The after-school fun of the Tony M. Music and Arts Foundation may come soon to a school near you.
SINCE THE FALL OF 2018, a growing number of kids grades 3 through 5 in Martinsburg and beyond have been offered fun and useful afterschool arts classes—activities like photography, knitting, and ukulele.
The classes are organized by the Tony M. Music and Arts Foundation (TMMAAF). “For me and the partner I founded this with, Beth Lehman, arts were a big part of our lives growing up,” says Tony Martirano—you may know him as the children’s music entertainer Tony M. Music. “We wanted to share that with children to get them passionate about the arts as well.”
TMMAAF is organized on a feel-good model: Classes are led by school staff who have talents and skills to offer—and, Martirano explains, those instructors are paid for their time. “And the teachers and others on the staff, they really enjoy sharing their talents with the children.”
Each class is offered one day per week of a fourweek session, with one fall semester session and one spring session each school year. Parents pay $40 for each class, with scholarships available.
From one Berkeley County school in the fall of 2018, the program has expanded into Jefferson and Ohio counties and now offers fulfilling arts experiences to hundreds of children in nine schools. Martirano hopes to eventually be in every county.