By Kim Meyer-Webb | Photography by Benjamin Krain | Hair by Melissa Struthers with Color Queen Beautique
Theresa Timmons believes every day is a blank canvas filled with ample opportunity to create a beautiful life in this wonderful world. As Westwind School for Performing Art Executive Director, she shares this philosophy with young creatives, 6th – 8th grade students, who will be the next generation of leaders. It is a multidisciplinary model that cultivates intrigue and inspiration, in addition to intellectual acumen. Theresa realizes the intersection of arts + education promises a future that is more equitable and kind.
Westwind School for Performing Arts was established with a vision to bring the arts into every aspect of learning. “The classes and productions that we organized through the Timmons Arts Foundation allowed me to witness firsthand the improvement in the literacy skills and critical thinking skills of students as well as the ability to build a sense of community. I wanted to create a setting that provided more of an impact.” Theresa realized she could be the agent of change that the educational landscape of Central Arkansas needed. Coupled with her network + resources of talent to make it happen, Theresa comprised a dedicated team of educators to equip young Arkansans. Each member of the Westwind School for Performing Arts team provides a unique perspective at the Maumelle campus. “This charter school integrates dance, music, theater, visual arts and filmmaking into core academic subjects,” Theresa explains. “Equally important is blending lots of new ideas, so students learn that differences make us special and are something we can all respect.”
She remembers a childhood filled with these elements and more; it was a result of her family’s heritage. “Being the granddaughter of an accomplished blues singer as well as the niece of a professional modern dancer and daughter of a violinist – I know how the influence and exposure changed my life.” Theresa didn’t realize until later that not all children have this advantage. “I followed my heart and danced my way to the University of Cincinnati,” she remembers. Theresa continued to diversify her interests – joining the Army Reserve as an undergraduate and later the United States Army. After 16 years of service, she returned a decorated combat veteran. “I rekindled my love of all arts and depended on my family; I was home again and eager for community service.”
As a volunteer, Theresa wanted to help schools restructure and revitalize arts programming. She quickly recognized a lack of funding in these underserved communities. “That’s when my mom and I created the Timmons Arts Foundation to educate, enrich and empower children through the arts.” Despite many obstacles, her unwavering commitment to making the arts more accessible to all Arkansans remains steadfast.
Today, the foundation serves thousands of Central Arkansas children providing after school and summer enrichment programs. And as Westwind School for Performing Arts concludes the academic school year, the robust curriculum keeps students enthusiastically engaged and Theresa relentless in her pursuit of excellence. “Waking up and walking through the school doors reaffirms my purpose,” she reflects. “Our creatives will be innovators, educators and researchers who will change the world. But before they can dream those dreams, they need to know it’s possible to make them a reality.”