30-year-old arts nonprofit, co-founder nominated for five regional Emmys

Just in time for its 30th anniversary, Learning Through Art has received five regional Emmy nominations.

Four of the nominations are for the performing arts literacy program, “Books Alive! For Kids.” A fifth nomination was made in the community service category, and recognizes Kathy Wade, the organization’s co-founder and CEO.

Kathy Wade

“The Learning Through Art production team and all of our amazing performers went to great lengths to pivot away from the live performance concert we had taken so long to plan,” said Wade. “They brought their absolute best to the set and infused this special Books Alive! For Kids® Virtual Adventure with life, even without the ability to have a live audience present. These Ohio Valley Emmy nominations are a testament to their hard work and exceptional talent. We are all so excited for this recognition of our efforts to create meaningful content and share stories of resilience with young readers and their families across our community.”

Category winners will be announced July 30 at an awards program in Columbus hosted by the Ohio Valley chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, which announced its 2021 nominees on June 13. See ohiovalleyemmy.org for more information.

Emmys are nothing new for Wade and Learning through Art, which Wade — an internationally renowned Jazz singer — and her late husband founded in 1992. Since then, LTA has served over 1.1 million community members through diverse programs that promote cultural understanding and connectedness through arts-based programming in the community.

LTA’s “Books Alive” project won a regional Emmy in 2020.

This year’s nominations focus on the literacy program’s special project and production, “A Black Anthology of Music: The Resilience of Jazz.”

BAM was originally set to take place on Sept. 12, 2021, at Music Hall, but a decision was made before the live performance date to shift to a virtual production due to COVID-19 concerns.

The music-infused production traces the historical resilience of jazz and its parallels to the framing of America.

The production includes Wade with the BAM Band featuring Phil DeGreg and Baba Charles Miller, The Cincinnati Boychoir, Revolution Dance Theatre and the Cincinnati Public School Jazz Academy. The production crew of Wade, Carissa Ray, Jonathan Knosp, Alphonzo Wesson and Jeff Barklage are recognized in the nomination for the category of children/youth/teen, short-form or long-form content.

LTA’s other 2021 nominations are in the category of performer/narrator/program host for the performances of cast member Rico Bruce Wade as the book reader and performer, and dancer Garrett Steagall of Revolution Dance Theatre as principal dancer. The production’s director Alphonzo Wesson of Zomotion Pictures was nominated in the category of director.

LTA is preparing to attend its first in-person Emmy awards ceremony as last year’s ceremony was held virtually. The trip to Columbus will be in the midst of a very big summer season as the lead agency for the Cincinnati Public Schools’ Summer Scholars program at Dater and Gamble Montessori elementary schools. The agency is also preparing for the return of the Crown Jewels of Jazz Concert Series with four free family-friendly concerts scheduled in Eden Park and Bond Hill, one during each week of July.

LTA also just launched the Books Alive! app for iPhone and iPad and the organization is working to test it with elementary school students and families in July ahead of a larger back-to-school promotion for the public in August.


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