Mrs. Laura Bush to Honor Arts and Education Programs for Underserved Youth
Honorees from 17 communities in the U.S. and Mexico invited to January 25th Ceremony
January 25, 2006
Washington, DC - Young people from communities across the U.S. and Mexico who engage in after-school arts and humanities programs that promote educational achievement and productive lives will be honored by Mrs. Laura Bush at a ceremony for the 2005 Coming Up Taller Awards in Washington, D.C. The ceremony will take place at 2:30 p.m. in the East Room of the White House on Wednesday, January 25th.
From photography and media arts in New York City, to playwriting and book groups in the heartland, to live theater and musical performance on the west coast and Hawaii, the honored programs represent a diverse array of experiences that enable young people to nurture their interests under the disciplined and caring tutelage of educators and community leaders. All programs will receive $10,000 in honor of their accomplishments in enriching the lives of young people and their communities.
"When young people have the opportunity to explore the arts and humanities and discover their creative side, a new world is opened to these students," said Mrs. Bush.
NEA Chairman Dana Gioia and First Lady Laura Bush present a Coming Up Taller award to Inside Out Community Arts Co-Founder and Co-Director Camille Ameen and student Brandon Tillis. Photo by Stephen Purcell
Coming Up Taller is an initiative of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH). The President's Committee partners with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to administer the program, which was founded in 1998.
The Coming Up Taller Awards recognize and support outstanding community arts and humanities programs that celebrate the creativity of America's young people, and provide them with new learning opportunities and opportunities to contribute to their communities. The awards also highlight the contributions that historians, scholars, librarians and visual and performing artists make to families and communities by mentoring children. More than 250 nominations were received by the program in 2005
"The arts and humanities develop bright young people who will lead our nation in the future," said Adair Margo, Chairman, President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. "Coming Up Taller recognizes the best of after-school and summer programs that engage youth in music, theatre, dance, photography, history and all kinds of enriching activities that help them realize their full potential as human beings."
Representatives of each program will be in Washington to accept the awards.
Descriptions of the programs that will be honored are as follows:
The ArtsLiteracy Project, Brown Summer High School, Brown University,
Launched in 1998, the ArtsLiteracy Project helps young people define themselves, their peers and their society by plunging into classic dramatic texts to produce unique student interpretations and performances. As a part of Brown Summer High School, based out of Brown University's Education Department, the program lasts four-weeks and involves 150 underserved teenagers from communities in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The ArtsLiteracy Project promotes cognitive, social and personal development in the lives of its participants, which improves literacy and creative expression.
Cathedral Choir School of Delaware, Cathedral Community Services
The Cathedral School Choir of Delaware instructs Wilmington's economically disadvantaged youth in the choral arts, emphasizing excellence in the recital hall, as well as in choristers' personal lives. Students aged 7-to-18 audition to join choirs and, upon their acceptance, spend dedicated hours learning how to read music, receive piano lessons and perfect their vocal talents. Music education and development are major assets to choristers; yet discipline, responsibility, leadership and teamwork are the enduring values that make the Cathedral Choir School outstanding. Choristers have performed in some of the world's most renowned cathedrals, including Washington National Cathedral, Trinity Church in Boston and Exeter Cathedral in London. The Choir School has also served as a prototype for other churches seeking to establish their own choral education programs.
Latino Outreach Program, Philadelphia Museum of Art
Over the past eighteen years, the Philadelphia Museum's Division of Education staff has worked collaboratively with community organizations within Philadelphia's large Latino population to build pride in community, teach children about their rich cultural heritage, and encourage youth development in arts and humanities learning. Working in collaboration with its partner organizations, the Museum offers bilingual art programs after school, on weekends and in the summers, both at the Museum and at community sites, for children of all ages. The Museum's partners in the Latino Outreach Program include Taller Puertorriqueño, Congreso de Latinos Unidos, and the Norris Square Neighborhood Project.
TRUCE, Harlem Children's Zone, Inc.
NEW YORK, NY
Created by Harlem Children's Zone, Inc., The Renaissance University for Community Education (TRUCE) offers youth of Central Harlem from 12 to 19-years-old a variety of media and arts programs as a means of expression and career development. Participants develop communications skills and latent artistic talent as journalists and editors of a newspaper, producers and writers of an award-winning cable TV program, playwrights and actors of a play, or even designers and gardeners of community parks. TRUCE demonstrates how students can extend their creative and intellectual power to succeed in self-expression and academic security.
ICP at the Point, International Center of Photography
NEW YORK, NY
Developed by The Point Community Development Corporation in the Bronx in collaboration with the International Center for Photography in Manhattan, ICP at The Point offers young people from 8 to 19 years old a chance to express their creative impulses while acquiring real-world business skills. Some 200 students engage in individual and group photo projects in which they are encouraged to work in their own communities and seek out subjects. All students participate in hands-on activities, workshops, field trips, group exhibitions and a student-led gallery. These activities challenge and teach participants entrepreneurship, critical-thinking, self confidence and community empowerment. Each year, students demonstrate success by being accepted into top arts schools and institutions of higher education, forming collectives and other business-minded ventures using photography, gaining employment at the International Center of Photography, mentoring new students and extending their expertise to the communities in which they live.
Youth-Art-in-Action, Museum of Fine Arts
Developed by the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (SMFA), Youth-Art-in-Action was founded to give the youth of Boston's immigrant and refugee communities a greater understanding of their heritage and stimulate community interaction through the creation of public art. At-risk young people from 14 to 19-years-old collaborate with residents of surrounding communities to explore public issues that provoke inspiration, impressions and insights towards each art project's unique theme. Through each project's life cycle, students engage in public dialogue; research the subject and materials; decide on content, audience and venue; and design and install their art. Youth-Art-in-Action has proudly witnessed 17 of its participants enter college and two more complete Americorps in recent years.
Teen Media Program, The Community Art Center, Inc.
Since its inception in 1970, Teen Media Program (TMP) has offered more than 1,000 students technical training in a variety of media arts, affording them a vehicle to voice their viewpoints, a feeling of responsibility and empowerment over their education, and, for many, a career in the arts. This year, the program served more than 50 young people aged 12 to 19 living in a Cambridge public housing development. Students attend workshops on the art medium of interest to them. The classes cater to the individuals' skill levels, and many students attend advanced training sessions, in addition to the supplementary workshops on an array of disciplines, including script-writing and painting, that will expand their production abilities.
Cultural Alternatives Division, Music and Arts Center for Humanity (MACH), BRIDGEPORT, CT
Launched in 1999, Cultural Alternatives is a division of MACH's community school of the arts. It delivers life-enhancement skills through arts curriculum to disadvantaged youth ages 2 to19 of Bridgeport, Connecticut. Through performing and visual arts, design, media, creative communications and art therapy, the Cultural Alternatives Division relies on quality assurances and best practices in arts education to nurture the next generation of artists. This unique approach has created a place where participants are flourishing because they learn to unlock their creative aptitudes through discipline and personal development.
Pillsbury House Theatre's Chicago Avenue Project, Pillsbury United Communities
Pillsbury House Theatre's Chicago Avenue Project brings together African-American and immigrant youth with adult artists to create compelling, original productions. Each year, the program attracts 80 young people aged 8 to 14 who live in inner-city neighborhoods throughout Minneapolis. From the very first acting class, participants are paired with a professional playwright, with whom they write a short play, incorporating the child's unique personality into one of the characters. The pair performs the play to public audiences free of charge. Later, students work with a professional dramaturge during the summer playwriting class, and then write their own plays, fine-tuning and rehearsing them with the help of the professional artists during a rural retreat. The project culminates with the performance of the plays, during which the student playwright sits at a special desk on the stage and reads along as the actors perform; in this way, the student and his or her voice is highlighted as the centerpiece of the work.
Book Group Programs at Family Focus, Literature for All of Us EVANSTON, IL
Book Group Programs at Family Focus introduce high-interest literature to teenage girls who meet in weekly book group circles to discuss the books and write poetry with a professional facilitator. The program specifically targets young women who face economic challenges and those of early motherhood, in an effort to provide a vehicle for creative expression and reflection, which are essential in personal growth and successful parenting. Each year, Literature for All of Us collaborates with alternative schools, G.E.D. providers, and after-school programs to bring the program to over 700 young women participants, from 9 to 19-years old. Nearly 80 percent of participants surveyed read much more frequently than before enrolling in the program, and more than 60 percent say the experience helps them perform better in school, often because it gives them more confidence in their reading, writing, and speaking skills.
JAMS, Van Go Mobile Arts, Inc.
Founded in 1997, Van Go Mobile Arts is an arts-based social service agency that developed Jobs in the Arts Makes Sense (JAMS) to improve the lives of high-needs youth by using art as a vehicle for self-expression, self-confidence and hope for the future. JAMS hires some 90 underserved youth of Lawrence, Kansas to create public works of art and fulfill private commissions. Participants learn values that are productive to their communities by refining their artistic talents, mastering professional skills and earning recognition and compensation for their hard work.
Moving in the Spirit
Created in 1986, Moving in the Spirit (MITS) enables students to cultivate essential life and leadership skills by completing a sequence of customized dance programs that imitate "real life." The program annually serves more than 200 young people from ages 3 to 18 throughout Atlanta. Focusing on both character development and physical fitness, it allows participants, who are predominantly minority students from underserved neighborhoods, to advance according to their own intellectual and technical growth. The company requires students to sign employment contracts that espouse goals and expectations similar to that of a job. Students continue learning accountability and responsibility in the Apprentice Corporation, which simulates a work environment by rewarding students with points, similar to a salary; with enough points, students can participate in the national summer dance tour.
Old Stories, New Voices, Colorado Historical Society
Created in 1997, participants in the Old Stories, New Voices Intercultural Youth Program pitch camp for a week at historic Fort Garland in south-central Colorado, embarking on a journey not only through their home state's natural landscape, but also through its history and diverse cultures. The result of a partnership between the Colorado Historical Society and the National Park Service, the program this year offered more than 50 of Colorado's underserved rural and urban youth, from 9 to 12 years old, the opportunity to make history come to life. Participants role-play as the various peoples who inhabited Colorado, learning first-hand how these people lived and their fate as their cultures intersected. Participants gain an understanding of time periods as they sequence archaeological items, interpret artifacts, sketch and keep journals. The week culminates when students present a play highlighting what they learned.
The School Project, Inside Out Community Arts, Inc.
The School Project was founded in 1993 to bring youth from the most challenged schools in Los Angeles together with professional artists to explore performing arts. During the four-month program, 120 middle school students work closely with one other and 40 professional artists in arts workshops, field trips and performances. The intense communication and collaboration required from students to assemble a theatrical production also extends to their social interactions as students unearth and disprove preconceived notions of one another. After extensive preparation, students write original plays based on themes underscoring their lives and communities. The young artists build their own character as they create the characters in their plays. They also design and paint the set and take responsibility for every aspect of their production. Following a three-day rehearsal and camping retreat in the Santa Monica Mountains, the program culminates in performances at a professional theatre and at the students' schools.
Castle Performing Arts Learning Center, Department of Education: J.B. Castle High School
Debuting its first production in 1963, the Castle Performing Arts and Learning Center (CPAC) has been instructing students of Oahu, Hawaii in fine arts theatre, technical production and set design for over 40 years. Youth in grades 5-12 are instructed by theatre professionals in classical acting, vocal music and contemporary dance. The CPAC program challenges its participants to fully explore their creative potential, apply it within the framework of a theatrical production, and work hard for the success of the entire production team. Director Karen Meyer notes that CPAC participants "grow into highly professional thespians - as talented as actors in the regional theaters here. They become very professional, very quickly."
The Art and Children Project
Each year, The Art and Children Project selects a different site within Soteapan, Veracruz, Mexico as its "classroom." There, instructors interweave literature, visual arts, dance, music, theatre and more to teach participants about indigenous cultural traditions and customs. The project employs the artistic process to awaken young peoples' aesthetic, intellectual and emotional sensibilities and serves as a model across Mexico. Children who participate incorporate life experiences and their understanding of their history and traditions to produce high-quality artwork that has been recognized regionally and nationally.
The Margarita Septien Ludic Center
Through workshops in music, storytelling, writing, dance and theater, more than 100 young people ages 6 to18 in rural Nogueras, Colima also gain a deeper understanding of their cultural history at the Margarita Septien Ludic Center. In a community where the primary occupations are subsistence farming, bricklaying and working in the fields, the children have the opportunity to bridge their educational needs with their rich heritage and discover their full potential for disciplined creative expression. Eighty-five percent of the Ludic Center's students have graduated from high school, and many have gone on to college. Their work has won a number of international competitions and has been exhibited at the Wohler Institute in Frankfurt, Germany, Mount Mercy College in Iowa City, Iowa, the Ship of the Future in The Hague, Netherlands, and in Tokyo and New York.
"Through the Coming Up Taller program, the President's Committee focuses national attention on exemplary programs that enhance the lives and learning of young people who are most at risk," said Henry Moran, Executive Director, President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. "We believe our nation's future – our leaders, artists, writers, musicians, educators and entrepreneurs – depends on the investment these excellent programs make in the lives and talents of our youth."
The President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) bridges the interests of federal agencies and the private sector, supports special projects that increase participation, and helps incorporate the humanities and the arts into White House objectives. Mrs. Laura Bush is the Honorary Chair of the PCAH.
The National Endowment for the Arts is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts, both new and established; bringing the arts to all Americans; and providing leadership in arts education.
Because democracy demands wisdom, the National Endowment for the Humanities serves and strengthens our Republic by promoting excellence in the humanities and conveying the lessons of history to all Americans.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is an independent federal grant making agency dedicated to creating and sustaining a nation of learners.
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