March 2012

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liveIn the Moment Keeping little Madisonians engaged in art Music for a Cause On March 18, the center will hold its fi rst-ever "Playathon for Music Student Scholarships" where MSFAC music students will hit the stage to raise funds to help local children in need of fi nancial assistance attend classes. Visit for more. with Jen Roth hood arts center, where a population of more than 800 students arrive annually for classes in sewing, art, music and more, Roth feels at home in the bustle of daily activity. "Every day is so fresh and challenging," music to the ears of Jen Roth. As executive director of the neighbor- Th ere's rarely a quiet moment at the Monroe Street Fine Arts Cen- ter. Toddlers gather at a table to try their hands at crayon creations while the sound of grade-schoolers practicing piano, guitar and violin echoes from nearby rooms. It's all says the upbeat 61-year-old. Not only has the neighborhood arts hub settled into a recent space expansion, they've just celebrated a major milestone, turning 15 last month. As Roth explains, the milestone is telling of the community's demand for keeping kids in touch with their artsy side—and she has no doubt the center will be going strong for 15 more. "I hear from parents all the time…that what [we're] doing is so great because the schools are often not able to fund arts as much as they used to," says Roth, who spent decades working in radio produc- tion and management before moving into the arts fi eld and landing a leading role at MSFAC in 2007. An amateur photographer, writer and musician herself, Roth says that as the center looks ahead to the coming years, she hopes to see their offerings expand to help more kids fi nd their artsy niche through classes in drama, dance, media arts and more. It's a goal that comes back to what she sees as the center's most important role of not just teaching art, but helping kids build confi dence that stays with them for a lifetime. "[Sometimes] I see pictures of what a small child created…[and think] without our involvement, that might not have hap- pened," she explains. "And who knows? [Learning that skill] could have a lifelong impact on her." March 2012 11 Photo by Shanna Wolf

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