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YOUTH • \ K I s 


The participation of the following businesses, foundations, 
and organizations in supporting the Coming Up Taller Awards 
has been indispensable. 

Elizabeth and Richard Dubin Foundation 

GMAC Financial Services 

Members, President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities 

Ministry of Culture, People's Republic of China 

The National Council for Culture and the Arts of Mexico and the U.S. 
Embassy in Mexico, with special support from the Comex Group, 

Fundacion Coca-Cola, and United Airlines 

Time Warner Inc. 

U.S. Embassy in Cairo 

Vin and Caren Prothro Foundation 

GMAC Financial Services 


With gratitude, the President's Committee on the Arts and the 
Humanities acknowledges GMAC Financial Services and Time 
Warner Inc. for their leadership commitment to arts and education. 
Their generous contributions play a significant role in the success of 
the Coming Up Taller program and make this publication possible. 

Special thanks go to the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies 
for its partnership in coordinating the Coming Up Taller program. 

The following individuals are central to the success of this initiative: 

Carmen Boston, National Assembly of State Arts Agencies 

Wilsonia Cherry, National Endowment for the Humanities 

Sharon Gee, National Assembly of State Arts Agencies 

Candace Katz, President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities 

Marsha Semmel, Institute of Museum and Library Services 

Traci Slater-Rigaud, President's Committee on the Arts 
and the Humanities 

Anthony Tighe, National Endowment for the Arts 


Writers: Carol Dana, Traci Slater-Rigaud 

Editors: Jayson Hait, Traci Slater-Rigaud, Tidings Chan 

Design: fuszion 

Printing: Fannon 

Coming Up Taller Logo Design: Time Warner Inc. 

Permission to copy, disseminate, or otherwise use information from 
this booklet is granted as long as appropriate acknowledgment 
is given. 

Contact the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities 
for copies of this publication: 

President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities 

1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW 
Suite 526 

Washington, DC 20506 
Phone: 202-682-5409 
Fax: 202-682-5668 

ere is no way to fast rorwar 
and know how the kids will look 
back on this, but I have seen the 
joy in their eyes and have heard 
it in their voices, and I have 
watched them take a bow 
and Come Up Taller. 



Front Cover, center: TADA! Resident Youth Ensemble participant Rovm 
Sena in Maggie and the Pirate. 

Left: Project Jericho's Family Connections "A Key to the City " module 
Photographers: TADA 1 Youth Theater, Project Jericho 



Honorary Chairman 

President's Committee 

the Arts and the Humanities 

Welcome to the 2008 Coming Up Taller Awards! 

Dr. Seuss once wrote, "Congratulations! Today is your day. You're off 
to Great Places! You're off and away!" He could have been talking to 
the boys and girls who have benefited from this year's Coming Up 
Taller Award winners. 

These outstanding programs help children discover their talents 
and unleash their imaginations in unique ways. Exploring the customs 
of native people in Alaska and leading art museum tours in New 
York help young people learn about other cultures through the arts. 
In San Diego, photographs conveying stories of immigration to America 
give children a new perspective about other people's journeys to 
find freedom. And the opportunity to perform traditional opera on 
stage in China leaves a lasting impression on a young person's life. 

As part of President Bush's Helping America's Youth Initiative, 
I have traveled across the country listening to young men and women 
whose lives have been enriched by programs like yours. Their stories 
are similar: Caring adults have shown them that they matter and 
that they have what it takes to succeed. 

As Honorary Chair of the President's Committee on the Arts and 
the Humanities, I am delighted to join the Committee members, the 
National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for 
the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services 
in congratulating this year's award winners. Thank you to all of the 
adult leaders who have made a difference in children's lives. Your 
efforts make possible the important goal of building a brighter 
future for the next generation. 

President Bush joins me in sending admiration to each of you 
and best wishes for a great celebration together! 


Right: Mark Tubin, Jr. demonstrates the one-arm-reach. 
Photographer: Alaska Native Heritage Center 

President's Committee on 
the Arts and the Humanities 


The President's Committee applauds the achievements of this year's 
Coming Up Taller Award winners. Now in its 11th year, Coming Up 
Taller brings to light how arts and humanities programs outside the 
regular school day help young people realize their talent and find 
their voices. When we gather for these awards, we are reminded of 
why they are so appropriately named. After we experience girls 
and boys singing, playing instruments, and dancing, we witness for 
ourselves how, when taking their final bow, they are Coming Up Taller! 

It's encouraging to watch these programs grow across the United 
States and to know that they are enriching lives in other countries, 
too. Children are learning their own traditions and those of other 
cultures by playing a guitar, erhu, or marimba. Our young performers 
remind us that it doesn't matter if they become professional artists 
or pursue another road. The arts and the humanities are about 
exploring the world around us, knowing each other better, and 
becoming whole human beings. 

As the poet William Butler Yeats said, "Education is not the filling 
up of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." Coming Up Taller programs 
help light the fires of curiosity, creativity, and motivation in our 
young people and nourish these precious flames with mentoring, 
caring, and guidance on doing one's best for a common goal. 

Bienvenidos to our friends from Mexico; &iH! to our friends from 
the People's Republic of China; and, for the first year, l^-y* to our 
friends from Egypt! It has been enriching for us to honor programs 
from other countries at the White House, and we look forward to 
knowing each other better. Plans are being made for exchanges 
between Coming Up Taller awardees, bringing programs and young 
people together across borders. Our Mexican partners will convene 
winners from the United States and Mexico next year, to exchange 
ideas, build relationships, and share Mexican history and culture 
with us. 

We are grateful to our partner cultural agencies— the Institute of 
Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Arts, 
and the National Endowment for the Humanities— who have made it 
a priority to reach out to other parts of the world with outstanding 
programs. We also thank all of our contributors, especially GMAC, 
Time Warner, and the members of the President's Committee, for 
making this program possible. 



cxccuiivc uirenor 
President's Committee on 
the Arts and the Humanities 




Institute of Museum and Library Services 



National Endowment for the Arts 




National Endowment for the Humanities 

I We cannot always build the 
future for our youth, but we can 
build our youth for the future. J5 


commitment to building a better tomorrow 
by cultivating the minds and the talents of 
our youth today is at the heart of all of this 
'. year's Coming Up Taller award winners. 
The young people served by these Coming Up Taller 
programs are the next generation of leaders, artists, 
writers, musicians, educators, and entrepreneurs. 
The choices they make and activities in which they 
now engage have a direct link to their success as 
adults. We are pleased to join with First Lady Laura 
Bush in celebrating the accomplishments of these young 
people and recognizing model programs that reaffirm the 
vital role of the arts and humanities in human development. 

The Coming Up Taller Awards honor and support excellence in 
arts and humanities programs that lay new pathways to learning, 
self-discovery, and achievement outside the regular school day. The 
programs motivate youth to acquire new skills and knowledge and 
provide opportunities for them to succeed. 

An initiative of the President's Committee on the Arts and the 
Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National 
Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and 
Library Services, the Coming Up Taller Awards symbolize a shared 
commitment to enriching the lives of young people through the arts 
and the humanities. Leading foundations, businesses, corporations, 
and individuals provide additional critical support. Our collective 
investment demonstrates the contributions that the arts and the 
humanities make to learning for children and teens across 
the country and beyond. 

Since its inception 11 years ago, the Coming Up Taller program has 
received more than 3,500 nominations from every state in the country, 
recognized over 400 programs as Semifinalists, and designated 
more than 150 programs as Finalists. Together, our agencies have 
awarded more than $1,400,000 to Coming Up Taller Finalists; increased 
the number of annual awards from 10 to 15; and introduced an 
annual leadership conference to enhance the organizational 
capabilities of award recipients. 

This year's awardees reflect the thriving field of cultural after-school 
programs in the United States and the growing participation of 
other nations. It is with considerable pride that we have made the 
Coming Up Taller program part of our nation's cultural diplomacy 
activities in other countries. Through a partnership with the U.S. 
Mexico Foundation for Culture and a new partnership with Conaculta, 
we have given 14 awards to cultural youth programs in Mexico. Also, 
as an outgrowth of our visit to the People's Republic of China in 200~7, 
we have cultivated a partnership with the country's Ministry of 
Culture, through which we've recognized two programs from China. 
Additionally, for the first time, we welcome the inclusion of a youth 
program based in Cairo, Egypt, as a Coming Up Taller awardee and 
look forward to continuing the cultivation of our partnership with Egypt. 

By engaging youth in literature, drama, music, history, and art, 
the 2008 Coming Up Taller Award winners are expanding young 
minds and helping youth throughout the United States and around 
the world build a better tomorrow. 

Left: April Baker participates in Project Jericho's Family Connections 
"Someone's in the Kitchen With Mommy" module. 
Top: Andrew Walker demonstrates an Alaskan high kick. 
Photographers: Project Jericho, Alaska Native Heritage Center 

Coming Up Taller Uranh i»»S 5 




When I dance, I feel a connection 
with my culture. Everything at 
that moment feels right. I know 
who I am and what my people 
mean to me. 



& Traditional Arts 




ihartyiqtalaska native, net 
w. a 

Anchorage has the largest Alaska Native community 
in the state, yet the majority of these youth have little 
connection to their Native heritage or the dominant 
popular culture that surrounds them. Because many 
of these young people have spent their entire lives in this urban 
area, their lack of personal and cultural identity can 
manifest itself in disproportionately high dropout 
and unemployment rates. 

To remedy this situation, the Alaska Native 
Heritage Center (ANHC) runs an intensive 
after-school program that incorporates 
the arts and humanities to teach high school 
students about their cultural roots. Meeting 
four days a week for two hours a day during 
the academic year, participants work with skilled 
Alaska Native instructors, learning traditional 
dance and music, as well as carving, mask making, 
basketry, and other folk arts. 

The young people receive hands-on media and technology training, 
gaining skills that they can use to disseminate their communities' 
stories to a wider audience, as well as to obtain jobs. They also 
develop strength, endurance, and concentration by participating 
in Native games. Leadership workshops introduce students to 
high-profile Alaskan figures, while challenging them to identify 
their own strengths and prepare for roles of greater responsibility. 

Participants who complete 120 hours in the program receive a half 
semester's high school credit, which counts toward graduation. 
In addition, the Alaska Native Heritage Center— a museum and 
cultural center that hosts some 100,000 tourists a year— employs 
about 15 percent of the program's students each summer as 
dancers, cultural interpreters, or guest-service workers. 

Teens in the ANHC program have a 24 percent higher graduation 
rate than Native high school students who do not attend the 
after-school sessions. 

Moreover, the immersion in cultural traditions has the potential 
to make a lifelong difference. "These are things that touch the 
spirit or the soul; they touch the essence of who we are," explains 
Director Bob Harty. By promoting a sense of grounding, as well as 
greater confidence and maturity, participants 
gain tools to make sense of the world and 
find their place in it, he notes. 

K * w 

Left, from background to foreground: (L-R) Flora Phillips, Tamara Sambo, and 

Maddelynn Sambo perform during the Alaska Native Heritage Center's Heroes 

of Human Rights Day: Jay Rapoza demonstrates videography. 

Top: Tiana Fuqua works on her end-of-year project. 

Bottom: (L-R) Roberta Gochenauer carves into red cedar in the NW Coast Art 

panels class; young men learn how to drum an Unangax song and dance. 

Photographer: Alaska Native Heritage Center 

Coming Up Taller Iwantsso 


Back on Track 

When I think about my street... 

I think about those trying to beat me down, 
trying to make me look like a clown. 

But that doesn't make me frown 
or look at the ground. 

When they come at me like that, 

swinging with a bat, 

I keep trying to get back on track, 

grab my soccer ball and a pencil 

and blow those other dudes off the map! 




e, nth Floor 

New York, NY 10018 










.1 million 
'-868-9510 ext. 307 


At first glance, it might seem like an unusual amalgam 
of activities for an after-school program: studying and 
writing poetry, playing soccer, and working on community 
service projects. But that's how nearly 6,000 elementary 
school students in some of the lowest-performing public schools 
in America are spending their afternoons, five days a week 
throughout the school year. And, there's a waiting list! 

Known as America SCORES, the program is 
the brainchild of a Washington, DC, teacher 
who began to share her soccer and poetry 
hobbies with at-risk students to give them 
something productive to do after school. 
The unlikely pairing of athletics and literature 
improved kids' grades, keeping them in school 
and out of trouble. Today, 200 public schools 
in 15 cities across the country offer the program. 
America SCORES selects, trains, and pays the 
public school teachers who oversee poetry, soccer, 
and service-learning workshops and practices. 

During the fall semester, participants— many of whom come 
from tough environments— spend three afternoons a week playing 
soccer and learning teamwork, while getting much-needed exercise. 
Two afternoons a week, the young people focus on poetry. They 
study basic literary terminology and poetic devices; analyze 
the poetry of Emily Dickinson, Robert Louis Stevenson, Christina 
Rossetti, and Nikki Giovanni; and write poetry in a variety of forms, 
based on their studies. This art form enables participants to express 
difficult feelings, triumphs, and dreams, while gaining reading and 
writing skills that will improve their chances in school. And, as Paul 
Caccamo, president, points out, "For a child who's never had the 
opportunity to express himself or herself, poetry is an amazing 
tool because there's no wrong way to write a poem." 

The fall semester culminates in a spoken-word Poetry Slam!, in 
which all of America SCORES' students perform their original poetry 
for families and community members, reinforcing participants' pride 
in their achievements. Many students get the added thrill of seeing 
their poems published in the organization's Kicker! magazine, 
which has a national circulation of 15,000. 

In spring, students continue to play soccer, but a service-learning 
curriculum replaces the poetry component. Once the young 
people decide on a project— for example, running a food drive, 
raising AIDS awareness, or installing emergency call boxes in their 
neighborhoods— they draw on their expository writing 
skills to make the case for and publicize their projects. 
This component fosters civic engagement, helping the 
youth see themselves as "agents of positive change 
in their communities," Caccamo notes. 

A recent evaluation found that participants improved 
their fitness, strengthened their writing skills, and 
increased their confidence. They also tended to spend 
more free time reading, writing, and exercising. 

Left, from background to foreground: (L-R) America SCORES students from 

Denver, Cleveland, and Seattle; Michael Perry performs his original poetry at 

the program's National Poetry Slam! in New York City. 

Top: America SCORES Seattle students recite a poem during halftime of their 

soccer game. 

Bottom: America SCORES Dallas student works on an original poem. 

Photographers: America SCORES, Christopher Auger-Dominguez. Jack Storms 

Coming Up Taller lu<anhsaoH 9 


My child is a good leader, but he 
doesn't feel confident in particular 
situations. This camp has given 
him confidence in [pursuing] his 
art, going out on his own and 
meeting new people, and dealing 
with confrontation. 






;iem a 

When people think of leadership, they often associate 
it with fields like politics or sports. But many artists 
also have the potential to be leaders because of 
their ability to see the world in non-traditional ways 
and formulate creative solutions to problems, points out Jackie 
M., director of education and public programs for the 
Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico. 
"Creative individuals are visionaries; they're 
thinkers," she explains. 

In an effort to support and develop the 
leadership qualities of artistically inclined 
young people, the Museum launched the 
innovative Art and Leadership Program in 1998. 
It was initially open only to girls, in keeping with 
the Museum's focus on O'Keeffe (a woman artist) 
and in response to research documenting declines 
in girls' achievement as they reach adolescence. The 
Museum launched a separate, parallel program for boys in 
2002 to address gender-specific factors impeding their academic 
success. In particular, because many artistic boys lack role models 
the program encourages their creative development. 

The tuition-free, gender-based program involves 
intensive two-week summer camps. Low-income 
children and those confronting at-risk issues 
such as abuse, divorce, or death in the family 
receive priority placement. The Museum also 
runs an after-school program at selected 
sites throughout the school year. 

Gifted artists lead the sessions. They use theater 
games, role-playing exercises, and reflective 
components built into arts activities to promote 

students' abilities to make sound decisions, 
set goals, and articulate needs and boundaries. 

For example, in one exercise, girls create two 
self-portraits: one at their present age and one 
much older. Next, they reflect on what they hope 
to have accomplished by their 80th birthday. 
M. points out that this helps students 
understand that they have choices in their 
lives and encourages them to set higher goals, 
while countering negative stereotypes about 
aging that the girls receive from the media. 

Leadership skills can be particularly important 
in helping at-risk youth become more resilient, 
adds M. By gaining self-confidence and 
self-determination, young people can make 
changes, however small, in their current 
circumstances and feel more in control, 
even in difficult environments. 

Left: Kevin Lucero and other masked boys run with staffs. 
Top: Katherine Robinson conducts a writing workshop by the Chama River. 
Bottom: Kaila Griffin draws a self-portrait using oil pastels. 
Photographers: Shannon Bay, Ryan Melega 

Coming Up Taller \irui 

It totally changed my life. It gave 
me the confidence to pursue music 
and achieve my dreams. I thought, 
'You can do this, and you can 
make a living doing this.' J J 











' marcocS> 

Boston-based Berklee College of Music has been called 
the "MIT of pop"— a catchy moniker for this internationally 
acclaimed institution for contemporary and popular music. 
Berklee should also be called generous. Every year, 
hundreds of musically inclined, at-risk students benefit from 
the opportunity to study with the school's renowned 
faculty and alumni. 

The 17-year-old Berklee City Music (BCM) program 
offers rigorous, sequential musical instruction 
at no charge to Boston-area children. These 
students, who come from underperforming 
schools in high-risk neighborhoods, undergo 
an interview and audition prior to acceptance 
into the program. Although candidates must 
have some background in music, passion is equal 
to technical proficiency. 

"What we're looking for is that spark, for students who feel, 

'I just have to do this,'" explains Executive Director J. Curtis Warner, Jr. 

BCM's Preparatory School provides private lessons as well as 
ensemble and musicianship classes to middle school students. 
The Upper School offers continued instruction for talented high 
school students. Their lessons take place on the Berklee campus 
as part of the school's effort to encourage teenagers to think about 
higher education. A special scholarship program allows about 50 
BCM students a year to participate in the prestigious, intensive 
five-week Summer Performance Program. 

To its credit, BCM has an unusually high retention rate: More than 
90 percent of participants stay in the program throughout high 
school. BCM Director Krystal Banfield attributes this success 
to both the college's focus on American popular music and the 
collaborative teaching approach, which emphasizes ensemble 
work and improvisation. 

"It's not something that's dictated; it's shared. They're empowered 
through that. They learn their own voices and learn to be creative," 
she points out. 

Thanks to a generous scholarship program, talented students can 
continue their higher education at Berklee. Currently, about 10 BCM 
students receive full, four-year scholarships each year to the college. 
Whether students stay at Berklee or pursue other options, they 
receive a solid grounding for life. 

'BCM participants leave the program as creative, 
inventive, and improvisational people- 
attributes that are critical to the 
success of any pursuit," 
Warner explains. 


Left: (L-R) J'andre Riccard; Tayler Fernandes-Nunez; a vocalist in the Diane 

Richardson Ensemble. 

Top: Albertrand Peer on trumpet. 

Bottom: Berklee City Music All-Stars perform. 

Photographer: Berklee City Music 

Coming Up Taller IwardaiooX 13 



The production of Chain 

Reaction— written, produced, 
and performed by the Youtheatre 
team— was, by far, the best 
educational piece I have seen 
on contemporary slavery. Chain 
Reaction made me realize how 
much power there is in youth 
speaking to youth. 





ince, Music, Theater 






Lancaster, PA 17603 








n a rehearsal space at the historic Fulton Opera House in Lancaster, 
Pennsylvania, members of the organization's Youtheatre ensemble 
are spending a July day putting the final touches on The Heart 
Knows Something Different. This play will premiere in a workshop 

production later that month. But this is no piece of summertime 

fluff. The play— adapted from a book by the same 

name— provides a searing and thought-provoking 

look at life in the foster care system. 

If the script cuts a bit close to the bone, it's 
because some of these young actors have 
first-hand experience with the system. 
Youtheatre comprises teens who have faced 
serious life challenges. Social service, juvenile 
justice, and other agencies refer youth to the 
program. The group has included former gang 
members, recovering drug addicts, and survivors 
of physical or sexual abuse, as well as teens who 
are deaf or autistic. 

"There are a lot of marginalized kids whose voices are 
not heard, and yet they have so many important things 
to say," explains Program Founder Barry Kornhauser. 

"We thought that the arts might be a vehicle to 
help them transform their lives by dealing with 
their own issues and sharing them with others." 

Each play develops over a two-year period, 

progressing from a workshop production the 

first summer to a fully staged production the 

second year. Youtheatre goes into high gear 

in the summer, when the teens spend five weeks 

working with theater professionals to refine 

the script, write music, and rehearse their current 

production. The daily schedule includes time for a "circle," in 

which members share what is going on in their lives. These 

sessions build trust and tolerance, while identifying issues that 

may require the help of therapists or other professionals. 

Fulton's caring environment sets the stage 
for personal breakthroughs: For example, an 
autistic teen learned to temper "inappropriate" 
behavior; a shy Hispanic boy gradually moved 
from non-speaking parts to leading roles; and 
a former gang member chose to play a gay 
character on stage. 

During the final public performances, 
ensemble members not only claim their 
moment in the limelight, but also see themselves 
as "agents of change," bringing thought-provoking 
messages on topics of consequence to the broader 
community, Kornhauser notes. 

Left: Celebration from 700 Monkeys in Search of an Elusive Butterfly. 

Top: Ismail Smith-Wade-El and Louisa Grosh, with video image of Cat Walker. 

Middle and Bottom: Scenes from Chain Reaction. 

Photographer: Craig Leaper 

Coming Up Taller IwardsaaaS 15 


I was afraid to talk, but I 
was not scared to take pictures 
That's how I started changing 
my life. J 



irts, Photography 











t's hard to overstate the sense of loss and isolation that many 
refugees and immigrants feel when coming to the United States. 
Not only have many survived wars or other traumatic events, but 
many also arrive knowing little or no English. Conversely, Americans 

often know little about the newcomers' culture and would be 

hard-pressed to find their homeland on a map. 

In the San Diego area, Journey, an ambitious 
program of The AjA Project, employs photography 
to help refugee and immigrant youth make that 
difficult transition, as well as educate their peers, i 
Students meet twice a week during the school 
year to learn photography basics and explore 
cultural issues, through various activities. The 
youth conduct oral histories; engage in critical- 
thinking exercises, discussions, and interactive 
projects; and participate in field trips. Between 
sessions, they create digital photo essays on such 
themes as Old Home, Leaving, Arriving, and New 
Community that mirror the immigration 
process in pictures and words. 

Along with helping participants deal with the 
psychosocial challenges of transitioning to a new 
culture, Journey enables them to claim a deeper 
sense of their identities— what is unique and 
what is universal— and provides a foundation 
in their new community. 

"We're promoting positive self-images because 
we believe that is what's going to lead them 
to make healthy decisions and become future 
leaders for their communities," explains Sandra 
Ainslie, executive director of The AjA Project. 

The program's goals are even more far-reaching. To raise awareness 
of the realities that displaced people face— and, ultimately, to 
create a more accepting environment— Journey mounts large-scale 
exhibitions of student work in places where the public cannot help 
but "interact with" the images, Ainslie adds. The organization placed 
more than 150 photographs and text banners in shop windows 
along a seven-block stretch of a San Diego thoroughfare and 
displayed another two dozen 7 x 8-foot photographs on a fence 
encircling the San Diego Museum of Art. 

When passersby encounter an image— for example, a 
henna hand decoration— and read the photographer's 
description of what the decoration symbolizes for her, 
it helps to replace misconceptions with understanding, 
Ainslie points out. 

Left: (L-R) Sevda Rasulova smiles for a self-portrait exercise; Dora Benganyeni 

in motion during a segment on bicultural identity; Chit Khin takes a portrait at 

the program's site on the border of Thailand and Burma. 

Top: While learning about light, students photograph shadows. 

Middle: Participants explore intergenerational themes. 

Bottom: (L-R) Madina Maho experiments with various photographic techniques; 

Fadumo Issa takes photographs during a scavenger hunt. 

Photographer: The AjA Project 

Coming Up Taller luwn 


Students in the Latino Arts 
Strings Program receive the kind 
of comprehensive, skills-based, 
and supportive instruction that 
so often makes the difference 
between success and failure. 











Traditional Arts 



nstead of utilizing a deficit model that defines at-risk students 
based on what's wrong or what's missing, instructors in the Latino 
Arts Strings Program take the opposite approach: They imagine 
what's possible, set high expectations, and then constantly raise 
the bar, according to Vice President Ricardo Diaz. 

Founded in 2002, this after-school and summer 
program offers high-quality, sequential string 
musical training to underserved and at-risk 
youth in grades 1 through 12. The United 
Community Center, located in the predomi- 
nantly Latino area of Milwaukee, hosts the 
classes. Latino Arts provides instruments and 
music, as well as individual and small-group 
lessons in violin, viola, cello, and guitar. 
Furthermore, the organization often waives 
the annual token fee of $40. Students from the 
Wisconsin Conservatory of Music and the University 
of Wisconsin— Milwaukee assist the program faculty. 


The program's lively mariachi bands, youth orchestra, 
and guitar ensemble frequently entertain audiences 
at community festivals and events throughout 
the greater Milwaukee area. These performances 
build self-confidence and provide exposure 
to new worlds. 

"We see instruments and music as a conduit 
to get kids into the right settings and to be 
able to mingle with populations they might 
not otherwise encounter," Diaz explains. These 
appearances also help the wider community to 
see Latino youth in a different light. "The poise, 
the ability to get in front of others, begins to erase 
that whole deficit thinking from 'Oh, these poor 
kids' to 'Oh gosh, these are talented young men 
and women,'" Diaz remarks. 

The Latino Arts Strings Program emphasizes discipline, 
commitment, and family involvement. Students are 
expected to practice daily, and parents sign a log 
confirming the times. By fostering these and 
other positive behaviors, the program helps 
kids to steer clear of gangs and drugs, resulting 
in academic success: Research shows that for 
5th grade Strings Program participants, the 
average reading GPA increased from 2.81 to 
3.45 over two years. 

This structured musical training is more than 

a healthy outlet; it also establishes a solid foundation 

for students wishing to pursue careers in music. The Milwaukee 

Youth Symphony Orchestra currently includes 17 Latino Arts 

Strings participants. 

Left, from background to foreground: Latino Arts youth orchestra 

participants Alondra Duran and Patricia Avalos. 

Top: Mariachi Juvenil performs in front of Lake Michigan. 

Middle: Jazmine Medina on her violin. 

Bottom: Program Director Dinorah Marquez with the Mariachi Juvenil. 

Photographer: Latino Arts, Inc. 

Coming Up Taller IwantsaooS 19 


I was dubious that a program 
geared around writing and arts 
workshops would be anything 
more than a nuisance. But I'm 
now glad I gave it a chance. It is 
unbelievable what a difference 
Project Jericho has made in our 
detention facility. 


: *w& 

.*> H 











" youth and family members 



Just as the seemingly impregnable walls of Jericho came 
tumbling down in the biblical account, so can the arts 
break down barriers to communication, self-expression, 
and self-actualization for at-risk young people. That's 
the idea behind Project Jericho, initiated in southwestern 
Ohio by the Clark State Community College Performing 
Arts Center and Job & Family Services of Clark County 
This ambitious effort touches young people 
and families in a range of settings throughout 
one of the state's most impoverished counties. 

For example, youth incarcerated at the Clark 
County Juvenile Detention Center can participate 
in Inside the Walls, Outside the Box, a Project 
Jericho program that employs the arts to foster 
positive social interactions, while challenging 
participants to explore and claim their personal 
strengths. The program has produced a significant 
drop in violence within detention facilities. 

Upon their release, young people continue their connection 
to community arts resources through Project Jericho, 
reducing recidivism. Jane Skogstrom, magistrate 
of the Clark County Juvenile Court, calls this 
"the most worthwhile program to help troubled 
youth" that she has seen in 30 years of juvenile 
justice work. 

Recognizing that healthier family dynamics 
can improve the prospects for some at-risk 
youth, Project Jericho also holds the Family 
Connections program for clients of Job & 
Family Services of Clark County. Families- 
including intact families and those where a young 
person has been removed from the home— collaborate on 
a series of art-based projects. By creating albums that examine 
their relationships or making masks to explore roles and identities, 
families strengthen bonds and improve communication. 

Project Jericho also teams with Springfield City Schools in Ohio, 
to offer semester-long after-school arts programs aimed at young 
people identified as at-risk by teachers, counselors, or other 

officials. To promote a sense of community connection 
and combat alienation, participants work under the 
direction of local artists and arts educators on 
projects, such as mosaics or murals, that benefit 
the schools or community. 

The intensive Summer Arts Camp, the Bucket 
Band, and Exodus Hip Hop Dance Troupe are 
among Project Jericho's other in-depth arts 
experiences that improve the lives of the 
county's at-risk youth and families. 

ackground to foreground: (L-R) Poetry Slam participant Chalyse 
enerly; Exodus Hip Hop dancers; Bucket Band members Andre Russell and 
Myreyisha Baker. 

Top: Myeisha Smith works on the YouthVOICE painting. 
Bottom: Incarcerated youth in a mask-making residency through Project 
Jericho's Inside the Walls. Outside the Box program. 
Photographer: Project Jericho 

Coming Up Taller Imw 

It is a model program for 
young adults who are eager to 
learn about the myriad career 
opportunities in the arts. 



ushing Meadows Corona Par 
Queens, NY 11368 










-592-9700 ext. 241 



Many teenagers living in less affluent, heavily immigrant 
communities have limited exposure to career opportunities 
in the professional world. "Work" may mean a low wage 
after-school job, one that their parents might have to keep 
a roof over the family's head and food on the table. The 
Queens Museum of Art, in Queens, New York, is striving 
to broaden teens' professional horizons through an 
intensive docent program that introduces the young 
adults to museum-related careers that many may 
have thought were impractical or unattainable. 

Known as Queens Teens, the program works 
with two area high schools and recruits students 
who have an interest in the arts or education 
and could benefit from a structured, nurturing 
environment, explains Laura Groskinsky, family 
and teen education coordinator. 

In weekly after-school workshops, the teens explore 
the Museum's collections and exhibitions, learning how 
to approach and interpret art. These sessions also prepare 
students to deal with the public, focusing on how 
to dress and interact appropriately with a wide 
variety of visitors, including those with special 
needs. This training leads to paid assignments, 
such as conducting weekend art workshops 
and public tours for families, or serving as 
summer art camp counselors. 

Many of the young people blossom in the 
multiyear, multifaceted program. "They're 
teenagers, and initially, they're completely 
self-conscious. They think everyone's staring at their 
pimples," Groskinsky laughs. But with training, many 
gain remarkable confidence and poise. "It's almost magical 
to watch it happen, to see them get up there and face 
people and work a crowd." 

The Queens Museum of Art also benefits. Because 
the teens reflect the diverse community that 
surrounds the Museum, they serve as ambassadors 
for the institution. "They help translate, whether 
it's Spanish or Mandarin, and they welcome 
other families, creating a comfort level for 
visitors," Groskinsky attests. 

About 85 percent of the program's graduates 
enroll in college, a high percentage of which 
pursue careers in art, design, or fashion. But even 
those who choose other fields will be in a better 
position to succeed because they have learned, as 
Groskinsky notes, "that they can communicate with people, 
that they have the ability to explore ideas, and that they can 
be taken seriously." 

Left: Brandon Lee Harris gives an exhibition tour to fellow Queens Teens. 

Top: Program participants set up their annual exhibition. 

Middle: (L-R) Susan Xu, Evelyn Stephens-Tse, and Stephanie Wong install their 

own work for view. 

Bottom: Queens Teens determine the arrangement of artwork for an exhibition 

Photographer: Queens Museum of Art 

Coming Up Taller Iwardaiot 


I've met many of these children 
during my visits to the Press. 
They're eager to tell me about 
their writing process— where 
they find their inspiration, how 
they conduct their research, 
how they shape their stories, 
and how many revisions it takes 
to get it just right— things that 
I didn't know until I was in my 
first job out of college. 


- / 










tanities, Journalism 

_ ,d 

On any given afternoon at the Simpson Street Free 
Press newsroom, you might find 15 to 20 reporters 
between the ages of 11 and 18, researching material 
on the Internet, checking facts on the phone, banging 
out articles on computers, and working with editors on story 
assignments and revisions. If this newsroom— located 
in a Madison, Wisconsin, shopping mall— has the feel 
of a "real" newsroom, that's because it is. 

This crew of young reporters and editors 
puts out a highly regarded 24-page monthly 
newspaper filled with articles on history, 
cultural geography, science, literary criticism, 
and the arts. Articles in a recent issue spanned 
topics from global warming and flying dinosaurs, 
to the roots of the French Revolution and 
reviews of art museum exhibitions. 

The majority of the staff come from diverse ethnic 
backgrounds and lower-income neighborhoods lacking 
meaningful after-school activities. Reporters apply for 
the jobs, which offer bylines plus stipends, based on 
the number of articles published. 

"It really feels cool for a 14-year-old to tell their 
friends, 'I have to go to work tonight.' And when 
they get there, they have a desk and business 
cards," remarks Managing Editor James Kramer. 

The paper was founded in 1992 to help students 

overcome writing deficiencies, which hindered 

their academic success, Kramer explains. Under 

the guidance of more-experienced teenage section 

editors, as well as paid University of Wisconsin 

journalism students and adult volunteers, young reporters 

work on "the 'Three Rs': revision, revision, revision," Kramer adds 

Participants can spend a couple of months learning 
how to develop and write clear, compelling stories. 
Once they grasp the process, they dig into their 
assignments with enthusiasm. "We've come up 
with a system that makes students clamor to 
write," Kramer states with pride. 

The lessons learned on the paper carry into the 
classroom: More than 90 percent of participants 
improve their GPA within six months; 92 percent 
of seniors go on to college. 

Readers also benefit. Now distributed throughout 
the city, the newspaper has a circulation of 23,000 and a 
growing online presence. The peer-written articles encourage 
students to read. Without even realizing it, they soak up core 
academic subjects as they peruse the news on sunken ships, the life 
of Edgar Allen Poe, and Neanderthal hunters. 

Left, from background to foreground: (L-R) Teen Editor Npib Thao, Olivia 

Sanderfoot, and Keith Black; Science and Tech Editor Sisi Chen explains a 

lesson plan worksheet to a Summer Writing Workshop student. 

Top: (L-R) Gloria Gonzales and Deidre Green work with a wildlife biologist to 

collect data during the Wisconsin River sturgeon spawn. 

Middle: Volunteer Mariana Pacheco helps Nancy Garduno edit a theater review 

about Esperanza Rising. 

Bottom: Teen editors and columnists plan an upcoming issue. 

Photographer: Simpson Street Free Press 

Coming Up Taller livaru 










Suite 210 

Indianapolis, IN 46208 








While many children would be thrilled to have the 
chance to work elbow to elbow with just one artist, 
youngsters attending selected summer camps in 
Indianapolis have the good fortune to spend part 
of their day with an entire team of professional teaching artists. 
Through Summer Arts for Youth (SAY), a Young Audiences 
of Indiana program, these artist teams work together 
to deliver hands-on, multidisciplinary arts experiences 
at eight different sites in lower-income parts 
of the city. 

Each team comprises a musician, dancer, visual 

artist, and theater artist who collaborate with 

the youngsters for three hours a day, in sessions 

that can last up to four weeks. As a focal point 

for their work— and to boost literacy skills— each 

team builds its art activities around a high-quality 

children's book. For example, in 2007, one of the 

participating sites chose / See the Rhythm by Toyomi Igus. 

A storyteller introduced the book. A visual artist showed children 

how to make collages in the cubist style of book illustrator Michele 

Wood. A dancer taught various styles, including African 

tribal movements and hip hop steps, which linked 

to musical periods covered in the book. A musician 

drummed for the dances. 

Few of these youngsters have had any access 
to high-quality arts experiences. Consequently, 
the program's intensive, multifaceted focus 
builds participants' arts skills and appreciation. 
The activities also help students brush up 
literacy skills during the summer, when many fall 
behind academically, notes Shalom Black, Young 
Audiences' director of community programs. 

A 2006 study, underwritten by the National Endowment for the 
Arts, documented participants' progress: Campers significantly 
improved their arts knowledge, as well as dance and visual arts 
skills. In addition, children retained new vocabulary and 
arts concepts after school resumed. 

Black acknowledges that the program's multidisciplinary approach 
makes it challenging to support the large number of artists involved. 
However, thanks to a consistent group of funders "who appreciate 
what the arts can do to enrich kids' lives," Young Audiences of Indiana 
can continue its mission through Summer Arts for Youth. 

Left, background to "^ foreground: (L-R) Joanna Arellanes; Takiyah 

Spikes: Brayan Fernandez and Emiliano Guevara from LaPlaza Summer 

Discovery program. 

Top: Children participate in a yoga class. 

Middle: Young SAY drummer. 

Bottom: (L-R) Carlos Casco, Gabe McDonald, and Grace Posey. 

Photographers: Caitlyn Maher, Lydia Maher. Toshia Ricks, Larry Gindhart 

Coming Up Taller [wards looA 27 



When students brought 
photographs of religious lives 
back to class, amazing discussions 
followed about specific family 
practices and religious beliefs. 
Some of our students had never 
been exposed to different religious 
ideas or views before. 












ninian d 

n recent decades, a large influx of Arab American families 
has contributed significantly to the vibrant cultural fabric 
of southwest Detroit. Although African Americans, Latinos, 
and other ethnic groups in this predominantly lower-income 

area live together, they tend to know little about one 

another, and tensions and misconceptions exist. 

To create bridges among cultures, the Arab American 
National Museum, based in Dearborn, developed 
an innovative photography program, the SURA 
Arts Academy. Sura is Arabic for photograph. 

The free program, aimed at middle school 
children, is offered weekly after school during 
the academic year, as well as in the summer, 
at a school in southwest Detroit. The program 
recruits participants from nearby schools, seeking 
a diverse group of about 30 students each session 

Instructors from Detroit's College for Creative Studies teach basic 
camera operation. They provide participants with digital cameras 
and send the young people into their communities 
to document such topics as work, food, religion, 
recreation, and family life. The youth share their 
portfolios at subsequent sessions. Every year, the 
Museum exhibits some of the best photographs 
from the program. 

"In the process of talking about the content 
of each photograph, they are indirectly 
teaching each other about the different foods 
or different customs or different practices in 
their communities," explains Celine Taminian, the 
Museum's assistant director. "They're learning to 
respect each others' backgrounds and cultures." 

Thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of State, youth 
in the SURA program also have an opportunity to connect with 
photography students in Amman, Jordan, promoting cross-cultural 
understanding on an international level. They share photos over the 
Internet, comment on each other's work via e-mail, and interact in 
real time using videoconferencing technology and interpreters. 

Whether the communication occurs among groups from the 
same neighborhood or across international boundaries, 
the program's organizers believe that it will pay 
long-term dividends. "As participants learn 
about other people, we're hoping that as they 
grow up, they will contribute to eliminating 
some of the tensions," shares Taminian. 

Left, from background to foreground: Brianna Pitariu and Waleed Silmi learn 

basic photography skills. 

Top: (L-R) Iman Silmi and Manar Silmi explore nature with their cameras. 

Middle: Joshua Napier and Ronald Miller consult on a project. 

Bottom: (L-R) Diana Molina, Brianna Pitariu, and Daisy Garcia. 

Photographers: Lynnette Blasey, Joe Namy 

Coming Up Taller \wnnhioo8 29 




s I watched my daughter 
take the stage, she exuded a 
confidence and joy that I hadn't 
seen before. At that moment I 
thought, 'This is it! This is exactly 
where she needs to be.' 











I Theater 


Among audiences and theater critics, TADA! Youth 
Theater has a reputation for high-quality musical theater 
productions presented with unusual professionalism 
and verve by an ensemble of talented young actors. 
But staging great performances is only one aspect of this New York 
City theater company. TADA! is also a youth-development 
program that promotes academic and personal 
success among its ensemble members, the majority 
of whom come from low-income families. 

The resident program actively publicizes open 

auditions in underserved areas. Once accepted, 

participants receive free after-school and summer 

training in music, voice, dance, and theater. 

Working under the guidance of directors, 

choreographers, and musicians with extensive 

regional and Broadway credits, the children and 

teens have a rare opportunity to pursue their passions, 

while learning to strive for excellence. Because ensemble 

members can spend hundreds of hours a year in training, rehearsals, 

and performances, "they become really skilled in time management," 

notes Executive Director and Founder Janine Nina Trevens. "They 

often do their homework on the subway." 

The teamwork that's inherent in ensemble work teaches other valuable 
lessons, as well. "It's not about becoming a star. It's about being a part 
of a group and staying a part of that group," Trevens emphasizes. And, 
because participants range from 8 to 18 years old, they're challenged 
to move beyond age-based cliques, learning tolerance and respect 
for people of all ages and various backgrounds. 

The qualities that participants develop— leadership skills, concentration, 
self-discipline, self-confidence, and determination— pay off: For the 
past five years, 100 percent of the program's seniors have graduated 
from high school and enrolled in college. Some go on to careers 
on the stage or screen. For example, talk show host Ricki Lake 
and actress Kerry Washington are two of the more famous alums. 

"It's really not about careers in the arts," Trevens asserts. "It's about 
creating people who want to be part of society, who know what they 
have to contribute to the world, and who feel like they have a voice 
and abilities to do whatever it is they decide they want to do." 

om background to foreground: (L-R) Darius Davie, Maya Park, 
Levin in They Chose Me; Anthony Sanchez; The Gumball Gang: Crime-Solving 
Kids Nicholas Stewart and Casey Wenger-Schulman. 
Top: Production scene from Everything About Camp (Almost). 
Bottom: (L-R) Robert Aviles and Mary Claire Miskell in Gift of Winter; Christina 
Franklin in They Chose Me. 
Photographer: TADA! Youth Theater 

Coming Up Taller \irni 



The outcomes of the program 
have shown that lives have been 
enriched, attitudes have changed, 
friendships have formed, and 
new doors have opened for the 
children and mentors alike. 












Seated around tables in Tucson's Woods Memorial Branch 
Library, a group of 15 elementary school children is busily 
dreaming up similes and writing them down on large 
brightly colored squares of paper. "I'm as happy as 
a bubble," writes one boy, who proceeds to illustrate his example 
with a drawing of buoyant blue orbs. A teenage mentor 
sits by each child's side, helping with writing and 
spelling. Pieces of yarn connect the completed 
squares, creating a colorful quilt that offers 
a vivid reminder of the fun that can be had 
with language. 

Known as Word Journeys, this unusual after- 
school program arose through a partnership 
between the Pima County Public Library and 
the local school district. The library meeting 
place is critical to the program, explains Marge 
Pellegrino, a children's book author and program 
leader. "A library is a place for lifelong learning. There 
are treasures in libraries," she points out. Word Journeys 
seeks to acquaint more families with libraries' riches. 

The program, held weekly throughout the schoo 
year, targets students in kindergarten through 
grade 5, from racially diverse and economically 
challenged Tucson neighborhoods. Teachers 
and counselors refer the youngsters, who 
travel to the library by bus. Trained teenage 
mentors are integral to the program and 
receive a stipend of $100 per semester. They 
demonstrate that it's "cool" to come to the 
library and model appropriate behaviors, such 
as listening to and interacting with others. 

Pellegrino typically begins each workshop with a reading 
from a children's book on a particular theme, such as Friendships 
Across Cultures. Craft and writing exercises follow, encouraging 
children to reflect on the theme and relate it to their lives. Each 
session also includes a short "treasure hunt" to familiarize students 
with library resources. 

At the program's conclusion, children share 
their creative projects. Through this exercise, 
they learn to value their accomplishments, 
while seeing how children from different 
backgrounds experience the world. This 
year, for the first time, the group included 
a number of Bantu refugees from Somalia. 
These youngsters have had a difficult time 
finding acceptance in the local schools, 
and the friendships made through the 
program are helping to ease the transition, 
Pellegrino remarks. 

Left, foreground: Calixte Beohourou reads from one of her projects. 
Top: Quilted stories celebrate the day on which each participant was born. 
Bottom: (L-R) Khadija Abdille and Phyllicia Ruiz share a story. 
Photographers: Lisa Bunker, Erin Stuckrath 

Coming Up Taller iu<arri> 


The Youth Ensemble of Atlanta's 
artistic programming allows youth, 
who otherwise may never have 
the chance, to become active 
participants in and creators of art. 55 













Topics like child abuse, school violence, teen pregnancy, 
AIDS, or domestic violence might not seem like musical 
theater material. But for the past 18 years, the award- 
winning Youth Ensemble of Atlanta (YEA) has been 
presenting moving, thought-provoking theater dealing with 
the tough issues that young people face in their daily lives. ^ 

"Musical and dance elements— as well as humor- 
draw young people into the subject, while keeping 
the productions from being too heavy," explains 
Development Director Brad Casey. 

YEA comprises 80 youth, chosen through 
auditions and interviews primarily for their 
passion for the performing arts. The majority 
of ensemble members are African American, and 
many come from lower-income families that could 
not otherwise afford YEA's intensive training. While 
there is no charge for participation, members and parents 
must sign a contract agreeing to the company's attendance, 
attitude, and academic requirements. 

Artistic staff and guest artists offer in-depth weekly workshops 
in music, dance, and drama. Ensemble members create many 
of the vignettes and musical numbers, which the director then 
weaves together into YEA's productions. Students who are in or 
have graduated from college also work with the company, serving 
as role models for younger members, while receiving stipends for 
their participation. 

One of YEA's unique aspects is its international reach. The troupe 
has performed at festivals in Europe and South Africa. YEA's 
original play, based on the 1976 youth uprisings in Soweto, South 
Africa, earned the Best Overall Production Award at the 2000 
Windybrow Arts Festival in Johannesburg. 

"While we were worried about the reaction we might face bringing 
American youth to tell South Africans the story of their history, 
we were surprised by the enthusiastic reception the production 
received and their amazement that the Soweto story resonated with 
our youth," comments Executive Director Deborah Barber. High 

expectations, reinforced by staff and members, 
contribute to the success of YEA's productions 
and the track record of participants. Since 
1996, 100 percent of the ensemble's 
members have graduated from high 
school. Since 2002, all graduates 
have gone on to college— including 
such prestigious institutions as 
Juilliard and Berklee College 
of Music— with the assistance 
of scholarships from YEA, 
their colleges, and local 

Left, from background to foreground: Darius Dixon and Brenda Moorer 
in Endangered Species: Tia Schafer in Soweto! 

Top: A scene from YEA's original musical drama Sowefo.' Soweto! Soweto! 
A Township Is Calling, which commemorates the life and death of Hector 
Peterson— the first youth to die in the Soweto youth uprisings of 1976. 
Bottom: Kamil McFadden and Kayla Williams in Urban Holiday Soup. 
Photographer: Youth Ensemble of Atlanta 

Coming Up Taller livnn 



Consejo Nacional 

para la 

Cultura y las Artes 

n 2002, the President's Committee on the Arts and the 
Humanities joined with Mexican partners in the public and 
private sectors and initiated the presentation of Coming Up 
Taller Awards for outstanding programs in Mexico dedicated 
to the nation's youth. The Finalists in 2008 mark the 13th and 14th 
awards recognizing organizations that, through arts and humanities 
learning, provide children and youth with the opportunity to enhance 
their personal lives, communities, and futures. The President's 
Committee on the Arts and the Humanities appreciates the 
outstanding leadership of Mexico's National Council for Arts 
and Culture (CONACULTA) regarding this and other programs 
of mutual interest. 

Left and Bottom: Participants from the Boys and Girls to the Rescue of Cultural 
Roots program perform on drums and other rhythm instruments. 
Photographer: Chontal Indigenous Community Cultural Group 



The workshops promote the 
rescue and promotion of these 
traditions. These children are active 
participants in the promotion of 
the cultural values that give them 
identity and respect and position 
them at the same level of any 
artistic or cultural expression 
in the world. 



es de Tabasco 
Andres Sanchez Magallanes 
No. 1124 

Col. Centro, 86000 
Villahermosa, Tabasco, MX 







ce, Folk & Traditional Arts, 


-52-993) 131-1158 and 312-7497 


Music and dance have long been central to the cultural 
traditions and rituals of the Chontal Indians of Guaytalpa 
Nacajuca, in Mexico's Tabasco state, along the Gulf 
of Mexico. But like many indigenous people, these 
descendants of Mayans are rapidly losing touch with their cultural 
roots, as aspects of modern society intrude even into 
this isolated corner of Mexico. 

To help preserve centuries-old art forms and 
deepen young people's connection with their 
ancestors, the Chontal Indigenous Community 
Cultural Group has been offering intensive 
workshops on various aspects of Chontal 
culture for youth from Guaytalpa Nacajuca 
and nearby communities since 2002. 

Three afternoons a week after school and on 

Saturdays, traditional artists from the Chontal 

community teach students how to play drums and the 

marimba, while sharing ancestral dance forms. In this community, 

music and dance play a key role in religious rituals and agricultural 

traditions, as well as during festive occasions. As young 

people learn how to play the music and perform 

Chontal dances, they begin to understand how 

their ancestors viewed and interacted with the 

world. This kinship helps to strengthen their 

own sense of identity. 

Participants in the drumming and dance work- 
shops have gained recognition in local, regional, 
and international competitions and showcases. 
Such activities both instill a sense of pride in their 
heritage and expose Chontal cultural traditions 
to a wide audience. 

Furthermore, to help ensure that their language remains alive, 
Chontal elders offer workshops three times a week to teach young 
people how to read and write in their ancestral tongue. 
Demonstrating their command of the language, 
in 2007, students published Para Curar de Espanto 
y Otros Relatos de Guaytalpa (Guaytalpa Stories 
That Cure Fear), a collection of their community's 
stories, written in both Spanish and Chontal 
and illustrated with their own vibrant drawings. 

Left: Young dancers prepare for a performance. 

Top: Students share their cultural traditions at a Chontal community 

dance performance. 

Middle: Workshop participants gather for the camera. 

Bottom: Performers proudly drum during a concert. 

Photographer: Chontal Indigenous Community Cultural Group 



This project is bringing about 
a reevaluation of and renewed 
appreciation for traditional 
marimba music through the 
teamwork of boys and girls 
throughout the state of Oaxaca. J J 




Oaxaca, Oaxaca, MX 







& Traditional Arts. Music 

-52-951) 547-3007 and 501-1970 

dida19 a 


here's nothing quite like the lively, infectious sound 
of a marimba and nothing cheerier than the sights and 
sounds of young people playing this traditional instrument. 

A member of the percussion family, a marimba consists of keys 
or bars that the player strikes with mallets. Wooden tubes 
suspended below each key amplify the sound and give 
the instrument its distinctive, resonant tone. 

Marimba music has long been a staple of 

the highlands of southern Mexico. However, 

the instrument's popularity has been waning 

there in recent decades. For special occasions, 

people often find it cheaper to hire musicians 

who play keyboards or synthesizers, rather 

than engaging the traditional multi-instrument 

marimba bands. And, as older marimba musicians 

pass away, there was a concern that the art of playing 

this unusual instrument would disappear along with them 

In an effort to preserve this traditional art form, the Ministry 
of Culture of the State of Oaxaca, along Mexico's southern 
coast, is offering carefully structured, in-depth 
marimba instruction at cultural centers in selected 
communities throughout the state. Acceptance 
into the program is based on a youngster's 
interest and ability. Students spend five hours 
a week learning marimba history, technique, 
and repertoire; music composition; and how 
to both tune and care for the instrument. 

The success of the first marimba workshops in 

the Culture House of Tuxtepec, founded in 1997, 

inspired others to establish their own classes. And, 

from each group of workshop participants, seven students 

are ultimately selected to form a local marimba band. The program 

currently boasts 11 marimba bands in 11 communities that span the 

valley. One of the bands, the Santo Domingo Tehuantepec 

Children's Marimba Band, has already recorded its 

own compact disc. 

Program officials believe that along with 
ensuring the continuation of a living cultural 
tradition, the music study and performance 
experiences promote discipline, teamwork, 
and intellectual development. These skills, in 
turn, help students to perform better in school 
and to develop into successful adults. 

Left: Participants perform together on their marimbas. 

Top, Middle, and Bottom: Young marimba percussionists share their music 

in a variety of venues. 

Photographer: Children's Marimba Workshops of Oaxaca 

Coming Up Taller I 



Ministry of Culture, People's Republic of China 

For the second year, the President's Committee on the Arts 
and the Humanities welcomes the inclusion of a youth arts 
learning program based in the People's Republic of China 
as a recipient of a Coming Up Taller Award. This award is 
consistent with the President's Committee's interest in seeking 
mutual international understanding through the arts and the 
humanities and follows up on the U.S. President's Committee's 
Delegation to the People's Republic of China in June 2007, which 
culminated in implementing an Accord for Cultural Exchange 
2007-2009 between our two countries. 

The goals of international understanding are shared by the 
Honorable Cai Wu, Minister of Culture of the People's Republic 
of China, who said, "We are pleased to be a part of the Coming 
Up Taller Awards for it provides a unique platform for both China 
and the United States to communicate on issues relating to arts 
education for youth; to share their practices and experiences; and, 
moreover, to enhance the role of culture and arts in the overall 
development of individuals." The Ministry of Culture further shares 
the vision of nurturing the cultural lives of young people so that 
they may realize their talents, express their creativity, and give back 
to their communities. We are grateful to the Ministry for identifying 
a leading arts program for children and youth and for supporting 
the Coming Up Taller Awards. 

Left, foreground: A young opera heroine prepares for her performance. 
Bottom: Shaanxi Opera trainee strikes a dramatic pose. 
Photographer: Shaanxi Opera and Drama Research Institute 




je of flourishing popular 
culture, here stands a group 
of young people with a profound 
commitment to the art of Qin 
Qiang. We should commend them 
not only for their performances, 
but also for their dedication to 
our cultural heritage. 



Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, PRC 








Opera, Literature, Music 

1-86-298) 786-3404 


Like other vanishing traditional art forms, regional Chinese 
opera is facing tremendous challenges in modern life. In 
response, the Shaanxi Opera and Drama Research Institute, 
the largest arts group in Shaanxi Province, formed the 
Amateur Actor Training Class of Shaanxi Qin Qiang Opera, to 
preserve and revitalize this cherished art. For young people 
in the surrounding rural areas, this training program 
offers them a new avenue for artistic growth, 
personal development, and career possibilities. 

The student actors and musicians— all taught 
by professional opera artists and musicians- 
undergo rigorous training in a year-round 
program. The teens study voice, drama, and 
literature, learning to portray the four character 
roles in Qin Qiang opera— sheng (male), dan 
(female), jing (supporting male, with painted 
mask), and chou (clown). They learn how to enunciate 
different dialects and appreciate minute differences in the 
opera itself in terms of pronunciation, melody, and movement. 
Student musicians become skilled in a variety of Chinese and 
Western instruments, such as the banhu, suona, erhu, bangzi, 
yangqin, sanxian, flute, guzheng, and cello. 

All students learn opera repertoires that feature such timeless 
subjects as the fight between the loyal and the treacherous, in 
addition to other universal human themes that reflect the honest 
and upright aspirations of the local people. True to its folk origins, 
Qin Qiang opera scores are considered bold and colorful, featuring 
a more natural vocal expression of human emotion than the traditional 
Peking opera. Productions are also distinctive in showcasing such 
unique skills as spitting fire, along with time-honored dances. 

Most of the opera company's students come from underdeveloped, 
agrarian villages and highly value musical and operatic training as 
an opportunity to attain personal success. Through their performance 
education, they also learn diligence and the importance of hard work. 
Apart from coaching participants in these technical and preprofessional 
skills, program instructors also teach history, Chinese language, and 
English, among other courses. Field trips to the library and other sites 
improve the quality of learning and enhance understanding of stage 
performance. Reading rooms are available to help participants 
reflect and study. 

After five years of training, students are able to master three 
full-length plays and more than 40 highlights from other opera 
styles. They also have the opportunity to entertain diverse 
audiences in various centers and opera festivals in the city 
of Xi'an and surrounding areas. Past performances have raised 
money for public welfare causes, such as the H.H. Special Child 
Development Center for disabled children. Student productions 
have won widespread acclaim from Chinese opera experts and new 
devotees alike. As further evidence of the quality of arts training, 
many students who are inspired to dedicate their lives to the craft 
may join the Shaanxi Opera and Drama Research Institute or other 
opera companies as professional members. 

Left, foreground: The female lead and her companions exhibit strong emotions 

during a scene. 

Top: Two officials stage a quarrel. 

Photographer: Shaanxi Opera and Drama Research Institute 

wards until 45 



For the first time, this year the President's Committee on the 
Arts and the Humanities welcomes the inclusion of a youth 
arts and humanities learning program based in Cairo, Egypt, 
as a recipient of a Coming Up Taller Award. This award is 
consistent with the President's Committee's interest in seeking 
mutual international understanding through the arts and the 
humanities and follows up on efforts to expand the impact and 
scope of our international activities. 

It is heartening that the goals of Coming Up Taller are shared 
around the world and that inspirational learning spaces for children 
and youth are being made available in many countries. We salute 
the creative learning opportunities that the Egyptian awardee 
offers its young participants and expect that the $10,000 award 
will enable further growth of the Townhouse Gallery's much-needed 
youth programs. 

We are grateful to the U.S. Embassy Post in Cairo for identifying an 
outstanding youth program to participate in the 2008 Coming Up 
Taller program. 


Before I started coming here, 
I didn't really know much about 
anything. But after I started 
coming, Friday after Friday, 
I learned a lot about different 
things, such as animation, 
theater, and art. 



Hussein El Me'mar Pasha Stre 
Off Mahmoud Basyouni Street 

Cairo, EGY 









The Friday Workshops at the Townhouse Gallery of 
contemporary art offer child laborers throughout 
neighborhoods in Cairo, Egypt, a new vision of themselves 
and of their world through the arts. Many of these young 
people work six-day weeks to support their families and have 
limited educational opportunities. However, thanks 
to the efforts of the Townhouse Gallery, some of the 
working children have a place where they not only 
explore new areas of their own potential, but 
also build a sense of self-worth and confidence 
that could be applied to their daily lives. 

The Workshops introduce participants to 
a range of arts disciplines, including various 
forms of visual arts, theater, and animation. 
Resident and visiting teaching artists, Workshop 
leaders, and trained social workers work together 
to support and offer professional mentorship to the 
youth throughout the process. The students also particularly 
enjoy spending time with their peers on art projects, 
and as one 14-year-old participant said, she likes to "work 
as a team." Other special components of the program 
are outside their neighborhoods and Cairo itself. 
In this part of the curriculum, young people learn 
to interact with others in different contexts and 
explore new possibilities in a larger world. 

It's been noted that the Workshops have 

a remarkable effect on the participants. 

Many informally share the lessons learned 

in the program by teaching other children the 

confidence-building games and activities in 

the streets of their local areas. The positive effects 

can also been seen in parent/child relationships: At the 

beginning, parents were reluctant to allow their children to 

take part and demanded payment for their time. But as they 

witnessed the beneficial impact, this issue was resolved. There is now 

a long waiting list, with other parents eager to enroll their children. 

This project and other outreach efforts are consistent with the 
Townhouse Gallery's mission to forge group cohesion through 
the creative process in an unpoliticized space and strengthen 
relations between those from diverse backgrounds and life 
experiences. In addition to the Friday Workshops, Townhouse 
Gallery provides inclusive Saturday arts workshops and animation 
programs. Participants from all ages and backgrounds interact and 
work creatively together, some of whom are refugees, children from 
private schools in Zamalek, working children, professional artists, 
and workers in the lanes near the Gallery. 

Since its inception in 1998, the Townhouse Gallery of contemporary 
art has established itself not only as one of the largest private 
exhibition spaces in the Middle East, but also as one of the region's 
leading independent spaces for visual arts, film, theater, music, 
and arts education. 

Left: Students celebrate the completion of their project. 
Top: Participants discuss the themes of a play. 
Bottom: Students examine digital artwork. 
Photographer: Townhouse Gallery of contemporary art 

Coming Up Taller IwardstoaA 49 




After School and Cultural 

Citizenship Project 

Art Education 

Kid Power-DC, Inc. 

Mexic-Arte Museum 

Washington, DC 

Austin, TX 

Crescendo Music Program 

Art a la Carte 

Academy of Community Music 

Federated Dorchester 

Fort Washington, PA 

Neighborhood Houses 

Dorchester, MA 

Express Yourself, Inc. 

Peabody, MA 


Fine Arts for Children & Teens, Inc. 

Job Training in the Arts 

Santa Fe, NM 

Downtown Aurora Visual Arts 

Aurora, CO 

Art High 

Armory Center for the Arts 

Kids on the Hill, inc. 

Pasadena, CA 

Baltimore, MD 


Learning Early Network 

Kemper Museum of 

Bradford County Regional 

Contemporary Art 

Arts Council 

Kansas City, MO 

Towanda, PA 


Museum Action Corps (MAC) 

Philbrook Museum of Art 

Internship Program 

Tulsa, OK 

The Peabody Essex Museum 

Salem, MA 

Arts Corps 

Seattle, WA 

Myron P. Levin Learning Center 

Special Summer Program 

Arts Express After School Program 

Latin Americans for Social and 

Museum of the Gulf Coast 

Economic Development, Inc. 

Port Arthur, TX 

Detroit, Ml 

Blunt Youth Radio Project 

MYSO Progressions 

WMPG, University of Southern 

Milwaukee Youth Symphony 

Maine Student Senate 

Orchestra, Inc. 

Portland. ME 

Milwaukee, Wl 

New Directions YouthArts 

Office of Cultural Affairs 
City of Las Vegas 
Las Vegas, NV 

New Urban Arts 

Providence, Rl 

Power Hour, Cultural Program 
and Fine Arts Program 

Penobscot Nation Boys & Girls Club 
Indian Island, ME 

Project STEP, Inc. 

Boston, MA 

Providence CityArts for Youth, Inc. 

Providence, Rl 

Recreation Programming 
for Children and Youth 

City of Lincoln 
Lincoln, NE 

Rejoice School of Ballet 

Rejoice Ministries, Inc. 
Nashville, TN 

RiverzEdge Arts Project, Inc. 

Woonsocket, Rl 

SmARTs Program 

South Chicago Art Center 
Chicago, IL 

SoBRO Theme-Based After 
School Programs 

South Bronx Overall Economic 
Development Corporation 
Bronx, NY 

Songs of Hope 

Sounds of Hope, Ltd. 
St. Paul, MN 

Teens Together 

Music Theatre Workshop 
Chicago, IL 

Telling It 

SOS Community Services 
Ypsilanti, Ml 

The Harmony Project 

Los Angeles, CA 

Three Rivers Jenbe Ensemble 

Fort Wayne Dance Collective, Inc. 
Fort Wayne, IN 


A Project of Community Partners 
Los Angeles, CA 

Young People's Chorus 
of New York City, Inc. 

New York, NY 

Left and Bottom, from background to foreground: (L-R) Simpson Street 
Free Press student Mai Yang; Berklee City Music Saturday Upper School 
vocalists in performance; Project Jericho participant Jaylen Mitchell.. 
Photographers: Simpson Street Free Press, Berklee City Music, 
Project Jericho 


Arts Education Manager 
Americans for the Arts 
Washington, DC 

Chris Anthony 

Director of Youth & Education 
Will Power to Youth 
Los Angeles, CA 

larbara Carpenter 

Executive Director 
Mississippi Humanities Council 
Jackson, MS 

Libby Lai-Bun Chiu 

Senior Advisor for 
Learning Initiatives 
Illinois Arts Council 
Chicago, IL 

Ginnie Cooper 

Chief Librarian 
DC Public Library 
Washington, DC 

Gary Henrickson 

Dean of Academic Affairs 
Minnesota State Community 
and Technical College 
Fergus Falls, MN 

Suzanne LeBlanc 

Executive Director 

Long Island Children's Museum 

Garden City, NY 

Laura Vural 

Director, Truce 
Harlem Children's Zone 
New York, NY 

Left, from background to foreground: Fadumo Issa takes photographs 
during a Journey program scavenger hunt; Mary Claire Miskell in TADA! 
Youth Theater's production of Gift of Winter. 

Bottom: (L-R) Flora Phillips, Tamara Sambo, and Maddelynn Sambo perform 
during the Alaska Native Heritage Center's Heroes of Human Rights Day. 
Photographer: The AjA Project, TADA! Youth Theater, Alaska Native 
Heritage Center 

jming Up Tailer \ward$aoo3 53 


Wayne Cook 

Arts Program Specialist 
California Arts Council 
Sacramento, CA 

Dana Lupton 

Artistic Director 
Moving in the Spirit 
Atlanta, GA 

Robert Hall 

Associate Head of Education 

and Visual Arts Specialist 

Anacostia Museum and Center 

for African American History and 


Smithsonian Institution 

Washington, DC 

Sandra Jackson-Dumont 

Kayla Skinner Deputy Director 
of Education and Public Programs/ 
Adjunct Curator 
Seattle Art Museum 
Seattle, WA 

Patty Langley 

Administrative Librarian 
Delaware Division of Libraries/ 
State Library 
Dover, DE 

Barbara Meyerson 

Museum Consultant 

B. Meyerson Consulting, LLC 

Phoenix, AZ 

Robin Middleman 

Arts Education Coordinator 
New Jersey State Council 
on the Arts 
Trenton, NJ 

Catherine O'Brian 

Arts in Education Coordinator 
New Hampshire State Council 
on the Arts 
Concord, NH 

Raeshma Razvi 

Programs Manager 
California Council for 
the Humanities 
San Francisco, CA 

Marianna Roll 

Executive Director 
Greater New Orleans 
Youth Orchestra 
New Orleans, LA 

Sheila Sears 

Arts Education Consultant 
Colorado Council on the Arts 
Denver, CO 

Martin J. Skomal 

Director of Programs 
Nebraska Arts Council 
Omaha, NE 

Jenna Ware 

Associate Director of Education 
Shakespeare & Company 
Lenox, MA 

Judith Willoughby 

Wanda L. Bass Professor 
of Conducting and Choral Music 
Education/Artistic Director 
Canterbury Youth Choruses 
Wanda L. Bass School of Music 
Oklahoma City University 
Oklahoma City, OK 

Mark Alexander Wright 

Director of Partnerships 
National Children's Museum 
Washington, DC 

ind to foreground: Berklee City Music Saturday 
Preparatory School students; Project Jericho participant Ray Collins. 
Bottom: (L-R) SURA Arts Academy students Alaa El-Beshir, Fatima 
Shareef, Wafa Fidama, and Mouna Alghathie. 
Photographers: Berklee City Music, Project Jericho, Aimee Allen 


1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW 
Suite 526 

Washington, DC 20506 
Phone: 202-682-5409 
Fax: 202-682-5668 

The President of the United States recognizes that the nation's cultural life 
contributes to the vibrancy of society and the strength of democracy. The 
President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities helps to incorporate 
the arts and humanities into White House objectives. It recognizes cultural 
excellence, engages in research, initiates special projects, and stimulates 
private funding. Areas of current focus include programs in youth arts and 
humanities learning; preservation and conservation; special events; 
and expansion of international cultural relations. 

First Lady Laura Bush, Honorary Chairman 

Adair Margo, Chairman 

Henry Moran, Executive Director 

Institute of Museum and Library Services 

1800 M Street, NW 

9th Floor 

Washington, DC 20036-5802 

Phone: 202-653-IMLS 


E-mail: imlsinfo(g> 


The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of 
federal support for the nation's 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The 
Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect 
people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level 
and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, 
culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support 
professional development. 

Anne-lmelda M. Radice, PhD, Director 

National Endowment for the Arts 

1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW 

Washington, DC 20506 

Phone: 202-682-5400 

Fax: 202-682-5611 



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. 
Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal 
government, the Endowment is the nation's largest annual funder of the 
arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, 
and military bases. 

Dana Gioia, Chairman 

National Endowment for the Humanities 

1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW 

Washington, DC 20506 





Because democracy demands wisdom, the National Endowment for 
the Humanities (NEH) serves and strengthens our Republic by promoting 
excellence in the humanities and conveying the lessons of history to all 
Americans. The Endowment accomplishes this mission by providing grants 
for high-quality humanities projects in four funding areas: preserving 
and providing access to cultural resources, education, research, and 
public programs. 

Bruce M. Cole, PhD, Chairman 

Left and Bottom, from background to foreground: (L-R) Journey 
program participant Famo Musa; a scene from Soweto! performed 
by the Youth Ensemble of Atlanta; Summer Arts for Youth student 
Takiyah Spikes. 

Photographers: The AjA Project, Youth Ensemble of Atlanta, Young 
Audiences of Indiana 


Coming Up Taller I 


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