Changing Lives through the Arts


The Just Like Me Cultural Arts and Education Experience is changing lives through the power of the arts and sharing it with the community.  The exhibition of talent is the culmination of the experience hosted by The Performers Academy and funded by Family Support Services for 15 – 17-year-old teens. The free event will be held this week at The Ritz Theatre and Museum this week.

The Performers Academy has been hosting summer camps dedicated to students interested in the performing arts since its inception 10 years ago. This particular camp – or experience – was developed with Family Support Services of North Florida for teens in foster care. Just Like Me Cultural Arts and Education Experience is a three-week program to help these young adults to learn to use the arts as a means for self-expression.  Led by professional artists, the experience provides teens with creative outlets such as acting, writing, dancing, singing, painting, and videography.  Many of the teens have never had any experience on stage, but the final (and free) performance is nothing short of inspirational.  The open event is on Thursday, August 1st at the Ritz Theatre at 6:00 pm with a reception following catered by Stonewood Grill.

Throughout the camp, it is evident the rich affect the arts have on the teens’ mental and emotional well-being. The Performers Academy empowers students to deepen their communication and enrich communal trust while learning how to express themselves through the arts.  Enhancing these traits increases the possibility of success in any educational or professional field of interest. The Just Like Me Camp encourages foster teens to share their life through the arts in multiple areas including Visual Arts, Music Production, Lyricism, Acting, Dance, Singing and Songwriting.  The teens tell their life story, past present or familiar, through their chosen art form.  The final product is nothing short of incredible as the students share their original work of arts.

After summer comes to an end, The Performers Academy continues their educational programming with The Performers Project, an outbound program which takes the arts into different communities.  Last year The Performers Project was included at various organizations, including the Boys and Girls Clubs, The Juvenile Detention Center and Community in Schools, sharing the power of the performing arts throughout the year.  The Performers Academy strives to share the power of the performing arts with all – especially those who may not have experienced it in the past.

The Performers Academy was founded in 2010 as a 501c3 arts education organization and after 10 years this is still one of Jacksonville’s best-kept secrets. It is housed in a 10,000 square foot building filled with various dance studios, music rooms, performing space and  a recording studio.  An additional building on the campus is a 2000 square foot black box theatre.  As The Performers Academy has every year, they will continue to provide many free and reduced-priced afterschool and weekend experiences for kids and teens once the kids are back in school.

Join the free event this Thursday, August 1st at The Ritz Theatre at 6:00 to see the showcase of talent where the teens will be singing, dancing, acting and rapping original pieces. A free reception catered by Stonewood Grill immediately follows.

If you would like more information, please contact Ebony Payne-English at (904) 859-1937 or Kathryn McAvoy at (904) 422-0036.  You may also visit our website or for additional information.