The Tidwell Project was organized in 1990, as a non-profit entity, to provide exposure to the performing arts in the economically disadvantaged community. The project provides cross-cultural experiences to adolescents between the ages of 13 - 18. The experiences have instilled discipline of mind and body and promoted self-assurance and self-esteem. There are currently 35 adolescents participating in the project. Students are exposed to the performing arts of dance, music, drama and poetry.
Using the performing arts as portals of entry, youth are exposed to various forms of expression and given the opportunity to engage in healthy choices and behavior. Although the environment may remain constant, the project is designed to change the “mind set” of the youth and provide them with alternatives to violence, drugs and sexual activities. Beginning with six (6) students, the project has included more than 50 students. Those students who remained with the project for at least two years have continued to grow and have not been involved in any anti-social behavior.
In addition, funding was received from the Bureau of Drug and Alcohol to assist in a drug resistance project. The pre-post test results indicated that students found the classes and the performing arts activities a positive influence and there was a knowledge increase related to drug and alcohol use. Parents, likewise, rated the project as highly effective and developed an appreciation for the performing arts. This project was conducted at one of the incentive schools in the Little Rock School District and included 60 students.
Mr. C. Michael Tidwell, the Artistic Director, is a well-known artist and currently is an instructor at Parkview Arts/Science Magnet High. With more than 20 years experience in the public schools and in performing arts, Mr. Tidwell has consistently demonstrated the benefits of the performing arts n building self-esteem, self-respect and discipline. Students from the Tidwell Project have been delighting and astounding audiences in the Little Rock Area for several years. Their performances have received excellent reviews and they are in constant demand.
Students in the project come from throughout the Little Rock Area; are both male and female and are multi-racial/cultural. This is one of the few known projects that features and “all male” performance – quite an achievement, since adolescent boys have not wanted to be a part of the performing arts. Their most recent performance was at the Black Hall of Fame and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Excellence Award Ceremony. Additionally, the Project makes a number of community appearances that area designed to expose the larger community to the performing arts. These performances provide the necessary audiences for the students as well as solidify the achievements and skill development of the students.