Julie Hebert, Visual and Performing Arts Curriculum Specialist with the School District of Manatee County, and Co-Founder of the Manatee Arts Education Council, Joins the Club

Julie Hebert, Visual and Performing Arts Curriculum Specialist with the School District of Manatee County, and Co-Founder of the Manatee Arts Education Council, Joins the Club

For the past four years, she has been the leader of the visual and performing arts teachers for the the Manatee County School District by helping them devise curricula, working with principals to understand scheduling, and seeking professional development workshops specifically for arts educators, but Julie Hebert quickly realized there was a funding issue for her many initiatives. 
So what did she do? She started an organization called the Manatee Arts Education Council that helps raise funds for arts student events, in-service opportunities for arts educators, and recognition for outstanding teachers and leaders in the arts on the Suncoast through its annual program called Arts Alive.
This year's Arts Alive event is Monday, March 29 at the Grove Restaurant in Lakewood Ranch and will recognize 10 of our area's greatest art teachers, leaders, and champions.
Hear Julie's story of how she came in to her role, why she started the Manatee Arts Education Council, and, the most important question of all...the saxophone octave key or the clarinet register key!
Come along and join the club!

Support the show (https://scf-foundation.org/suncoastcultureclub/)


Robyn Bell: Today. It is a pleasure to welcome as my guest, Julie, Hebert who wears a couple of different hats in Manatee County. She is the Visual and Performing Arts Curriculum Specialist for Manatee County Schools. And she is co-founder of the Manatee Arts Education Council. I believe she is also a very talented clarinet player, mother, wife, and friend who all Julie, Hebert welcome to the club. 

Julie Hebert: Thank you, Robyn. I'm happy to be here. It's an honor to be asked. 

Robyn Bell: Now I really want to talk to you today about the Manatee Arts Education Council, but first give us a little bit of your background, where you're from, where you got your training, what jobs or positions did you have in your career before becoming the Visual and Performing Arts Curriculum Specialist for Manatee County schools?

Julie Hebert: Sure. I'm actually a native of Manatee County. I've been here pretty much my whole life. I was a military child, so I was born in  Germany. And we actually lived in Brindisi, Italy.   But before my first birthday, we came back to my parents' home here in Manatee County. So I consider myself a native  I attended many Manatee County schools as a student. And. That was simply because my mom was a single mom and of course that involves moving a lot. I did  most of high school at Palmetto High School and my senior year, I opted to transfer to Southeast High School because the band director position at Palmetto the director there resigned and it was so close to the start of the school year. They were not sure if they were going to be able to replace him in time for school to start, and if they would at all. So back then, of course there was no choice opportunities. You went to where you were zoned, but my friend and I Nikki, she was  a bassoon player and was also on the college path to major in music. So the two of us went before the school board  and , we explained the situation and we requested permission to go to another high school with a band program. And they agreed,  they said, pick any school in the district and we both chose Southeast because our middle school band director, Amy Bradley, was going to transfer to Southeast as the assistant band director. So we both loved her and we decided to transfer and Graduated in 1994 immediately went to University of Central Florida as a music education major graduated from my bachelor's there. And then about 10 years later I went on to University of South Florida at Sarasota Manatee and graduated with an MA in Educational Leadership. 

Robyn Bell: So when did you get your start in music and Manatee County. And what school were you at when you joined band? 

Julie Hebert:  In  middle school  I actually liked chorus more, but my neighbor who was a seventh grader was in band and I thought she was so cool and I want it to be just like her.  And she played tenor saxophone. So I decided I wanted to play tenor saxophone as well. And we lived within two miles,  and of course within two miles you had to walk. So it was really hard. It's a big case and I was small. And so carrying it home was really hard. And of course you couldn't stay after school back then for anything. So I never practiced and I was really bad and had like a D band. . So I was really bad in band for sixth and seventh grade, but when I transferred to Lincoln on day one, Mrs. Bradley, or she was Ms. Tucker back then and she was a first-year teacher and I just fell in love with her. I was immediately. So inspired by her and she was a clarinet player. And  , I knew enough to know they were in the same key and had similar fingerings. And I went to her and said, , I would really like to play clarinet and she allowed me to change.  She put me in the third row because my previous experience was so bad, but by the time we had chair auditions I ended up getting first chair because I was practicing all the time and so inspired by her. And she encouraged me to join at that time. It was called the Florida West Coast Symphony now in Sarasota Orchestra, the youth program. And I did that. And it was really hard. The music was so hard and we had to be there at nine in the morning on a Saturday. And of course we lived in Palmetto and I rode the bus to the orchestra and, , we would get picked up at Palmetto High School and then mixed several stops. Like we went out to West Bradenton, 75th street to like the Publix there and picked up another crew. And then we went somewhere else and picked up another crew. So I had to be at the bus stop at like 6:30. And this was after Friday night football games and traveling. And I told my parents,  I just can't, I don't want to do this anymore. And my parents who were really firm about sticking to commitment said, you have to finish this year. And if you still don't want to do next year, then we'll understand. So I finished out the year and by then I was really enjoying it. So I opted to stay in  then my junior year I was moved into youth orchestra one.  Then the following year  I was placed as the first chair,  and loved it. Absolutely loved it.  

Robyn Bell:  Well, you know, a lot of people don't know this, but I'm from Texas. And I was a product of the Texas high school band program. And the summer before my senior year, I went to the University of the South to the Swanee summer music center as a camper. And my theory teacher and dorm counselor was a lady by the name of Amy Tucker. Now I was 17 at age 35, 17 years later, I land in Bradenton, Florida. I go to Lee Middle School she had  reached out to me, Amy Bradley at the time. I had no idea. I walked in. She says, Oh, I recognize you straight away. I didn't recognize her. And it wasn't until some social media thing. One of the conductors at the camp, Bruce Dinkins, had passed away and she commented on it. And I said, Amy, how did you know Bruce? She goes, Robyn, I was your camp counselor 17 years ago. And I was like, Oh my God. So it's really funny. The connections in music and 

Julie Hebert: Oh, yes. 

Robyn Bell: That's to me,  how the world spins in our arts cultural world. And we're just always connected. 

Julie Hebert:  To add on to that story. I also was a Swanee summer music camp participant. I did that program. In  the summer of 1992 

Robyn Bell: Would have been the year after me. I was there in 91. 

Julie Hebert: Okay. And Bruce Dinkins was my private teacher. 

Robyn Bell: Yes. Fabulous clarinet teacher. And musician. 

Julie Hebert: And he was also the conductor of the orchestra I played in.  

Robyn Bell: Isn't that cool. So you graduate and you come back to Manatee County to get a music teaching job? 

Julie Hebert: Not at first. There were no jobs available when I first graduated in Manatee County. So I went one County, South to Sarasota County and I taught for two years there at Alta Vista elementary. And then after the end of my second year two positions opened in Manatee County. 

Robyn Bell: And so then you started teaching in Manatee County. 

Yes in  fall of 2001, I had been there just a few weeks when 9/11 happened. That was a tough time trying to help the students cope.  We were making some social, emotional connections  there was a song that came out through a magazine Music. K-8, which usually writes original music for elementary schoolers to sing. And they came out  with a song called American Tears. And we sang that in a school performance. And there were no dry eyes in the audience and the students were also very touched by it. So I'll always remember that moment. 

And so how then did you end up in the position you're in now? 

Julie Hebert: Well , I really had aspirations of this position. The person who was in the position at that time  retired and they chose not to fill the position.  So I started looking for other positions outside of the district that would give me leadership opportunity. And there was A announcement about an executive director for the Florida Alliance for Arts Education. I was meeting in Daytona beach with the planning committee and I got a call from a friend telling me that they were reopening the position here. And I thought about it the whole way, because this had always been where I wanted to be in this role. And, , by the end of my drive, I was convinced , I need to do this. I got to start September 15th of 2017. 

Robyn Bell: So let's say, I don't know much about the edumababel in modern education system. Describe for our listeners, what you do as the Visual and Performing Arts Curriculum Specialist in like,  layman's terms. What does a typical day look like for you and your job?

Julie Hebert: No day is typical. Every day is something different. There are days that all I do is read, respond to emails with various things, because I have so many community responsibilities to build those partnerships and  bring community members into our district with mutually beneficial partnerships. And our community supports us. State College of Florida supports us. They provide venue space for some of our events and their music. Professors will come to our schools and provide clinics and coaching to some of our teachers and music directors. And they will provide free professional development to our teachers when we have in-service days or other opportunities for professional development.

Robyn Bell:  You're kind of in charge of organizing professional development for all of the arts teachers, not just music, right? 

Julie Hebert: Correct. Yes. 

Robyn Bell: As a curriculum specialist, you are  overseeing, this is what students should learn in third grade. Art class, this is what students should learn in seventh grade band class, that kind of thing, right?

Julie Hebert: Correct. So we have our state standards,  which came out in 2009 since then most of the curriculum in other content areas has seen two new revisions of the standards .  But we're in the process of rolling out those standards for  students in English, language arts next year. We don't anticipate that the arts standards will change. So here in the district, we analyze the standards and benchmarks per grade level per content area. K-12 all the arts.  There's more standards than we could ever teach them one year. So we,  chunk them out and say these are essential. These are things that must be taught. Then these are important the next group. So if you have extra time focus on these and then, , we call them the "nice to knows" .If you have some extra time and this is a passion for you, particular or something that you think your students would enjoy, then, , these are the nice to knows that you could do in the end.  

Robyn Bell: And you work alongside with principals in these standards and the arts teachers to make sure that arts. And so  a principal's evaluation of the arts teacher is based on  what you work with, the principal and the arts teacher on. We're going to go standards implemented. I see 

Julie Hebert: Correct. , when we revise curriculum, we usually do it in the summer. We'll bring in a team of diverse teachers. We want people who have experience in various levels in various school cultures or environments. . We also want various ages. We want the young teacher and we want the veteran teacher. We want different expertise as far as what sort of training do they have? Do they have world music drumming experience? Are they a strong piano player or a strong singer? . And we end up with a team. Of about six writers. And we pay them to come in in the summer and we hashed it out in two to three weeks. And we will pilot it in the summer. Usually. The Sarasota orchestra will allow us to come in because they have elementary students in their summer camp and they will allow us to come in and test out some of those lessons with their kids. And then that kind of tells us like, okay,  , this is gonna work. Or we needed to revise some things or scratch it , then we moved  into the curriculum maps. And in that we have to provide resources. , we give some sample lesson plans that would be appropriate for  those benchmarks. And we also find lesson plans on  the state resource for lesson plans and where you find the standards and benchmarks. And we also have to link to our state adopted text. Like here are some lessons in this that you could use so that teachers are fully equipped with everything they need. And of course, when I started teaching that stuff didn't exist and I wish that I had had this guide 

Robyn Bell: That leads us to this next topic because Mary Glass, the executive director of the Manatee Education Foundation you, and she decided to start a subsidiary group under their umbrella called the Manatee Arts Education Council in the summer of 2018, right? 

Julie Hebert: Yes, we started working on it in 2017 and we launched in 2018. 

Robyn Bell: So tell us how that came about and why did you see a need for an educational council focus, especially on the arts in Manatee County?

Julie Hebert:  So we've always had relatively strong programs and that was despite some tough hurdles to get around, mostly related to funding. Our district is a strong supporter of the arts. They see the value, but it's not something that the state provides funding for. And so to properly fund the arts with PD and materials 

Robyn Bell: And PD professional development, 

Julie Hebert: Correct? Yes. So. That was a struggle. And there's some funding from the curriculum department for local professional development opportunities, of course, for in-service days. But it's not much so usually we'll beg our partners to come in and do that for free. Maybe we have funds to hire one or two presenters for professional development that may not be as readily available like for dance. There's just not a lot of that out there. 

Robyn Bell: I can say as someone that taught high school public high school for nine years, I can't tell you the number of professional development meetings. I sat through that were focused on English or math, really great information for those teachers. But as the music teacher and the band director, I would sit there and go, man, I wish there was something I could attend that was more specific for me, that helped me be a better teacher in my classroom. And so that is one of the main initiatives of the Manatee Arts Education Council, right. To get funding, to provide those kinds of experiences for the arts teachers. 

Julie Hebert: Absolutely.  The mission of the Manatee Arts Education Council is to support, enhance and celebrate arts education. And not just our schools, but in the community as well. This is a joint venture between school district, Manatee County and the Manatee, and even in the region because many of our supporters are in Sarasota County. We also really encourage our community arts organizations from both counties to partner with us and and advise us, and also sit on the board.

Robyn Bell: And you,  have quite a few events for arts students to participate in the State College Florida Music Program has been thrilled to partner with the Manatee Arts Education, Council by hosting, for instance, the all County orchestra, the all County choir, which took place for two years and then bam COVID hit. But what are some of the other initiatives that the Manatee Arts Education Council sponsors? 

Julie Hebert:  The big event that we are so proud of is an event happening soon on March 29th, it's called Arts Alive and it's a wonderful event.  It's like none other.  In the first year in 2019,  the goal was to bring as many leaders from our school district and our community, the big decision makers and bring them into this audience and have all types of arts featured from all levels. So we bring,  some of our best dance programs and  theater and visual art. And from all levels, both elementary and middle school. And also high school. And we also include our charter schools.  The MAEC board of directors is very  intentional in including our charter schools in our initiatives.

Robyn Bell: And I might add here, those of us in the arts education community know that the Manatee Arts Education Council is called MAEC M A E C. Right? So if you're listening, when we say the word MAEC, that is the acronym for the Manatee Arts Education Council, and I'm going to talk to you more about the Arts Alive event specifically, that's coming up, but after we come back, Julie's going to give us her perspective on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on arts education and Manatee County and from her seat, what does it bounce back from all of this look like in the school arts programs. Back after this break. 

 Welcome back to the Suncoast culture club, where today my guest is Julie, Hebert Visual and Performing Arts Curriculum Specialist for Manatee County schools. And co-founder of the Manatee Arts Education  Council, Julie, the arts education programs have been particularly hard hit by the COVID-19 shutdown. Can you give us some examples of what our arts education teachers have been dealing with this past year? 

Julie Hebert: Yes. And all elements of our school district have been hard, hit and face challenges. It's been Very difficult and challenging year for everyone. And I commend our school leaders and district leaders for really looking for innovative ways to ensure that schools continue to be as normal as possible. So I think we've done a really good job of that specifically in the arts. I'll start with band, our middle and high school bands for the first quarter of school were not permitted to play. And that wasn't because our district said, , we don't want band. It was because coming from the CDC,  they put out a call for proposals , for someone to do a research study. On the effects of singing and playing, because you'll recall in summer 2020, there were several highly publicized instances where there were what they called super spreaders in choirs. I remember one specifically in Washington state where it took out most of the choir after they had had a rehearsal. So they were very concerned about those programs in our public schools. And of course, people outside the public system were also concerned. So  Colorado State University was brought in to do this research study and it's very extensive. You can see online, you can read the study and also some really incredible videos that they took, where they had professors from the  college of music at that school playing the French horn. And you could physically see the sprays coming out of that horn and how far they traveled. And   they,  learned that the trombone traveled furthest because it was the largest bell projecting forward. So we knew that was an issue. And  at that time, we weren't sure how to solve it. And of course they knew everyone was supposed to be wearing masks. And when you play an instrument or sing you have aerosol sprays coming directly from your mouth, that don't go into the instrument itself, but are spread directly from the mouth. So those were some big concerns. And thankfully,  innovative creative music industry professionals said, we need to cover the bells. And, we need to get masks that will be able to allow a musician to play and masks that will allow singers to sing with some space. Because those who have tried to sing with a regular mask on have  learned that when you take a breath, especially as a  vocalist, you take a really massive breath from the diaphragm and the mask just sucks into your mouth and it's nearly impossible to sing in a regular mask. So these innovated professionals created and designed masks specifically for singing and playing instruments and bell covers were designed in different sizes made of a nylon material, which  didn't alter the sound and those were produced and made available for sale at relatively reasonable cost. But it was still a challenge to come up with the money  for all of our band programs in the schools because  most schools have more than one band. They have up to four bands or five, if they have a jazz band.  We have 18 middle and high schools in the district. So that was going to be a pretty hefty expense that we just didn't have the budget for.

Robyn Bell:  I was talking to a middle school band director down in Charlotte County  last Friday. And he said it was sort of a strange positive that  students in band can't share instruments anymore. I used to have a tuba that a sixth grader would play. And then the next period of seventh grade would play in the next period eighth. He goes, so we ended up getting all these new instruments so everybody could have their own instrument. Well, that's not cheap either, but I was wondering through all this. I know there was a lot of money that had to go out for the PPE to perform music safely. Was the Manatee Arts Education Council able to help or serve those teachers to this pandemic in any way? 

Julie Hebert: Absolutely. The Manatee County government received funding from the federal government.  I think it went from federal to state and trickled down into local governments  through the cares act. And they offered opportunities for nonprofit organizations who had experienced profit loss and  not able to have their events that they would have had. So they provided up to $5,000 scholarships at three points specifically for personal protective equipment and allow non-profits to apply for that funding. And  MAEC decided that we would like to apply for that funding.  We are not  a standalone nonprofit. Fortunately the Manatee Education Foundation is our fiscal agent and we are a subsidiary organization of the Manatee Education Foundation. And they allowed us to apply through them for the cares act funding.  So we received $5,000 in  August. The second round came in October and the third round came in December and we were able to apply and received the funds each time. And by the time we got through the third round all of our bands had the PPE equipment that they requested. Some schools requested nothing because the principal was still very cautious about allowing the bands to play. So they continued teaching general music  which actually our students they've done a lot of bucket drumming. Our students have become very proficient at reading rhythms advanced rhythms through the bucket drumming experience. But by the time the third round came to a close, , most of our schools had what they needed another really. Big positive thing that came from COVID. We mentioned that students are no longer allowed to share instruments. And you mentioned that Charlotte County received an order of instruments.  Our superintendent, Cynthia Saunders knew that this was a big concern and she went in and found funding from the capital funds, which are allowed to purchase equipment for schools and was able to purchase a significant number of instruments for our schools so that they could  have some instruments that would allow less sharing. And then we knew that two of our middle schools, one had no band program at all,  but we have another school that has a relatively small band program that used to be very large,  had a significant number of instruments,  that were not being played that were still in very good use. And the other school had a whole. Bunch of band instruments. So  we had a pickup night  to pick up borrowed instruments for our schools that had a need. And between the new and the borrowed able to ensure that every child has their own. 

Robyn Bell: That's great.  So as we sit here in March  all of the bands, orchestras, and choirs participating in making music now in Manatee County, 

Julie Hebert: They are permitted to do so by the district. But through some scheduling challenges some of the schools do not have all of their leveled students in one class and have really struggled. And some of the kids who were regular band students could not fit it in their schedule because we had, , students coming full time to school students doing the hybrid program, students doing full-time e-learning. And that was so challenging for our music directors  to figure out how to navigate that. Some have figured it out with support from their principal. Others have had,  continuous challenges , and are still doing general music. But those who decided to play started doing so second semester, the beginning of January indoors, we were allowed to play outdoors from the beginning starting with our marching bands in band camp over the summer. They were socially distance and working in pods and  playing with normal masks with a slit cut for the mouthpiece. But they were able to do marching band. Pretty much from the beginning of when football started, which was delayed and they had a shortened season. So by then, and they felt it was safe enough to bring them into the limited capacity stadiums and seat them socially distance. , there were some requirements, but we were able to make that work. Our orchestras, if they have the level of kids in the classes have been playing from the beginning. 

Robyn Bell: And just so everyone's clear leveled kids in classes, that's a term we use in education, particularly in the performing arts, because it's really difficult to have a very advanced say, senior violinist in the same class, playing the same music with a beginner ninth grade violinist, not just difficult, it's impossible because the poor ninth grader that is just starting the violin. There's no way that he or she can play the same music that a senior that's been playing since sixth grade can play. And so it's really important in our performing arts classes that students are in the correct levels ensemble. So they're not falling in the cracks and they're not bored to tears, , and this is the issue with the scheduling for the Manatee County arts programs. Hopefully you're anticipating that's going to change for next fall. Then things will be back to normal. Is that the talk. 

Julie Hebert: Well, actually at the start of January with a new semester,  some students get scheduled changes anyway, because they might've taken a class that was the only one semester long.  So at the start of January some of our really strong assistant principals who are responsible for creating the master schedule. Put some creativity in motion and we're able to make some  significant changes at some of our schools that have allowed the students to be leveled in their appropriate classes. But another challenge we had with  creating an ensemble of students who are adequately on the same level. We had  a lot of instances where students just lost their choice of electives, again, because of the different models of instruction and  elective teachers not being available because they were either assigned to hybrid, or they  requested because of maybe have a medical condition that they do e-learning full time. So there were instances where you had students assigned to. Music ensembles or art  or dance  or theater classes who had never done that and had no desire to do that. So that was another challenge, 

Robyn Bell: frustrating for the student and the teacher. But I think we're seeing, , things might return back to normal. And that's a welcome relief here at the State College of Florida, our ensembles, the exact same thing we're using the masks we use, the bell covers. Our choir has been using the singing masks. We even got spittoons from the Anna Maria Oyster Bar. They saved all these vegetable cans for us. And every brass player has to blow their spit into these little spittoons, you know I have to wear a mask in rehearsal and nobody can hear me. So we have this wireless speaker system and I have to clip  the microphone onto my mask and  we're sitting six feet apart. I'm sure they're socially distancing, which limits the number of students you can have , in an ensemble when they're six feet apart, , we've also found that , it's made the students very independent and not relying on their neighbor to count the rhythms, to play their part. Well, so there's been this kind of positive effect from it that I've loved to see, but it's going to be exciting when we can be back in our normal rows and right next to each other. Cause it's a different sound that's produced. But it's also been nice because the only way we can socially distance here in the band and the orchestra is to use the Neel stage. Cause our rehearsal room is big enough. So we've been able to rehearsal the Neel stage. I love it. 

Julie Hebert:  Speaking of positives. I think that some of the new requirements and precautions because of COVID should stick around. I think that we could continue to play with bell covers. And just prevent like normal everyday virus spread. , in the fall and winter, we lose a lot of students and teachers out for a week or two with the flu. And they predicted this year, I believe. They being the CDC that we would have a really bad flu season and up to this point, We haven't and I think that's because we're being so cautious 

Robyn Bell:  I have a friend though, that also says something nobody talked about is that the flu generally comes up from South America. And since nobody's traveling  nobody's brought the flu here because of travel restrictions. So it could be, it's probably a combination of both things, , because people aren't traveling, we're not taking any other virus COVID , or flu, or even the common cold around. So, yeah, I totally agree. Now you talked earlier about the Arts Alive celebration as being really the cornerstone event that the Manatee Arts Education Council sponsors and  event this year is on March 29th. And one of the great things that I love about  this event is how you guys have developed these awards and that we have arts teachers and community leaders that are recognized and honored. Can you tell us a little bit about , the awards that will be handed out and what do they mean who they're named for and how are the award winners chosen? 

 Julie Hebert: I think that was my idea. And I, borrowed it from the Florida Alliance for arts education. They have an awards program at their summit every year and being the former executive director and now serving on the board,  I pitched the idea to Mary Glass when we first started talking about forming an organization, , having lived and managed County my whole life, other than my years at UCF I knew of so many people that over the years had never received recognition for their contributions.  And so , I felt like we should take the opportunity with the Manatee Arts Education Council to honor those people.  

Robyn Bell: So face it, they're not making a million dollars. So recognition really means a lot in our business of education. Right. 

Julie Hebert: It does absolutely agree. So we came up with 10 categories for awards. I may not be able to recite all of them, but I'll give you a few examples. We have the Arts Alive Award for Music Education, the Arts Alive Award for Leadership. We have the Arts Champion Award, the Arts Innovation Award the Distinguished Alumni Award.  And there are others as well. 

Robyn Bell: There's kind of an open call to nominate people for these different categories. And then I guess the board of the Manatee Arts Education Council looks at the nominations and sort of plugs in the holes and who's going to win what, 

Julie Hebert: Sort of the first year we did not do an open call because the first year. We wanted to really recognize with an extra honor the first recipients of the  award having been, the people who built our arts programs we wanted to honor them, especially. So in year one, which was 2019, not only did they receive the award, but the recipients had their name placed on the award. 

Robyn Bell: So it was kinda like this initial year, you are the winner of this award, and now we are going to name this award after you forever and ever. Amen. 

Julie Hebert: Yeah. Yes. It will carry their namesake from now until, , forever.   For example, the leadership award was named by one of our leaders  in our district who has been instrumental in opening performing arts schools and  that's a huge challenge and a strong leader needs to have buy-in from. The non-arts teachers, because now they are arts integration teachers. And that is not easy for everybody.  One of our outstanding leaders who has done that was Dudley Leigh. And  she built a strong arts programs at Sugg Middle School. And when Lee Middle School opened it was essentially her idea to make it a school for the arts. And it was a magnet school. So any  student in the district could have free transportation to attend there and they built phenomenal programs there. And she then moved to a new school Rowlette Middle Academy, which was just starting as a charter school and spent a year working with the board there and the administration. To make that another school for the arts.  All of the schools that she has had a part in forming are doing outstanding things. And  Barbara Turner, Grace was another person in our community who she was an art teacher for many years at Manatee High School. She was also the mayor of Anna Maria Island. She was a school board member at one point. And was not only a leader in our schools, but in the community as well, and really helped build the support for the arts in our community.  She has since passed. But we named and honored her with the first Visual Art Education Award at the first Arts Alive. So we have the Barbara Turner Grace Award for Visual Art Education. And I could go on and on to recipients for all. 10 are just phenomenal people. I encourage people to look at the website Arts Alive, which has a really long URL. So you can link to it from the Manatee Arts Education Councils website, which is MAEC arts, M A E C arts, all one word Dot org. MAECARTS.org And then from there you can link to the Arts Alive page. And also there's an Arts Alive page within the website on the events section. And you can see all of the inaugural recipient. 

Robyn Bell: And we will put a link in our show notes to that so that listeners can just click and go right there to it. Easy enough for certain great, Julie, will we always end our podcast with some rapid fire questions? And what I like most about this is that you are a Manatee County native, so your questions are all geared around. Great, cool things in Manatee County. Are you ready? 

Julie Hebert: I'm nervous and excited. 

Robyn Bell: All right. The Cortez seafood festival or the Bradenton Blues Festival.

Julie Hebert: Oh man, you're putting me in a conflict. Well, I haven't always been the biggest fan of seafood as I've gotten older. I have acquired  a taste. So as far as attendance, I have attended the Blues Festival more than the Seafood Festival, but I do, and I do enjoy both. 

Robyn Bell: I'll take it. Good. Anna Maria Island or Siesta Key.

Julie Hebert: Oh, Anna Maria Island. Siesta key is way too crowded and far 

Robyn Bell: That's true. A day at the museum or a day at Disney. 

Julie Hebert: Oh, museums. I don't like Disney, sorry, Disney fans too crowded, too hot standing in lines way too long. I know they've tried to fix a lot of that over the years, but I do enjoy Disney. And when the kids were younger, we would take them and had the annual passes. So we could go on all our free weekends, but museums all day, 

Robyn Bell: It's a lot, a hundred percent Pier 22 in downtown Bradenton or the Grove and Lakewood ranch. 

Julie Hebert: Oh, can I say both because they've both been strong supporters of MAEC you know,  we launched the organization at Pier 22 and they provided the catering for the first Arts Alive. And this year we're hosting Arts Alive at Grove. So I can't delineate there

Robyn Bell: Isn't it great that we have these restaurants and organizations that do help us sponsor and put these things on. So that's fantastic. A day at the pool or a day at the beach.

Julie Hebert: Hmm. I don't like planning to go to the beach and I don't like leaving the beach with sand in my car, but I do enjoy my time while I'm there. It's usually a great day. We'll make a day of it with the family, put up the tent, barbecue and  we'll bring out the corn hole games and the football. And of course my husband and the boys will play football out there. And I usually don't get in the water because I'm still like traumatized from jaws. And it's usually too cold for me. And I'm afraid of sting rays. And I don't know if I'm shuffling my feet. Right. So. I'm going to go with the pool. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah. It's an ordeal to go to the beach  unless you're on vacation and like staying in a place right on the beach, I mean, you got to pack all that gear up and then you're going to pay it in the sand. So then you got to go to the carwash I'm with you. Totally give me a day by the pool. 

Julie Hebert: I will say the one thing I do love about our beaches. Oh, I love many things, but one significant thing is that it draws so many tourists to this area, which feeds money into our local government, which is set aside for tourism funds that are filtered through to  support, our arts and cultural organizations locally. And we have received so much support from the Bradenton Area, Arts and Cultural organization. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah,  that's fantastic. That kind of heads in beds tax that they pass along to our cultural arts organizations. That's been really nice funding for us. All right. To perform at a concert or to watch a concert 

Julie Hebert: When I was younger performing. Definitely. Now I don't get to play as often and I've lost my chops and I mean, I can pick it up fairly quickly. I did get to play in the alumni concert with the youth orchestra a couple of years ago. I think it was their 75th year. And they brought us all back together and Chris Confessore conducted, and it was so fun because not only was I with the students who performed with me and my generation, but Amy Bradley performed and Angela Hartsvigsen from Sarasota was there. And,  just so many of the people that I admired. And then of course, the newer alumni who were our former students it was just a really neat experience. So that was a short lived performance that I enjoyed. But for the most part going to concerts, definitely. 

Robyn Bell: I like to say as a trumpet player, I like to say watching a concert doesn't make my face hurts, 

Julie Hebert: especially after you haven't played for so long, it really hurts.

Robyn Bell: All right. The clarinet register key or the saxophone octave key. 

Julie Hebert: When I was learning instruments, the octave key, for sure.  Getting over that break in the clarinet, I mean, amount of squeaks that my family put up with when I was learning they were so patient and understanding and didn't say, you know, quit practicing. But  now that I'm,  a very proficient clarinet player, I would say the register key, 

Robyn Bell: Absolutely. By boat or by motorcycle, 

Julie Hebert: Ugh. Boat. I'm terrified of motorcycles. And a day on the boat is so nice out on the water. It's cool. And, you do all the, you know, pulling the rafts and the, you know, I have never skied. That seems like it'd be really hard, but the kids that fishing. Yeah, definitely the boat and here in the Manatee River, the best, 

Robyn Bell: The best. Absolutely. All right. Last question. This is a tough one. I know they've all been really hard, but this one's super hard. I think, I don't think I could choose, but you have to the Bradenton Riverwalk or Robinson's Preserve.

Julie Hebert: Riverwalk there's way more arts there. And , now with all the restaurants, you know, it's just a super fun area. It's right next to the South Florida Museum the library, which my kids, when they were younger, enjoyed, not so much now. And , I do enjoy Robinson Preserve, but I've actually only been one time and we walked the trails. I actually like for those kinds of, you know, parks, I like Snead Island. I have a lot of family memories there. Growing up, you know, I was there in high school for maybe some, you know, parties that we shouldn't have been having. And but now like when my kids were really young and with my parents and , my husband, Shane his mom who lives in Vermont was down for a visit. And my great grandmother who recently passed Marcella Kissick she was a very. Good amateur photographer. And she did photos for every family event, our wedding just everything. She was able to take some, some family photos at the top of the tower there. And we just really enjoyed that. 

Robyn Bell: Well, congratulations, Julie, Hebert!. You are now officially part of the club. 

Julie Hebert: I'm so proud and happy and honored. And thank you for letting me do this. It's my first time doing anything like this. So thank you for the honor. 

Robyn Bell:  The music, theater, and art faculty here at the State College of Florida always looked forward to a wonderful relationship with the arts educators of Manatee County. We hope that they know that the arts students of Manatee County have a wonderful place to attend locally to further their arts education. Best of luck to you and all the teachers and administrators of Manatee County. As we hopefully begin to see the decline of this pandemic and a return to some sense of normalcy in our arts classrooms. Best of luck to you, Julie, I look forward to seeing you at the Arts Alive event on Monday, March 29th at the Grove restaurant in Lakewood Ranch. 

Julie Hebert: Thank you, Robyn.  

Robyn Bell:  We'll talk to you later. 

Okay. Bye. Bye.