Volunteer Sandra Ramirez signed her son, Luis Ramirez, 18, up for the Artes Academy program two years ago — he was once a shy, quiet teen. Now, he’s one of the shining students in his high school speech class.
“I knew art was good, but I didn’t know it could help kids in their personal lives, too,” Ramirez said in Spanish. “I would recommend other moms sign their kids up because I never knew it could be this good for them.”
Ramirez has a daughter who is a part of the educational program. While her son is no longer part of the program, he benefited greatly.
The Artes Academy is one of nonprofit organization Artes de la Rosa’s educational programs. The nonprofit was founded in 1992 in the North Side neighborhood and is run out of the Rose Marine Theater, 1440 N. Main St.
The Fort Worth academy teaches kids how to produce professional plays, dance, act and use video and audio technology in an interactive way. Since its inception in 1992, Artes de la Rosa has earned numerous awards for their in-house performances and productions.
2003 – “Best Of” Award for Best Arts Experience for Kids – Fort Worth Weekly
2004 – “Best of the Arts” Award – WRR 101.1
2005 – Kennedy Center Award Recipient
2006 – Coming Up Taller Award Winner
2007 – “Best Performing Arts Organization” Award – Fort Worth Weekly
2008 – U.S. State Department Honor
2008 – Designated An American Masterpiece by the Texas Commission for the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts
2009 – Selected to participate in the On Location Program by ArtsEdge
2010 – Conclusion of the 5 year Kennedy Center Award
2011 – “Best Of” John Garcia’s The Column – Year in Review Edition; Editor & Chief John Garcias names Kiss of the Spiderwoman orchestra one of the best 5 of the year, “Best Of” John Garcia’s The Column – Year in Review Edition; Associate Theatre Critic Bonnie K. Damon names A View From the Bridge as Best Show
2012 – “Best Of” John Garcia’s The Column – Year in Review Edition; Associate Theatre Critic Richard Blake names Maria de Buenos Aires star, Grace Neely, Best Actress in a Musical, “Best Of” John Garcia’s The Column – Year in Review Edition; Associate Theatre Critic Charlie Bowles honors director Adam Adolfo’s The Fifth Sun production
2013 – “Best Of” John Garcia’s The Column – Year in Review Edition; Editor In Cheif names Artes de la Rosa’s In the Heights, Best Non-Equity Musical of 2013, Names cast members Lorens Portalatin (Nina), Joshua Sherman (Benny), and Matt Ransdell (Usnavi) with Best Performances of 2013, “Best Of” The Dallas Examiner – Best 10 Productions of 2013
2014 – The Column Awards – 7 Nominations in Non-Equity Categories for the Regional Premiere production of In the Heights including BEST MUSICAL, Best Musical Direction (Kristin Spires)*, Best Choreography (Elise LaValle), Chita Rivera Dancer Award (Gina Gwozdz), Chita Rivera Dancer Award (Michael Anthony Sylvester)*, Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Natalie Coca)*, and Best Actor in a Musical (Matt Ransdell), award Adam Adolfo with the Rudy Eastmen Diversity Award, Adam Adolfo, Artistic Director, is honored by Fort Worth Weekly with their Visionary Award
Rob Bosquez, the theater and creative writing instructor at Artes de la Rosa, has been involved with the program since its inception. Bosquez grew up in Fort Worth and worked in the theater industry for years before joining the organization.
“I got out of high school around 1992, and I would go try to audition for places when I was much younger and they would always tell me, ‘I mean, you’re a good actor, but we’re not doing any plays with Hispanics,’” Bosquez said. “When I would get a call, it was to play some gardener or (a role that was) the base or the butt or the punch line of a joke.”
His trials and tribulations led to the creation of Teatro del Arte, where he and a few others ran a theater in Fort Worth. Since then, Artes has had partnerships with the Fort Worth Opera, Feed by Grace, Fort Worth’s Imagination Celebration and The Jubilee Theatre.
Bosquez teaches children from 8 to 18 years old for 3-month-long semesters. The program offers courses in contemporary dance, jazz, ballet, musical theater, choreography, theater and creative writing, improvisation, audition techniques and ensemble work, visual arts like painting, sculpting, drawing and mural-making, technology-based skills like film, animation, 3-dimensional printing, stop motion and claymation.
“My main thing is getting the kids to realize their stories are just as legit, just as important as any book, any library and any movie on Netflix or Disney or whatever,” Bosquez said. “You know, mostly, we focus on just kids telling their own stories.”
Artes de la Rosa’s Education Director and Dance Instructor Sara Herrera performed and taught for over 17 years in Washington, D.C., New York City, New Jersey, Maine and at the Sapperlot Youth Theatre Festival in Italy.
“I grew up here but I still didn’t even know this existed. My younger brothers took Artes Academy classes in its inception,” Herrera, who’s been with the program for two years, said.
Students are preparing for their first showcase of José Bolaños’ “La Soldadera,” a story of the women warriors of the Mexican Revolution.
Artes de la Rosa is also in between art gallery exhibits — its first exhibit opened Dec. 3 and featured Fort Worth’s lowrider culture. The exhibit closed Jan. 22.
Instructors at Artes de la Rosa hope to produce a professional play by the end of the year.
“I didn’t want people and young kids to be told, ‘Hey, man, you’re good, but we don’t have any Hispanic roles. So, we started our theater company here so that there would always be a place they could come and do theater,” Bosquez said. “They get to practice their craft without feeling like an outsider or like the token.”
Cristian ArguetaSoto is the community engagement journalist at the Fort Worth Report. Contact him by email or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.