PSU’s 1st Annual Panther Pitch, a competition similar to the TV shows Shark Tank, took place this week. I was selected as one of the 12 Finalist who would compete in the competition! We had exactly 2 minutes to give our pitch, and then we have a 3 minute Q&A where the judges had the opportunity to ask us questions.
You may be asking how this relates back to my interdisciplinary studies. Well if you recall, I actually created my major based around a growing idea that I first had when I was much younger- Heart-to-Heart Nonprofit Theatre Company.
This competition gave me the opportunity to practice my pitching skills, and really begin to get people excited about the idea. After the competition was over, I got great reviews of people who loved my idea, and through a video I recorded, I was able to watch with my own eyes and make critiques, so the next time I introduce this company, it will be even better!
Although I had to cut down my original speak to make it fit within 2 minutes, the first draft that I wrote (which was way over that time) was truly a great experience for me to wrap up Heart-to-Heart in one interdisciplinary box! Therefore, I would like to share with you my original pitch below!
I’d like to begin by asking everyone to stand up.
Sit down if you never had a music class, dance class, or theater class in your school.
Sit down if you never attended a concert, performance, or play in your community.
Sit down if the performing arts—theater, music, dance—if they had no impact on you.
I want you to look around at the number of people standing up here. The performing arts matter to our schools, to our communities, to our lives.
Ok, thank you, and please take a seat.
My name is Taylor Fournier and I am an Interdisciplinary Studies major focused on how the performing arts can empower students, our communities, and our world.
Over the past 35+ years, the National Endowment for the Arts has been challenged and threatened with cuts to funding. Under our new administration, there have been proposals to eliminate the Endowment from the proposed budget completely. This would place a huge barrier in the way for the integration of the arts in our communities.
Research has shown us that the performing arts are an incredibly helpful tool for empowerment, education, awareness, and advocacy. With these constant challenges to funding, the opportunity to participate in the performing arts would become harder and much fewer. Why should our students, our youth, and our community members have to miss out on this invaluable opportunity?
I have an alternative solution. The Heart-to-Heart Nonprofit Theatre Company. We are focused on using the performing arts to provide empowerment through our three sectors- Self, Community, and World. Our mission is “using the arts to promote change.”
So how DOES The Heart-to-Heart Nonprofit Theatre Company live up to its mission? It would be impossible for me to tell you all of the incredible ways that we use the performing arts for empowerment in just two minutes, however, I will give you just one example from each of our three sectors:
Our first sector is Self. We provide many classes through the week that use the performing arts for self-empowerment. Just one example in the making is our Empowerment/Exercise Dance course, one for adults and one for youth. This course incorporates the psychology of empowerment, social work themes, and self-expression through dance and music.
Our second sector is Community. Performances can be a vital tool in advocacy. We bring empowerment to our community by putting on productions centered around current social issues. An example would be The Vagina Monologues, a theatre production helping to spread awareness about feminism and violence against women, or The Laramie Project, a play based on the real life events taking places after the brutal torture and murder of Michael Shepherd, a member of the LGBT community.
Our final section is World. Through our World Tourism program, which invites performing arts groups such as dance troupes or theatre companies from all around the world to visit America and learn about our culture and arts while sharing their culture and arts. I have learned first hand that the opportunity for cultural-exchange and finding the universal oneness within us all is incredibly empowering.
All-in-all, Heart to Heart Nonprofit Theatre Company provides a safe environment for all community members to have access to the performing arts, and the opportunity to use that art for empowerment.
I have organized my academic field of study around the work of this nonprofit, and I have the knowledge, experience, and passion to make it succeed. We’ve all benefited from having the performing arts in our lives, and now is the time that we need to work together to ensure that future generations have access to the arts, to empower each other, our communities, and our world. Thank you.