extreme culture

Brevard Arts Education Shines

Isabel Prado and Daniel Grest in “Les Miserables” at the Henegar Center. Detail of photo by Dana Niemeier.


Out of 15 schools statewide which received official designation as the top 2015 Florida Arts Model Schools…Brevard (get ready for this) scooped up six. That’s far more than any other county in the state. In fact, the closest were St. Johns and Orange Counties which had two schools each so-designated.

Bravo to the teachers at these schools. No doubt their passions run deep in their earnest drive to infuse their students with excitement and excellence.

Here are Brevard’s schools which received those 2015 designations from the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Alliance for Arts Education:

Apollo Elementary School – Music
Hans Christian Andersen Elementary School – Music
Longleaf Elementary School – Visual Art
Satellite High School – Music
Saturn Elementary School – Music & Visual Art
Titusville High School – Music

Are we surprised? Not at all. Any theater patron could have told you that this county has a wealth of fine, gifted young artists who have wisely sought training. More than that, they have had the opportunity to hone that skill and use that training in a county awash with opportunity.

Many, many of them can hold their own against the best. It had been a rare case for me to urge a young person to forge a career for themselves in performance art. But in recent years, I’ve found myself doing that more frequently.

I mean really….have you heard and seen Isabel Prado, so deeply moving in “Les Miserables,” “West Side Story” and “Pippin?” Same goes with Daniel Grest, who keeps amazing with his talent in shows like “Les Mis,” “Damn Yankees” and “Pippin.” Then there’s Mitchel Burns whose talent is matched only by his brilliant heart in shows like “My Fair Lady,” “Into the Woods” and “Fiddler on the Roof.” Or Evy Sotolongo whose recent acceptance into NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts is no surprise to those who saw him as Enjolras in “Les Mis” or the Leading Player in “Pippin.”

These are just four young people whose talents I have seen grow on stage. There are so many more.

For more information, visit the Florida Alliance for Arts Education website by clicking here.