*Tina Knowles-Lawson and her husband Richard Lawson are opening a new theater center for young kids this month in North Hollywood, Calif.
“The purpose of this endeavor is empowering people to gain the skills and ability to identify and pursue their dreams no matter who they are or where they came from,” said Beyoncé and Solange’s mother in a statement announcing the WACO Theater Center. “It is also to give both professional and non-professional actors, artists and youth a place to celebrate their own talent and artistry.”
Students at WACO, an acronym for “Where Art Can Occur,” will learn to reach tangible goals by applying a systematic roadmap, allowing them to put their dreams into action, resulting in monetizing their unique talent no matter what their age. The girls are introduced to working professionals including lawyers and doctors, and Tina will personally offers lessons on etiquette, self-esteem and hygiene.
Also, there the young ladies will receive celeb-themed perks such as concert tickets and special appearances from “honorary angels” like Knowles-Lawson’s daughters, her stepdaughter Bianca Lawson, as well as Kelly Rowland, Jennifer Hudson, Holly Robinson Peete and other famous friends.
“It’s a dream come true,” says Richard Lawson of the theater center.
“We’re both firm believers that you have to have a space for the community, especially right now, because all the music programs are being cut out of schools,” Knowles-Lawson says. “When my kids were young, there was a place called The Shrine of the Black Madonna [which is also a cultural and community center] in Houston, Texas, where they grew up. It impacted my children. I always wanted to have something like that.”
Among WACO’s major community programs are a one-year mentorship program for boys and girls ages 12-14, Her husband’s group Richard’s Warriors, and Tina’s Angels, which are 15 girls from Kipp Academy, located in an underserved Los Angeles neighborhood. Knowles-Lawson meets with the girls every Saturday.
In addition, WACO Theater Center will produce original works along with other community events, such as Parent/Child movie date night, Free Dance, Modeling, Painting/Sculpting Workshops, and Children’s Open Mic Night. WACO Theater Center is located at 5144 Lankershim Boulevard in North Hollywood’s NoHo Arts District.
Knowles-Lawson will be honored with the Community Commerce Impact Award, presented by SheaMoisture at Variety’s Power of Women luncheon April 21 in New York. “This award is about leveraging commerce to provide sustainable economic and social empowerment for women,” says Richelieu Dennis, the CEO of Sundial Brands. “What Tina has done has enabled women to rise up and stand on their own two feet.”
Later this month, Knowles-Lawson will throw a fundraising gala to assist with WACO’s expansion. “It’s definitely a family affair,” she says, of her daughters co-chairing the first annual “Wearable Art Gala,” to take place at the California African American Museum (CAAM) on Saturday, April 29, 2017 in Los Angeles.
The evening will include live and silent auctions and guests will be invited to explore the CAAM’s galleries and exhibitions. The museum serves as the ideal venue for the Gala and for wearable arts to be feted by guests dressing in art and original fashion designs.