M&T Bank and Wilmington Trust will sponsor a new and unique partnership program this school year between the Union City Public School District, Bergen Community College and bergenPAC.

The Union City High School Arts Impact Initiative will enable students to take dance, theater, music, production and recording classes at bergenPAC’s Performing Arts School, while also participating in an arts management internship at bergenPAC. This program was developed in response to the enormous cuts to funding for the arts in schools. The curriculum was constructed to best suit the needs of the Union City school district.

The Performing Arts School at bergenPAC will provide certified teaching artists, arts administrators and professionals to lead the classes. The courses will be graded and enable students to earn college credits. The initiative will enroll approximately 45 students and reach more than 1,500 students total through assemblies and year-end performances.

The internship component provides an opportunity to work in different areas at bergenPAC, such as marketing, programming, development and finance. Students will also attend Master Classes at the Performing Arts School at bergenPAC, featuring top dancers from professional ballet and theater companies. The final showcase, which will be performed on the bergenPAC stage and at Union City High School for their peers, will give students hands-on experience producing all aspects of a show, including designing costumes and sets.

“Arts education is incredibly valuable and has several proven benefits for students, including increased confidence and better performance in the classroom. It’s a shame that many schools have been forced to cut their curriculums because of funding constraints. We appreciate that M&T Bank recognizes the importance of what we’re trying to do and has chosen to sponsor this first of its kind Pilot Program,” bergenPAC President & CEO Dominic Roncace said.

“We think it’s important to invest in the future of our communities, and one of the best ways we can do that is by sponsoring programs that provide additional opportunities for the students in our local schools, such as this new Arts Impact Initiative,” said Fernando Garip, Regional President, New Jersey Wilmington Trust, N.A.