Free children’s theater classes offered in Brighton Heights

916 Classes will be held in the Java N’ Cream coffee shop in Brighton Heights.

As the owner of a performing arts gallery and a resident of Brighton Heights, Jessica Palitti saw a lack of arts activities for kids in her neighborhood and had both the means and the motive to help fill that void.

Palitti, the owner of the JP Gallery of Performing Arts in Emsworth, will host a free, five week children’s theater course at Java N’ Cream Coffee Shop on California Avenue for children in grades 1-6 beginning Sept. 29.

The theater program will last five weeks through October from 9:15 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. on Saturday mornings and aims to “build stage presence and confidence in front of large crowds.”

Java N’ Cream owners Bob and Yolanda Rhoden are hosting the program to provide the kids in the area with educational activities. They have programs like this often asa way to help the Brighton Heights community.

“Our goal is to get families in the door and allow them to get to know us, seeing that we are experienced, trustworthy professionals in the arts and in education that only have their children’s best interest at heart,” said Palitti.

In addition to providing a free activity for Northside kids and bringing people to the California Avenue business district, the classes will also serve as a preview for a larger project that Palitti is undertaking in Brighton Heights.

On Oct. 3, Palitti plans to open a Brighton Heights location of the JP Gallery of Performing Arts in Oliver Hall, located bellow the All Saints Episcopal Church on McClure Avenue, that will offer regular dance, music and theater classes.

Their goal is to prepare productions for the upcoming fall festivals and holiday celebrations.

After experiencing the success of four seasons of the JP Gallery of Performing Arts, which opened in 2009, Palitti began planning an expansion of the program.

“Right away, the “light bulb” turned on,” she said, “and we suddenly thought that it absolutely had to be on the Northside.”

As she and her school begin programs on the Northside, her goal is “to get the boys and girls of the Northside communities actively involved during this current school year so that next year we can move our school into a more permanent location, helping to add to the revitalization of many of our business districts.”

Her Emsworth gallery is providing four scholarships to their school, two for residents of Brighton Heights and two for any residents of the greater Northside area. For more information on these scholarships or any of the classes offered in either Brighton Heights or Emsworth, contact the JP Gallery at 724-462-4548 or at

“I want students to get out of my program exactly what got me to where I am today, and that is a successful individual who has a great appreciation for community and for the arts,” said Palitti.


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