The Gift of Art
Alma Villegas, Ph.D.
Alma Villegas, Ph.D.
I am a strong believer in the power of the arts. As a gift from God, art has the ability to tear down the walls of indifference and penetrate directly into the soul and heart of the people. It touches the emotions. Art is educational and therapeutic, and also brings enjoyment. It is for this reason that my main goal is to use the creative arts as an agent of worship, inspiration, healing and transformation for the community and its people.
I fell in love with the arts during my adolescent years. Not knowing what to do with that love for art and fearing that I was stepping out of the will of God in my life, I turned to God for direction. He guided me to Exodus 31:1-11 and Exodus 35: 30-35, 36:1, the calling of Bezaleel. What I learned in Exodus, strengthened my passion for the arts and gave birth to the the dream of becoming a theater director and a student and teacher of the Theology of the Art.
This dream inspired me to study theater at the University of Puerto Rico and Bretton Hall College of the Arts, England where I studied Medieval, Renaissance (Shakespearean Theater) and Restoration Theater. I attended New York University's Department of Music and Performing Arts, where I earned a doctoral degree in Educational Theater. I also pursued the Method of Physical Action’s acting technique from the world renowned Sonia Moore at The American Center for Stanislavsky Theater Art in New York.
I consider myself very blessed. I have studied with some of the major seminal figures in alternative theater. Artists like, Augusto Boal (Theater of the Oppressed, Brazil), John Hodgson (Educational Theater, England), Dr. Lowell Swortzell(Educational Theater, NY), Nellie McCaslin (Creative Drama in the Classroom, NY), Richard Schechner (Performing Arts, NY), Sonia Moore (Physical Actions Technique, NY), Dr. Robert J. Landy (Drama Therapy, NY), Grupo Teatro Escambray (Cuba) and Enrique Buenaventura and Santiago Garcia (two important figures in alternative theater in Colombia), among others.
Through my educational and artistic studies, I accomplished many important goals. I became a theater director, poet, playwright, performer and theater producer, among others.
I can look back at my life and see the many paths I have taken making sense. Even the bad experiences, the mistakes and shortcomings played important roles in my personal and artistic development, as well as, my spiritual growth. I believe that God is using my experience as an artist, art administrator, journalist, educator, and above all, as a Christian to nurture the dreams inside of me: to transform the life of people and restore their creative spirits through the arts.
It has been a long period of preparation, but I have learned that God’s time is perfect. After a long pregnancy, I gave birth to my most precious dream!
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