Carmine Tabone to retire from the Educational Arts Team
Tabone inspired three generations of Jersey City children

JERSEY CITY —The Educational Arts Team, a Jersey City nonprofit leading the way in drama and visual arts integration for young people, announced today that Carmine Tabone, executive director and co-founder, will retire, effective June 30, 2021. During this time, he will assist Educational Arts Team’s board of directors with transitioning the organization to its new era of leadership. Carmine will remain integrally involved with the Team to consult on programs.

 

Carmine was instrumental in the creation Educational Arts Team’s much-beloved Camp Liberty, transforming a 1970’s city-run youth summer program on abandoned land near the waterfront into a Jersey City day camp now serving its third generation of families. Camp Liberty offers enriching artistic, recreational, and social experiences in a beautiful outdoor setting to children ages 6 to 15 for eight weeks every summer.

 

Tabone also developed and led the Educational Arts Team’s interactive literacy programs, leading countless professional development sessions for teachers and classroom workshops for public school students. What started as a youth theater company of local high school students in 1974 and basic drama workshops in the Jersey City Public Schools in 1979, evolved into a sophisticated combination of role drama, collaborative out-of-your-seat activities and inquiry methods, that engage students and help them make positive, joyful associations with reading and writing.

 

Carmine and a team of teaching artists now use these theater strategies in urban schools
throughout northern New Jersey to build critical thinking skills and deepen students’ literacy and
social-emotional development.


During regular school years, up to 11,000 students at all learning and income levels as well as
hundreds of Language Arts teachers participate in Educational Arts Team workshops. Carmine
designed, implemented, and documented a series of three independently evaluated projects
funded by highly competitive U.S. Department of Education Arts in Education grants (2005-2014) that showed how arts integration programs can be greatly effective in improving academic and social learning.


“Carmine built this organization from its start as a city-sponsored effort to the thriving, independent group it is today,” said Micheline Grace Lewis, board president. “In the process, his work has touched the lives of thousands of children and their families. We are grateful to him for the decades he has devoted to the Educational Arts Team’s establishment and its success. As we work through this leadership transition, our focus is on ensuring Camp Liberty and the Educational Arts Team school programs are there for future generations of Jersey City children and their families, continuing the inspiring legacy that Carmine has built.”

Tabone, who earned an Ed. S. from Seton Hall University and an MA in Educational Theatre

from NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development where he subsequently became an adjunct faculty member. He is currently an adjunct professor in the MPA program at St. Peter’s University, and has conducted in-service training workshops at regional, national and international conferences. From 1990 to 1997, Tabone facilitated men’s drama groups at the Orange County Jail in New York. He has co-authored a book on drama education activities, as well as three handbooks with EAT teaching artists. Recently, Carmine and Bob Albrecht, media professor at NJCU and longtime team member, completed a book, the Arts and Play as Educational Media in the Digital Age (2020), that documents much of the philosophy and methods behind Educational Arts Team’s programs.


As part of its send-off for Carmine, the Educational Arts Team board is soliciting videos from
children and adults who attended Camp Liberty or who had a memorable experience at an
Educational Arts Team workshop. The board is also planning a farewell party for Carmine on the
grounds of Camp Liberty this summer. Anyone interested in sending a video should contact
abigail@educationalartsteam.org



About the Educational Arts Team
The Educational Arts Team uses drama and visual arts to provide young people with deep and
long-lasting emotional and academic experiences that promote literacy and social-emotional development. Our guiding philosophy is that the arts are an essential way to inspire young people to realize academic success, increase self-worth, strengthen critical social skills, and create a vision of a positive future.


The Team also runs Camp Liberty, a beloved Jersey City summer camp for children ages 6-15.

Tucked between buildings at the edge of Liberty State Park, the camp, with its open-air pavilion, swimming pool, and fairytale forest — where every tree was planted by staff or volunteers — provides a tranquil green space where urban youth can learn, grow, and create together. Campers choose from activities like arts, sports, and music and put on an original play with a handmade set and costumes at the end of every two-week session for parents and the community, with the Mayor or other Jersey City officials often in attendance. During a typical summer, 250 children from diverse backgrounds come to the camp daily, with camp leadership raising funds from donors and corporate sponsors to ensure that low-income
children, including recent refugees, can attend on full scholarships.