Symerge is dedicated to providing and enabling diverse arts programming over a wide geographical area. While we are based in Rochester, NY, our vision is trained on North America. Some organizations work to 'go deep' by focusing on singular programs in a small region. Our strategy is to 'go wide' to ignite flames of creative growth and learning that will continue to grow well beyond our programs. Currently, some of that 'go wide' strategy is being worked out through Scor! events offered from New York to Florida, and lots of states in between. In the coming few years, we are targeting additional Scor! expansion in the Mid-South and Southwest.
We are happy to announce that as of June, 2012, we were formally granted 501(c)(3) exempt status by the IRS (retroactive to our founding). What that means for you is that gifts to Symerge may be deductible on your taxes (check with a tax professional for advice). We're thrilled because we can now devote more funds directly to our programs, as we'll realize savings on postage & sales tax. Also, we're now eligible for funding from numerous foundations. Symerge is a corporation under the non-for-profit law of New York State. We welcome your support of Symerge and of its programs.
Our largest program area is Scor!, String Camps for Adults. Scor! was started in 2000 by founders Kyle & Beth Bultman as a local workshop. Through the devoted participation & support of many 'campers' and the hard work of numerous faculty, Scor! has grown into a group of camps across the nation for many adult string playing musicians. The Rochester Scor! camp celebrated its 10th Anniversary season in 2011.
Express! programs are all about enabling people (especially young people) to... you guessed it: express! via the arts! The initial focus of express! programs is musical creativity in the form of improvisation and composition. We are also working to help students leverage technological tools to help them effectively share their work with others.
Our society might have great standardized testing and rigorous new standards in 'knowledge' learning, but let's face it: regurgitating knowledge doesn't hit at the heart of what education should be for. Creativity and the ability to use it effectively is crucial in business, government, the home, and in the expression of faith.
Effective leaders are people that can powerfully express things that move hearts. Which brings up the interesting question... who has more influence in our society--arts based media (think film, etc) and pop stars, or the congress? It's pretty clear that for the shaping of young minds, many national leaders lost that influence a long time ago. So... many of those artists are real and powerful leaders and shapers of society. Why is it then that we don't care more as a people to encourage, equip, and put a high calling of responsibility before these artists? Artists don't only reflect that which is around them. They also often see somthing, express it powerfully, and it becomes a reality. The great ancient philosophers recognized the prophetic nature of the the poet & singer--and probalby got a little scared :)
Because of the huge impact artistic communication has in our world, we think it's important to help equip people with artistic 'language skills'. By that, we don't just mean the 'technical' skills traditionally taught in many music and arts programs. Taking music instruction as an example, we often teach students how to musically "read" outloud or musically "repeat" what someone else said, but never to speak or write anything themselves. Imagine if we did that with the English program in schools! The results would be disastrous. So we need to become effective communicators using the arts, so we can better understand and speak to the world around us.
We have a perspective that challenges the artist with a big responsibility, a strong conscience, a burning sense of purpose to get to the heart of things in a world that runs on a platform of technological speed, greed, and numbers. The most profound changes and transformations in society in the years to come will not come primarily through the mining of data in business, the analyzing of it by the intellect in the universities, or the changes in governmental policy beecause of it. No, it will come by creative vision in hearts, powerfully, even prophetically expressed first through artistic means, then working itself out into other spheres of society. Symerge will help make that possible..