Arts in Education

Andrea Sachdeva

Ed.M. AIE '07

Sasha Carrera

From the windows of the third-floor rehearsal studio at Cloud Place in Copley Square, Andrea Sachdeva, a 2007 graduate of HGSE's Arts in Education program, sees such relics of exclusive Gilded Age culture as the Boston Public Library and Trinity Church'architectural icons that prompted Oliver Wendell Holmes to dub Boston the hub of the universe. When she turns around, though, she sees the eager and talented, but mostly under-funded, Boston-area teenagers who benefit from the Cloud Foundation's efforts to help them develop artistic skills that many budget-strained, test-stressed school systems are reluctant or simply unable to support.

Created in 1999 by Harvard scientist David Edwards and his wife Aurelie in response to a survey of arts organizations in the Boston area, the Cloud Foundation, with philanthropic support, helps to fill the large gap between under-served residential areas of Boston and the many institutions of learning and canonical culture in Boston. “Everyone wanted a place for aspiring teenaged artists to work on their skills, work off their energy, and find a way to contribute to the mainstream culture,” says Andrea, who herself has taken pleasure in playing classical music on the flute since her childhood in Pittsburgh.

As a student in the HGSE Arts in Education program, Andrea interned for the Cloud Foundation, putting her unassuming manner and exceptional organizational skills to such impressive use that they offered her a job. Now in her third year as development and evaluation coordinator for Cloud Place, Andrea uses assessment skills honed at HGSE to maintain the high quality of workshops in performing and visual arts, writes grants to earn the funds that sustain and expand those programs, and assists the foundation's international exchange program.

“On a given day, these studios might be busy with any number of projects,” says Andrea, of the three upper floors of the Boylston Street building. Singers auditioning for a teen opera production of Carmen the Remix, for example. Actors blocking scenes for collaborative productions with Actors Shakespeare Project or Theatre Offensive. Or visual artists designing silkscreen banners for a convention center near North Station. Digital animators, spoken-word poets, graphic designers, and hip'hop dancers.

“Most of the kids here are from nearby neighborhoods, but some are coming to downtown Boston for the first time,” she observes. “They acquire leadership skills here, they gain confidence they never knew they had, and they learn to collaborate with others, all while being treated with a respect that they sometimes don't get in other environments in their lives.”

Down in Copley Square, the statue of colonial Boston painter John Singleton Copley stands, brush and palette in hand, in the shadow of the Hancock Tower that dwarfs the Trinity and the BPL'all in witness to the staying power of the arts.

Stories are accurate at the time they are published and will not be updated to account for changes such as new jobs.