,” Walton Arts Center Director of Learning and Engagement Sallie Zazal said.

So Zazal and the Walton Arts Center teamed up with Sullivan.

“We really wanted to find a way to activate their imagination because what I love about the work we do, it’s puppets and masks and all these wild things on stage that ask the viewers to participate,” Sullivan said.

They created new digital workshops and mini-series based on the real stage show, but they are designed specifically to be enjoyed virtually. 2,300 students are already signed up through the Colgate Classroom series with the Walton Arts Center.

“They’re necessary for expression and emotional well-being. Arts are something that we use to share our feelings and also escape,” Zazal said.

It is a needed escape and great learning tool for kids.