Wondering how the Arts Alive! philosophy came to be? Over 25 years of curiosity, exploration, education, and growth created this high quality, life-changing curriculum. Read our story to learn more about our joyful journey!
The Birth of Arts Alive!
After receiving her Master’s Degree in Creative Drama and Children’s Theatre from The University of Texas at Austin, Tina Sabuco discovered her deep passion for utilizing the expressive arts in early childhood education. Following her move to Houston, Tina began working in the education system and noticed that children were continually told to be quiet, sit still, hold their hands behind their back, walk in straight lines, etc. etc. etc. The problematic nature of trying to make children learn by stifling their beautiful energy inspired her to bring creativity and freedom to the classroom!
As Tina started to implement all the wonderful things she had learned, she was thrilled to see the children bloom and grow! Tina decided to dedicate her efforts to create a curriculum that taps into the power of the expressive arts to ignite the joy in children, instead of stifling it. This was the birth of Arts Alive!
Putting the Team Together
Tina taught her first Arts Alive! class in 1994 at St. Mark’s United Methodist Child Development Center and gradually began adding more and more schools during her first two years. In 1996 she began to add teachers to her team. The first 4 wonderful employees, Wendy Haardt, Janet Snider, Anissa Dwiggins and Sue Shefman are still an integral part of Arts Alive! today. Wendy is Director of Operations and Anissa is Executive Director; both continue to teach weekly classes and workshops. Janet is lead teacher and trainer and Sue is the Arts Alive! expert with senior adults. In 2019, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Arts Alive!, Wendy and Anissa joined Tina as owners of the company!
Together they have grown and expanded upon the Arts Alive! curriculum which has become so much more than a series of classes — Arts Alive! is a way of life!
For over 25 years Tina has continued to perfect and expand upon the Arts Alive! philosophy — all 50 lesson plans have evolved through the years. But why stop at just Creative Movement Classes?
In 2014, Arts Alive! commissioned Stacey Hall, a senior teacher, to create the music curriculum and a year later, Anissa Dwiggins created the new yoga curriculum — both of which use the Arts Alive! methodologies and philosophies. It is wonderful how the Arts Alive! way of life can strengthen education in ANY area.
Students of all Ages
One of the most unique applications of the Arts Alive! philosophy is using the creative movement classes to enhance the lives of people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia. This was inspired by Tina’s experiences with her mother, who lived with AD for over 10 years. Tina began taking her mother to programs around Houston called “Gatherings” that serve seniors living with Alzheimer’s and dementia where she saw a need to “jazz up” their exercise time. Given her experience with making movement joyful, Tina began contributing to that portion of many Gatherings. She began to see that the program she had created was perfect for this population. It never ceases to amaze her how much “teaching outside of the box” can change lives!
After years of pouring passion and love into Arts Alive!, Tina’s passion has only grown. She is looking forward to a future of bringing joy-filled experiences to people all over the world!