David Zucker Celebrates 45 Years with YAMA!
Jan 26, 2022
One of our most beloved artists, David Zucker, got his start performing for young people while studying at Brandeis in the 70s. He quickly became connected with YAMA's artistic director at the time, and started to perform Odyssey of the Mime for our school partners. From 1982-89 David was the artistic director for YAMA, working with fellow roster artists to develop their programs, and connect them with schools. During this time, David created the popular Poetry in Motion, and in 1996 was was presented with the Young Audiences Arts for Learning national organization's Artist of the Year award.
Since then, he has developed and created Shakespeare Guyz, MathsAmazing! and MythMasters: Tales from Greek Mythology in collaboration with performing partner Richard McElvain. His arts learning programs are now enjoyed by audiences in YAMA's sibling chapters in Connecticut and New Jersey and Pennsylvania. YAMA staff recently caught up with David (on vacation!) to ask him a few questions about being an arts learning performer for young people.
What is your wish for the future of arts education?
“I just wish it were part of the standard curriculum. . .the arts make living enjoyable, they make it relevant, they make it meaningful and purposeful, and I don't know of any other field of education- well, I suppose people find meaning in mathematics. But I think they find the meaning in mathematics in the art of mathematics and the beauty of it, and art is all about beauty and about connecting to the world.”
What is your advice for someone considering being a performer for children?
“I think that there is a tremendous joy in performing for young people. . .and the older I get, the more important that is because when I do a performance now. . . the years fall off when I do a show for kids. I just become a kid again. I have more energy at the end of the show than I had when I went into it. I advise people to go ahead and do it, it’s absolutely very rewarding.”
What excites you most about the future of YAMA?
“That they'll continue to play an outsized role in arts advocacy, and also provide a channel or a conduit for artists going into schools. I think there's a role for that regardless of whether the arts become entrenched in the curriculum of schools, all the more so if the arts do become part of the curriculum they'll be looking for professional artists as well. So that ability to provide workshops and performances and seminars for teachers, and to educate adults about arts for children. I think that's just a wonderful future for YAMA.”