HEARTS To Hold Two Wintertime Events

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These images are from a Master Class event last spring with Roberta Villanueva. (Photo courtesy of HEARTS PW)

HEARTS, located in Port Washington, will be continuing their Master Class series this month. HEARTS is a nonprofit community organization whose mission is to add meaningful value to children’s lives and the community by supporting, promoting and enriching the arts in Port Washington and its public schools.

The Master Class series was inaugurated in 2018 and is a series of free experiential workshops, which are led by skilled professional artists. The classes are offered to adults and students, high school age and up who want to learn or expand their knowledge and experience in different art forms.

“[In 2018,] when we inaugurated the series, we wanted to offer different options with the arts,” Eric Gewirtz, communications chair for HEARTS, said.

Since the inception of the series, the nonprofit has held classes in a variety of disciplines such as singing, songwriting, dance and acting.

On Jan. 13, HEARTS will be holding their Master Class series entitled, “Tell it from the HEARTS” Storytellers Showcase from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at the Landmark on Main Street, located at 232 Main St. in Port Washington. HEARTS invites storytellers to tell their story to an audience in the style of “The Moth,” a radio show on NPR, which is dedicated to the art of storytelling. The criteria for the Master Classes includes three minutes of family-friendly subjects and language told in story format with a full beginning, middle and end.

Usually the Master Classes are free, however, tickets for the upcoming class will cost $20. The funds raised from this Master Class will go towards offering future Master Classes. Along with the Master Classes, HEARTS also gives grants to the Port Washington School District for arts programs within the schools.

“HEARTS provides the opportunity for interested parties to apply for funding to create new, as well as support existing, visual and performing arts initiatives in the Port Washington School District (PWSD),” their website states. “PWSD teachers and administrators, as well as outside parties submit creative proposals reflecting a large variety of art forms impacting multiple grade levels. As a result, children across the district get to experience a number of workshops and programs within the arts. All grants are made possible due to the generosity of community members and fundraising events throughout the year.”

In 2017, HEARTS offered award grants totaling more than $50,000 to enrich art, music, theater and writing programs throughout the PWSD. These grants allowed children experience the joy of writing and playing new music, visiting museums in New York City, participating in Broadway workshops, joining an after-school musical theater club, singing in a glee club, meeting successful professional artists, musicians and authors and more. The nonprofit has also offered multiple scholarships for rising seniors studying the arts in college, as well as students of the Summer Arts Academy.

On Feb 13, HEARTS will be holding their annual fundraising gala, the Red Party, at the gym at the Landmark on Main Street, from 7 to 10 p.m. The theme for this year’s Red Party is Sock Hop—1950s themed.

The event will feature drinks, hors d’ouevres, friends and live jazz showcasing the newest grantees. The Red Party is named for its close proximity to Valentine’s Day and all proceeds from the event allow HEARTS to carry out its mission and to offer grant programs to the various schools in Port Washington.

“We are so grateful for the wonderful support we receive from the community,” Gewirtz said. “There are two honorees at this year’s event, both of whom play important roles in the arts in the Port Washington community. We try to honor people in the community who have done great work in the arts. It gives us a chance to recognize arts within [Port Washington] and it helps us to raise money for different programs.”

This year’s main honoree is Olga Berest. Berest owns the Berest Dance Center, located in Port Washington and is being recognized for her decades of service to the arts in Port Washington.

“She has been a great supporter of the HEARTS’s annual springtime arts festival, PortFest,” Gewirtz said. “Her students have danced at our events, and throughout the community. Her passionate dedication to teaching dance is inspiring.”

Emily Baxter will also be honored with the Founders Award at this year’s Red Party. Baxter, a Port Washington native, and a teacher at Sousa Elementary School will be honored for her volunteer work and dedication to the HEARTS mission. This particular award is always given to a HEARTS volunteer and recognizes their work in supporting the organization.

For more information about HEARTS, visit www.heartspw.org. To register for the upcoming HEARTS Master Class series, visit www.landmarkonmainstreet.org/event.cfm?id=619. Contact info@heartspw.org for questions about tickets, sponsorships and the digital journal.

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Caroline Ryan is the editor of Port Washington News.

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