As a theater major on both the playwriting and directing tracks at Fordham, Kim says he found valuable connections between his experiential major and the University’s Core Curriculum. “A huge part of what we did was ask questions like: How are we engaging with our audience? What are our goals as artists, or as citizens of the world? These questions carried over to other classes and beyond,” says Kim.
Now, as program director at the 52nd Street Project, he is exploring how to be a teaching artist. Kim runs the nonprofit’s New Platforms program, helping to create classes in songmaking, dancemaking, and poetry that complement the project’s original focus on playmaking. Through theater, he says, “kids are following their questions rather than looking for a right answer,” just as he did at Fordham.
The project’s goal is not to create future star performers but to help city students, ages 9 to 18, discover their passions as they learn to collaborate and develop strong communication and presentation skills. The students also get the kind of one-on-one mentorship and broad exposure to the arts that they may not be getting at school.
“We keep our doors open every day after school, even for those not in our arts programs. There’s no right way to do theater, but there is a way that involves being brave and following your questions and your own sense of self,” Kim says. “Hopefully we create a space where our students feel they can do that.”