Wells said he encourages students to explore the world, but also to bring back their talents. “I feel like Grand Island is underrated. When I moved here, I taught so many young artists and dancers, and I was like, there’s a ton of talent here. A lot of times they get stuck in that mindset of, okay, well, I’m the best here. Therefore, if I leave, no one will think that I am the best or no one will think that I am this good.
“You should be even more proud to have come from Grand Island. If you’re in New York City as a Rockette, or if you’re in a Broadway show, the next young artist who sees that will be like, well, I could do that too. You also shouldn’t be afraid to go away and take back what you’ve learned, “he added.
It’s a philosophy the fund’s namesake would be proud of, Skalberg said. “I think he would just be thrilled. Clark would be absolutely thrilled if he could make an impact on these kids.
Children like Reese’s son Ryan, a graduate of GISH. Reese was a dedicated “father of the group” and was also a part of the GIPS Foundation. He passed away several years ago and his wife and Ryan decided to create a fund through the foundation to benefit the school’s fine arts efforts.
Wiemers said she and her fellow performers appreciated the gift from the Reese family. “We are extremely grateful to the Grand Island Public Schools Foundation for even being able to bring Danny here as it is an additional expense. We are extremely lucky to have him here.