The performance artists Kev Marcus and Will B were once two high schoolers in Fort Lauderdale who liked to play violin together. Now,they make up the successful performance group Black Violin.
The duo came to Bethune Elementary School Tuesday to adopt the school through the national Turnaround Arts program.
Broward County is one of 14 sites around the country where successful artists, actors, singers and musicians become ambassadors for failing schools so kids can learn the core curriculum, like math and science, through new lenses like art and music activities.
Michelle Obama started the Turnaround Arts initiative under her husband, Barrack’s, presidency. Even though the Obamas are not in the White House anymore, Turnaround Arts has continued: It’s now at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
If you walk into a classroom at Bethune Elementary School, Michelle Obama’s name is still met with rockstar-like awe.
Through the program, artists adopt schools. Kev Marcus and Wil B graduated from Parkway Middle and Dillard High schools in Broward County. Their act-- Black Violin -- adopted the students at Bethune. Marcus says that being an arts-learning ambassador for these kids brings him hometown pride.
“It’s kind of really close to home to be able to come back and make sure these programs are still striving and providing people opportunities to become Black Violin one day,” Marcus said.
This isn’t the first time Black Violin has come to see the students at Bethune - they recorded the music video for their hit 2011 song, “Triumph,” there.
Bethune’s theater teacher, Nerissa Streets, says the kids can really look up to them, since the musicians are locals.
“They were really excited to come and engender some excitement for study, for academics -- through music,” Streets said.
Of course, Black Violin couldn’t leave without a little performance on the electric violin.
Also this week, Tony-Award winning actor John Lloyd Young from Jersey Boys will visit the school he adopted three years ago, Walker Elementary.