Mike Griot named Executive Director of the new ValleyArts program, PACarts!

 Mike Griot, Executive Director of PACarts

 Mike Griot, Executive Director of PACarts

By Patricia Rogers

ValleyArts just announced that local musician and arts impresario Mike Griot is named Executive Director of PACarts.  The new creative arts initiative, PACarts (Performance and Creativity in Arts), will start its first program on April 9, 2016.

The program is for students in grades 4-7, every Saturday for six weeks. The classes will take place in three locations around the Valley Arts District: The Firehouse Gallery, Kelli Copeland Co-op and Hat City Kitchen.  HCK will serve as a “virtual classroom” for music.  It is important that in our effort to revitalize Orange, we invest in educating local youth because they are the future of Orange and the Valley Arts District.

Mike Griot, who resides in the Firehouse Gallery, has been considered a tastemaker in this neighborhood and is instrumental in its progression.  I have known the musician for years and was able to ask him for more information about is new position with PACarts.

P.R. What do you hope to bring to PACarts, and how do you want this to enhance the Valley Arts District?

Mike Griot:  "Besides a quality education for kids in the creative arts, one of my main objectives is to unite all of the regional arts organizations in a consortium based upon strategic collaboration.  This would entail aggregating the efforts of arts institutions of all sizes to expand capacity and outreach."

Mike is the Founder of Essex County South Mountain International Blues Festival, consultant and curator at the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC), 2014 HANDS Community Leadership Award recipient, and internationally-acclaimed producer and bassist.  Upcoming events that Griot is hosting include “Blues in the Loft,” and MIKE GRIOT PRESENTS: The Housing Project "A Tribute to the legendary Paradise Garage/NYC” on Thursday May 19th, 8pm-12am at Hat City Kitchen.

"I cannot think of a more appropriate person to lead this exciting project," says Candace Goldstein-Gabbard.  “Our kids are in great hands.”  Candace and Mike will be working side by side on this new initiative. Candace took over as Executive Director of ValleyArts last year after serving as head of special projects at the Orange Public Schools.

To learn more information about PACarts, contact Candace at candacevalleyartsnj@gmail.com, and for Mike Griot, go to www.mikegriot.com

About the Writer

Patricia Rogers, #ValleyGirlNJ, lives in New Jersey's Valley Arts District.  The native New Yorker works as a writer, blogger and community activist. Starting Masconsumption Media in 2012, she has been passionate about capturing the stories of the vibrant up and coming Valley Arts District neighborhood through her blog, zine, events and more.  She blogs for Jersey Indie, Luna Stage, and Hat City Kitchen and offers many creative media services.  Visit her blog www.masconsumption.com and keep up with your favorite Valley Girl on social media at @valleygirl_nj (Twitter / Instagram).