Organizational History and Description
Celebrating twenty-six years of service to the community, Jump-Start Performance Co. has a history of continuous and vibrant artistic growth. The company’s work, although nationally recognized, is firmly and proudly rooted in San Antonio and the richness of the city’s culture.
Since 1985, Jump-Start has created, produced or presented over 500 original performance works, reaching an audience of nearly one million people. For sixteen years, the company’s educational programs have served 110,000 individuals, working with over 90 different schools and community groups. Jump-Start’s audience and constituents are extremely diverse, comprised primarily of people of color and individuals of modest economic means. A recent survey showed Jump-Start’s audiences to be 63% Latino, 28% White, 6% African American and 3% other with about 60% of those surveyed making $40,000 or less annually.
We are located in the Blue Star Arts Complex, just south of downtown San Antonio, Texas, in a facility that includes a 150-seat performance space, gallery/lobby, a classroom and company offices. As part of the company’s commitment to act as a community resource, Jump-Start makes it space available to numerous other arts and community groups. Because Jump-Start provides a performance home for ethnically diverse artists and audiences, it plays a unique role as a forum for cross-cultural dialog and exchange.
Jump-Start is “home” to numerous groups such as The Classic Theatre of San Antonio, Celebration Circle and the San Antonio Dance Umbrella. Past renters include Burras Finas Productions, Karavan Dance Co., and the Renaissance Guild. Jump-Start also offers twelve visual arts exhibitions annually in its lobby/gallery space.
Jump-Start Performance Co. has three general divisions:
• Original Productions
Each year, Jump-Start presents a season of four to six new works by company members or associate artists. Many of these new works have gone on to tour nationally. Productions include: On the Pulse of the Morning, the theatrical premiere of May Angelou’s inaugural poem, adapted by Jump-Start’s Artistic Director Sterling Houston; The House on Mango Street, an adaptation of a Sandra Cisneros novel; Memory’s Caretaker by Paul Bonin-Rodriguez, Santo Negro by Sterling Houston; Rosita’s Day of the Dead a solo performance written by Rodrigo Duarte Clark for Ruby Nelda Perez; Habibi, an adaptation of an award-winning novel by Naomi Shihab Nye by Paul Bonin-Rodriguez; and Big, Bad and Beautiful, by Alicia Fernandez, a work written by, for and about women of size. JUMP-START PLAYWORKS, an anthology of plays premiered at Jump-Start, was published in 2004 and this year the company was featured in the book PERFORMING COMMUNITIES: GRASSROOTS ENSEMBLE THEATER, a survey of eight theaters from across the United States.
• Guest Artist Series
Over the years, Jump-Start has presented work by renowned guest artists such as Maya Angelou, Sandra Cisneros, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Peggy Shaw, Ntozake Shange, Robert Wilson, Astrid Hidad, Scott Turner Schofield, Robert Karimi, Denise Chavez, Karen Finley, Rodney Garza, Janie Sauceda, Raquel Araujo Madera and Adelina Anthony.
• Community Education
Jump-Start is exemplary in its community involvement and collaboration with other San Antonio organizations. In the past three years, Jump-Start’s community educational programming has doubled, currently working with twenty community partners. Since 1990, Jump-Start has provided arts programming to over 100,000 individuals with over 80 different schools and community groups. The youth involved in Jump-Start’s arts-in-education programs are overwhelmingly ethnic minorities from low-income areas. Historias y Cuentos (Stories and Tales) is an ongoing partnership with ten urban elementary schools. This multi-year residency program provides students with arts activities that are grounded in academic curriculum and community participation. The Healing Arts is a collaboration of ten arts and human service organizations that provides arts programming at six community sites to children who have been abused, neglected or abandoned. Fairweather Lodge is a program that uses the arts to teach life skills to adults with chronic mental illness including mentally ill women and their children.