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P of the Solution 

Creative Alternatives for Youth ^^ 





Part of the Solution 

Creative Alternatives for Youth 





Edited by Laura Costello 

Published by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies in cooperation with the 
National Endowment for the Arts, the United States Department of Justice, and the 
United States Department of Health and Human Services 



The National .Assembly of State .Arts .Agencies (NASAA) is the 
membership organization of the nation's state and jurisdictional arts 
agencies. The members, through XASAA. participate in the estab- 
lishment of national arts polio." and advocate the importance of the 
diverse arts and cultures of the United States. NASAA's mission is to 
provide its member agencies with the information, resources, and 
representation the}- require to engage issues proactively and serve the 
public effectively. 

The National Endowment for the .Arts (NEA), an independent 
agencv of the federal government, was created in 1965 to encourage 
and assist the nation's cultural resources. The NEA is advised by the 
National Council on the .Arts, a presidenrially appointed body com- 
posed of the chairman of the endowment and twenty-six distin- 
guished private citizens who are widely recognized for their expertise 
or interest in the arts. The council advises the endowment on poli- 
cies, programs, and procedures, in addition to making recommenda- 
rions on grant applications. 

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and the 
Bureau of Justice .Assistance are components of the Office of Justice 
Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the 
National Institute of Justice, and the Office for Victims of Crime. 
Points of view or opinions expressed in this document are those of 
the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position or 
policies of the U.S. Department of Justice. 

The Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CS.AP) supports and 
promotes the continued development of community, state, national, 
and international comprehensive prevention systems. CS.AP strives 
to connect people and resources with effective and innovative ideas. 
strategies, and programs aimed at reducing and eliminating alcohol. 
tobacco and other drug (ATOD I problems in our society. CSAP's 
prevention programs and models, tailored to specific cultures and 
locales, capitalize on broad-based community involvement and en- 
hance public and professional awareness of prevention. CS.AP is a 
component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' 
Substance .Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration 
(SAMHSA). 

© 1995 by the National Assembly of State .Arts 
.Agencies. All rights reserved. 



This publication was produced under a cooperative agreement be- 
tween the National Endowment for the Arts and the National As- 
sembly of State .Arts .Agencies, with support from the Bureau of Jus- 
tice Assistance and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency 
Prevention through an Interagency Agreement between the Na- 
tional Endowment for the Arts and the Bureau of Justice Assistance; 
and with support from the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention 
through an Interagency .Agreement between the National Endow- 
ment for the .Arts and the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention. 



Editor: 

.Associate Editor: 
.Assistant Editors: 



Covet Design: 

Interior Design: 



Concept and 
Guidance: 

Editorial Ad-risory 
Committee: 



Laura Costello, NASAA 
Andi Matins, NEA 

Lauren Benson, NASAA 

Jill Hauser-Field. NASAA 

Rondell Crier, YA/YA 
Laura Costello, in collaboration with 
Rondell Crier and Lauren Benson 



Edward Dickev, NEA 



Jose Colchado, Dean, College of Creative 
and Communications Arts, Northern Arizona 
University 

Craig Dreeszen, Executive Director, Arts 
Extension Sendee, Division of Continuing 
Education, University of Massachusetts 

Wayne Lawson, Executive Director, Ohio 
.Arts Council 

Barbara Neal, former Executive 
Director, Colorado Council on the Arts 

Patrice Powell, Director, Expansion Arts 
Program, NEA 



For further information about this publication contact the National 
Assembly of State Arts .Agencies. 1010 Vermont Avenue, Suite 920, 
Washington, DC 20005, 202-347-6352. 



-~-i 



Printed on recycled paper with soybean ink. %? i 3 



* 



Acknowledgements 



We would like to take this opportunity 
to acknowledge the many individuals 
who have contributed their time, en- 
ergy, and expertise to this publication. 

Our editorial advisory group members listed on 
the previous page helped focus and shape the content of the 
various chapters from initial concept through every draft. 

Support and cooperation from the Depart- 
ment of Justice is making it possible for this book to 
reach a large network of juvenile justice professionals. 
We particularly want to thank Laurie O. Robinson, 
deputy assistant attorney general, Office of Justice Pro- 
grams; Shay Bilchik, administrator, Office of Juvenile 
Justice and Delinquency Prevention; Nancy E. Gist, di- 
rector, Bureau of Justice Assistance; Patty Reilly, special 
assistant to the director, Bureau of Justice Assistance; 
and Jack A. Nadol, special counsel to the deputy assis- 
tant attorney general, Office of Justice Programs. We 
also want to thank Karen Christensen, general counsel, 
National Endowment for the Arts, for seeing the oppor- 
tunity and taking the initiative to work with the Depart- 
ment of Justice on this project. 

The Arts and Prevention, a new partnership 
between the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention 
(CSAP) of the Department of Health and Human Ser- 
vices and the National Endowment for the Arts, encour- 
ages greater involvement of artists and arts organizations 
in substance abuse prevention programs. A special re- 
print of this book for use by drug and alcohol abuse pre- 
vention specialists and by the national network of com- 
munity prevention programs has been made possible by 
this partnership. We extend thanks to Elaine M. 
Johnson, director, CSAP, and to Joan White Quinlan, 
chief, and David Wilson, public affairs specialist, of the 
Public Education Branch, CSAP, and the staff of the 



National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information. 

State and regional arts agency staff around 
the country assisted significantly as well, offering advice 
and guidance as the stories developed. We would like to 
recognize Tim Toothman of the Maryland State Arts 
Council, Rita Starpattern of the Texas Arts Commis- 
sion, and Jayne Darke and Ken May of the South Caro- 
lina Arts Commission for their help. 

Credit is due Edward Dickey, director of the 
State & Regional Program at the Arts Endowment, who 
provided the concept, general direction, and much valu- 
able editorial advice. Many other Endowment staff also 
assisted, and were generous with their time and efforts: 
Josh Dare and Keith Donohue of the Public Affairs Of- 
fice; Anthony Tighe and Marianne Klink of the Partner- 
ship staff; Claire Colliander and Rudy Guglielmo, fel- 
lows in the State & Regional Program; and Aimee Eden, 
who also worked with the program. 

At the National Assembly of State Arts Agen- 
cies, Jill Hauser-Field provided editorial expertise for the 
book, especially in fashioning the final chapter, and 
Lauren Benson hit the ground running as she assumed 
layout and production responsibilities. We also want to 
thank Dennis Dewey for his invaluable support in pro- 
viding overall management of this project. 

Finally, we want to acknowledge Rondell 
Crier, a student pursuing a career in computer graphics 
and an Alumni of YA/YA in New Orleans (featured in 
chapter 5), who designed our cover and much of the 
book's interior. His work is a tribute to the vitality and 
creativity of America's youth and a positive reflection of 
the power of the arts to help shape young lives. 



Laura L. Costello 

Editor 

National Assembly of 

State Arts Agencies 



Andi Mathis 

Program Administrator 

State & Regional Program 

National Endowment for the Arts 




Table of Contents 



Acknowledgements 

Foreword 

Introduction 

Dancing into the Future 8 

Maryland — learning self-expression and gaining self-confidence 
through dance 

by Jean Marbella 

A.P.P.L.E. Corps: A Unique Partnership 14 

Arizona — a partnership of artists, private enterprise professionals, 
prosecutors, law enforcement officials, and educators helps youth reject drugs 
with after-school arts programs 

by Rose McBride 

Voices of Youth: 

The Arts and Prevention in Vermont 22 

Vermont — helping children and teens find their artistic voices 
by Elizabeth Lawrence 

Soothing the Aching Heart of Young Los Angeles 28 

California — mending rifts in the community fabric caused by social and 

economic unrest 

by Max Benavidez and Kate Vozoff 

Creative Entrepreneurs: 

The YA/YAs of New Orleans 34 

Louisiana — developing creative and business skills through an arts guild 

for teens 

by Claudia Barker 



6 South Carolina's ABC Project: 

Making a Difference in Education 42 

South Carolina — making the arts a part of every child's basic education 
by Jan S tucker 

7 Denver's Neighborhood Cultures 48 

Colorado — celebrating common history and environment through 
neighborhood arts projects 
by TomAuer 

8 Working Their Way into the Arts 54 

Rhode Island — awakening an interest and introducing career opportunities 

in the arts 

by John Pantalone 

9 The Family Arts Agenda: 

A Lighthouse for Rough Waters 60 

Oregon — developing arts programs that strengthen troubled families 
by Romalyn Tilghman 

1 Project BRIDGE: An Artist in Their Midst 66 

Texas — providing opportunities for creative expression and development 
to residents of housing projects 

by Saundra Goldman 

1 1 Hugs and Kisses, A Big Kid's Play 72 

Virginia — providing vital information about serious issues to kids and teens 
through drama 
by Rebecca Neale 

12 Additional State and Regional Arts Agency Projects 80 

Fifty-two state and regional arts agencies share examples of projects that 
provide creative alternatives for youth 

edited by Jill Hauser-Field 




Foreword 



The arts are part of the solution to problems that 
endanger America's youth — problems of teen- 
age pregnancy, violence, drug abuse, and drop- 
ping out of school. This assertion is supported by an 
ever growing number of success stories from communi- 
ties of all sizes and economic circumstances. The pur- 
pose of this publication is to share some of these stories 
that illustrate the positive difference made in the lives of 
children and their families by artists, arts organizations, 
and community groups with assistance from 
the National Endowment for the Arts, the fifty-six 
state and jurisdictional arts agencies, and the seven re- 
gional arts organizations. 

The arts have always been, and always should 
be, valued and supported for their inherent worth. But 
we should not overlook their other public benefits; the 
arts enrich, transform, and even save lives. And in so do- 
ing they help to address some of society's greatest chal- 
lenges, especially those involving youth. This is recog- 
nized by leaders of federal, state, and local agencies 
concerned with education, law enforcement, drug pre- 
vention, and other social services. The assistance of the 
Department of Justice and the Department of Health 
and Human Services in the production and distribution 
of this publication reflects the growing interest in the arts 
as a resource for addressing these public purposes. 

Part of the Solution follows Celebrating 
America's Cultural Diversity and A Rural Arts Sampler, 
which document some of the ways the Arts Endowment 
and its state and regional partners are working together 



to foster America's diverse cultural heritage and promote 
the arts in rural areas. This series of publications is in- 
tended to share successful strategies and show how the 
arts address public priorities, delivering remarkable ben- 
efits to a great variety of people and communities. 

The arts have great attraction. Like nothing 
else they engage the hearts and minds of children. And 
once engaged with the arts, children are more likely to 
develop the discipline, self-confidence, and creative 
thinking that can help them succeed in other endeavors 
and contribute to the economic and social health of their 
communities. Of course, the arts cannot by themselves 
address all of the problems that affect the lives of chil- 
dren. But the chapters that follow demonstrate just how 
much we can accomplish with a small investment in 
projects that offer creative alternatives for youth. 



Jonathan Katz 
Executive Director 
National Assembly of 
State Arts Agencies 



Edward Dickey 

Director 

State & Regional Program 

National Endowment for the Arts 



* 



Introduction 



Of all people," Thomas Macaulay wrote, 
"children are the most imaginative." That 
certainly has been my experience. When I 
ask a classroom of elementary school kids how many can 
draw or sing or dance, the hands go up in unanimity. 
Our great challenge as adults is to tap that creativity, to 
channel that positive energy so that it's their imagina- 
tions that are running wild, not the kids themselves. 

It is not enough to love, feed, and house our 
children. Teaching them values and giving them good 
schools and an environment safe from crime are impor- 
tant, and yet they need more. To help our future genera- 
tions reach their full potential, they require opportunities 
for creative expression, opportunities the arts can provide. 

Sadly, many children today are "at risk" of 
dropping out of school, of dropping out of society at 
large, not only in impoverished inner cities, but in rural 
areas and middle class communities. The incidence of 
drug use and violence, of pregnancy and suicide among 
our young people is tragic. To save our children, to open 
their lives to new possibilities, we as parents and family 
members, teachers and volunteers, civic and religious 
leaders must marshal all our resources, public and private. 

The arts are one such resource, rich and inex- 
haustible. Disciplined and creative work — in music, 
dance, and theater; in visual arts and folk arts, in film 
and video, in literature and design — can help instill 
values, create pride in our cultural heritage, and engen- 
der a sense of self-worth. Children who pick up a paint- 
brush or a pen, a clarinet or a fistful of clay are less likely 



to pick up a needle or a gun. They've got better things to do. 

In my visits to communities in every state, I 
have witnessed over and over again the almost magical 
power that the arts have to instill pride, wonder, and cre- 
ative purpose in youth. The stories that follow describe 
just a few of the projects that are successfully drawing on 
this power. 

While support from the National Endow- 
ment for the Arts and its state partners helped to make 
these projects possible, none could have happened with- 
out the dedicated commitment of individual artists, of- 
ten working with parents, teachers, arts institutions, and 
local agencies. These projects draw their energy from the 
local level, and the people who make them happen are 
grass-roots heroes. Such success requires hard work and care- 
ful planning with concerned professionals and volunteers 
who understand their communities and young people. 

This book was developed and supported 
through the cooperative efforts of the National Assembly 
of State Arts Agencies, the Department of Justice, the 
Department of Health and Human Services, and the 
National Endowment for the Arts. I would like to thank 
our partners for helping us share so vividly the powerful 
evidence that the arts are truly part of the solution. And 
I trust the stories in this book will inspire others to 
reach, to teach, to give of themselves for the good of our 
children. 

Jane Alexander 
Chairman 

National Endowment for the Arts 



Dancing into the Future 



* 




Samuel LeSane, a former dancer with the Ailey Repertory Ensemble, teaches a 
jazz class to kids at the AileyCamp in Baltimore, Maryland. 
Photo by Barbara Haddock, Tloe Baltimore Sun 




by Jean Marbella 



They make their way onto the stage of the cool, 
dark auditorium, some slouching, some snap- 
ping gum, most with that arms-folded, don't- 
mess-with-me attitude of the preteen set. 

But Samuel LeSane will have none of it. The 
trim and finely muscled dancer strides to center stage, is- 
sues some crisp commands, and rearranges the clumps of 
students into neat, staggered rows. He signals a pianist 
and drummer in the corner, the music begins, the chat- 
tering and horseplay stop, and, almost imperceptibly, 
heads are held a little higher and backs a little straighter. 
Class is underway. 

Such is the transformative power of dance. 
While their friends were sleeping late and laz- 
ing away the summer, some one hundred Baltimore 
middle school students, many from the city's most dis- 
advantaged neighborhoods, spent their Mondays 
through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at AileyCamp, an in- 
tensive, six- week program of dance taught by faculty of 
the renowned Alvin Alley American Dance Center and 
local professionals from the Baltimore city schools. 

With little if any prior dance training, the 
students initially struggled to master the formal art of 
ballet, the explosive energy of jazz, the intense and 
grounded movements of modern, and the Afro-Carib- 
bean-based technique of Katherine Dunham. Yet after 
six weeks, the campers put on a performance for their 
parents, friends, and other supporters, taking proudly to the 
stage to show the happy results of all their hard work 

But beyond the sweat and the sore muscles, the 
pasdebourree steps and the port de bras arm movements, 
larger and perhaps more important lessons were learned as 
well: the rewards of discipline, new modes of self-expres- 
sion, and new avenues toward self-esteem. And they've learned 
to trust and work with their peers who, just six weeks ago, were 
strangers from other neighborhoods and backgrounds. 



"Alvin envisioned dance as a sort of tool, a 
camouflage of what the real purpose of the camp is 
about," says Mr. LeSane, a former dancer with the Ailey 
Repertory Ensemble who now teaches jazz at the camp, 
as well as at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center. 
"He wanted to create something specifically for what 
middle-schoolers need at their age — to help them de- 
velop their self-esteem and learn to bond with one an- 
other. That was his mission, and I do believe in it. Just 
being physical, you feel better about yourself, you're 
more energized, you're much more alert. That's all part 
of personal development." 

*js Growing Every Year 

' \ Now in its fourth year in Maryland, AileyCamp 
began in 1991 as a small pilot program for twenty-five 
students in Baltimore. It has grown to the point that in 
1994, more than eighty-five students attended a six- 
week camp at Morgan State University in Baltimore, 
and about thirty participated in a two-week minicamp at 
Frostburg State University in western Maryland. The 
program in Maryland is modeled on the Ailey com- 
pany's first camp in Kansas City, which began in 1989. 

Funded by both public and private grants 
(about a 60-40 split), AileyCamp has won plaudits from 
the community for bringing world class dance to chil- 
dren who ordinarily would not be exposed to such riches. 

"It is so extraordinary, to the point that it's al- 
most unique, that dancers the caliber of the Alvin Ailey 
company would settle in here and do something like 
this," marvels Jim Backas, executive director of the 
Maryland State Arts Council, which along with the Na- 
tional Endowment for the Arts has supported 
AileyCamp since its inception. And the contribution of 
the Ailey staff goes beyond artistic excellence, Mr. 
Backas adds. The Ailey staff also brings a genuine 



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dedication to serving its communities. "They're such 
wonderful teachers. They relate so well to the commu- 
nity," he says. "Alvin [Ailey] himself was like that. He re- 
ally cared. They're such positive people; they don't dwell 
on the underprivileged aspect. They instead dwell on the 
richness of the American experience." 

In 1 990 the arts council also helped to estab- 
lish the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater Foundation of Mary- 
land, which is a separate organization dedicated to pro- 
moting the work of the Alvin Ailey Company and to 
sponsoring the AileyCamps in Maryland. The camp is 
one part of the foundation's ongoing community out- 
reach program. During company tours, the dancers often 

visit local schools, conducting 

master classes and workshops. 
The second company, the 
Repertory Ensemble, tours the 
state as well, often performing 
in small-town venues. The 
performances and the out- 
reach programs have devel- 
oped a symbiotic relationship — one creates an interest in 
the other. The performances attract children who want to 
participate in the camps or workshops, and those pro- 
grams in turn create audiences for the performers. 

While Maryland's AileyCamp is designed 
for "at-risk" children, Community Outreach and 
AileyCamp Director Phadelma Ashley dislikes the label, 
saying, "Middle school children are at risk, period, no 
matter what. This is when they're at risk for pregnancy, 
sexually transmitted diseases, alcohol, drug abuse." 

Many of the campers come from single-par- 
ent, economically disadvantaged families. Some have lost 
family members to crime, divorce, or AIDS, and lack the 
role models and support systems they need during this 
critical time in their development. 



"Middle school children are at risk, 

period, no matter what. This is when 

theyWriskforpregnancy,sexually^ 

transmitted diseases, alcohol, drugabuse." 



Camp administrators realize six weeks can't 
begin to make a dent in these problems, and so they fol- 
low up with the campers. They invite the kids to regular 
monthly activities run in partnership with community 
organizations like the YMCA and Camp Fire Boys and 
Girls and keep tabs on their progress. 

"We stay in touch with [the kids'] guidance 
counselors and principals through periodic communica- 
tions. We see how their grades are progressing," says Ms. 
Ashley. "And we get letters from families. Sometimes we 
don't realize the impact the camp has had until we hear 
from them, how they feel the camp has changed their 
children's lives." She takes pride in the success stories: 

One of the white campers went 

on to win a Black History 
Month competition run by a 
television station. Others have 
returned to camp a second year 
as "ambassadors" who help the 
new campers. 



* 



Bringing Together a Diverse Group 

Potential campers are recruited through school 
systems and community organizations. The kids apply 
for the program and are interviewed by staff members. 
"That's the hardest thing," Ms. Ashley says. "We look 
for a mix — some of them may exhibit leadership skills, 
and some don't — so we think they can help each other. 
We look for students who seem on the edge — some, 
for example, come from single-parent homes or have 
had a death in the family or a sister who has become 
pregnant. Others who have not been functioning well in 
school, or have sought counseling, or do not necessarily 
get to experience cultural activities." 

For Aaron Ellis, a divorced father who has 
custody of his two young daughters, the camp seemed 



like a godsend. "She was going through changes in her 
life, and she needed a little help," Mr. Ellis says of his 
eleven-year-old daughter Helena. "I've noticed that she 
really seems to have matured through this program. She 
enjoyed meeting and making a lot of new friends. She 
liked the teachers; they would talk to her and suggest 
books she could read." 

Helena was one of six girls placed in the 
camp through a community group, the Coalition of 1 00 
Black Women, which pairs the young women with 
mentors. "I'm impressed with the total experience," says 
Dr. Ann Emery, president of the coalition and a retired 
assistant superintendent for Baltimore public schools. 
"You develop the whole self." 

Indeed, in addition to four dance classes, the 
campers take classes in creative writing and personal de- 
velopment. Between those six classes, the children gener- 
ally can find at least one if not more places in which to 
shine. "They push you a lot. They push for your effort, 
like, your willpower," one camper, twelve-year-old Mar- 
garet Wilson, says of her teachers. "But I like it. I like 
creative writing. We have to make up stories — and I 
have a lot of ideas." 

In creative writing, the students work on sto- 
ries, monologues, and scenes. Reading their composition 
books can be a surprising, sobering glimpse into what 
these youngsters confront on a daily basis: there are sto- 
ries about pregnant girls and scenes of shootings outside 
their windows and homeless people living in the filth of 
the streets. It's no wonder that for some students, the 
camp is a refuge of sorts. "I have to wake up early to 
catch the bus to get here, but I like it," says LaDeia 
Lashley, age eleven. "It's better to be in camp and stay 
off the streets and get away from the violence." 

Teaching the non-dance classes are Sheila 
Davis, the chairman of the guidance department at a 



Baltimore middle school, who teaches the personal de- 
velopment classes; and Tony Tsendeas, a teacher at the 
Baltimore School for the Arts, who has taught creative 
writing to the campers for four years. As another form of 
creative expression, the students' writing is used in the 
performance that concludes the camp: some perform 
monologues they've written, others act in scenes written 
by their classmates. 

^L^ An Emphasis on Discipline 

^ \ Whatever the class, the teachers demand both ef- 
fort and compliance. Goofing off, talking in the back of 
the room, or showing disrespect for the teachers or fel- 
low students simply isn't tolerated. Yet within the struc- 
ture, there is room for individual attention and caring — 
if there is one thing that this diverse group of children 
share, it's a tangible need for someone to just listen and 
take their concerns seriously. 

"I like my teachers. They have more time for 
you than teachers at school," says Crystal Jones, age 
twelve. "They listen to you. When I first came here, I 
didn't know anybody. I was, like, shy. But now I've 
made friends. Your friends, you can tell them things." 

"You like me, you enjoy having me in class, 
don't you? Can I stay for your next class?" one girl ca- 
joles, throwing an arm around Doris DeMendez, who 
teaches the Dunham technique. "Oh, I don't even want 
you in this class," the teacher jokes, even as she returns 
the hug. "We don't realize sometimes how much atten- 
tion some of these kids need," Ms. DeMendez says later. 
"It's amazing how much they crave it." 

Ms. DeMendez, who has danced on Broad- 
way and appeared in movies such as The Wiz, has been 
with the AileyCamp for five years, joining the Baltimore 
staff after serving as both a teacher and the artistic 
director of the Kansas City camp for two years. "The 



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hardest part, I would say, is getting the kids used to the 
discipline of dance, whatever technique is being taught," 
she says. "It's hard getting them to just stand still; they 
keep asking, 'Why can't we just move around?' " 

That, of course, is what makes dance an art: 
It is controlled rather than random movement, purpose- 
ful rather than meaningless. And it is what makes dance 
the perfect vehicle for what the teachers want to impart 
to their students. 

The lessons begin with the dress code. Camp- 
ers are issued tights, leotards, shorts, AileyCamp T- 
shirts, and ballet shoes. Hair must be off the face. The 
uniforms serve a dual function: They're necessary for the 
stretching, bending, and jumping of dancing, of course. 
But more subdy, they make clothing less important and 
less of a means for getting attention and feeling good 
about yourself. Rather, performing well in class is the 
way to succeed. 

And the dress code is enforced. "This is not 
acceptable," Tom Stevens declares after half a dozen of 
his ballet students show up without their slippers and he 
takes down names to call their parents. "All of the rules 
should be very clear by now." The students have to sit 
out the class — which initially may seem like a treat, but 
there's no socializing allowed, just silent auditing from a 
corner of the airy dance studio. 

**/f Building on the Basics 

' \ The classes are run in the time-honored progres- 
sion of warm-ups, simple exercises, larger movements, 
and, finally, combinations that link steps, turns, and/or 
jumps in a memory-challenging way. 

In Mr. LeSane's jazz class, for example, class 
begins with head rolls, then shoulder rolls, moving incre- 
mentally to arm extensions, torso isolations, hip swivels, 
and on to patterns that take the students upstage, down- 



stage, and diagonally across. As the exercises become 
more strenuous, the class is divided into smaller groups 
so that some can do the sequences while the rest take 
quick breathers. It's a popular class among the students. 
The showy, Broadway-style moves are a perfect oudet 
for their energies. Students immediately line up to do 
the exercises a second and even third time. 

"What I try to do is capitalize on all this en- 
ergy," Mr. LeSane says. He teaches the students how, 
once they've completed their exercise, to circle around 
the perimeter of the stage, rather than straight across the 
center where their classmates are dancing. "It's not only 
dangerous," Mr. LeSane says of the collision factor, "but 
it's disrespectful to the performer." 

As the camp progresses, the children seem 
more of a unit. They've come from all over the city, as 
well as some surrounding counties, and most knew no 
more than one or two of the other campers from their 
schools or neighborhoods. 

The majority of those attending the camp at 
Morgan State are African-American, reflecting the racial 
makeup of Baltimore. The minicamp at Frostburg draws 
more white students, given western Maryland's popula- 
tion base. The organizers continually strive for more di- 
versity, and have reached out to Jewish, Asian, Hispanic, 
and Native American communities in an effort to draw 
more applicants. In addition to their dance and writing 
classes, the campers have once-a-week cultural celebra- 
tion activities, where, for example, they've watched per- 
formances by African, Israeli, and Korean dancers. 

While the camp is not designed to turn out 
professional dancers, the students work towards a perfor- 
mance that they give at the end of their six-week sunt. 
This year the performance was held at Morgan State's 
Murphy Auditorium on the night before the final day of 
camp. The performance drew parents, friends, and sup- 



porters of the camp. The occasion marked an achieve- 
ment for them, too. For parents, it's a chance to see for 
themselves what their children talked about all sum- 
mer — the new dance steps, the new friendships, the 
new experiences. The performance is like a graduation 
ceremony, one of those rites of passage where parents 
stop and marvel at how their children are growing up so 
fast. For supporters, it's a chance to see their fund-raising 
efforts pay off. 

j^ A Triumphant Finale for All 

k \ "I think our accomplishments are two-fold," says 
Richard C. Hackney, an investment counselor who 
serves as chairman of the board of the Alvin Ailey Dance 
Theater Foundation of Maryland. "First are the wonder- 
ful audiences that we've been able to attract for the per- 
formances in Maryland by the Ailey dance companies, 
and second is what you're going to see tonight: the ac- 
complishment of the kids and their pride." 

Before the performance, the children are 
practically bouncing off walls. One girl needs ballet slip- 
pers, one boy needs a bobby pin for his yarmulke, a 
group practices their part of a dance. They're all bundles 
of barely containable emotions, ranging from nervous- 
ness to excitement to a rather poignant sadness that the 
experience is almost over. Hugs and photos abound. "I 
can't handle this, I'm going to miss everyone," one girl 
whispers to another. 

The teachers, beaming with pride and joy 
themselves, work to settle and focus their students. The 
now familiar signal to quiet down — arm raised, two 
fingers up — circulates from teacher to teacher to stu- 
dent to student until everyone is silent and the group 
takes on a remarkable calm. 

Just before going on stage Ms. Ashley tells the 
students softly, "All our spirit will radiate through dance 



tonight." And indeed for AileyCamp's teachers, parents, 
and audience members the spirit was there. 

Once on stage, they turn into pros. They 
stride confidently on stage to perform the choreography 
of their teachers, who are the real pros and have created 
dances that are imaginative yet appropriate for the stu- 
dents' abilities. Dances are mixed with monologues and 
scenes that the students wrote. 

There is an extended dance that starts with 
two groups of gangs, warily circling one another like 
West Side Story s Jets and Sharks or real life's Crips and 
Bloods, until two begin a fatal fight and they all disap- 
pear. A group of girls dressed in long black skirts begins 
another seemingly unrelated number, but then, as gasps 
of realization flicker through the audience, it turns into a 
funeral for the dead gang member. Some of the dancers 
pick him up and carry him high above their heads and 
off the stage, followed by a group of swaying, mournful 
girls who link arms and slowly disappear as well. 

The recital ends on a high note as all one 
hundred campers return to the stage to the applause and 
cheers of the audience. The restraint required to get 
through the demanding performance gives way to the 
students' natural energy, and they bask in the limelight 
of this one special night. But they know they didn't get 
there alone. Soon they're sharing the stage with their 
teachers, who each take a well-deserved bow and get 
pelted with handfuls of glitter from their students. The 
applause goes on and on for an experience that no one 
wants to end. ■ 

Jean Marbella is a feature writer for The Baltimore Sun. 

For further information on AileyCamp, please contact the Mary- 
land State Arts Council at 601 North Howard Street, 1st Floor, 
Baltimore, MD 21201; phone 410-333-8232. 



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A.P.P.L.E. Corps 

A Unique Partnership 




Elementary school students in Casa Grande, Arizona, met daily for two weeks 
with artist Keith Johnson during an after-school residency in traditional Afri- 
can music, storytelling, and mask making. 
Photo by Barbara Doble 




by Rose McBride 



k 



t's three o'clock on a Wednesday afternoon, and 
the final school bell has rung. Do you know 
where your children are? 

If your children are students at Cottonwood 
Elementary School in Casa Grande, Arizona, they're in 
the school cafeteria, listening to African folk tales and 
learning about African music and dance. "These guys 
have never played an African drum before," says guest 
artist Keith Johnson, referring to two boys who are 
busily teaching the drumbeats they've learned to their 
classmates, "but they've practiced enough in the last 
couple of days that they can teach the others a simple 
beat. And that makes them leaders in this group of 
kids." As participants in an after-school program run by 
the town's Parks and Recreation Department, the kids 
are spending two weeks with Johnson in an A.P.P.L.E. 
Corps residency. 

As a special program of the Arizona Commis- 
sion on the Arts, the A.P.P.L.E. Corps provides grants to 
after-school programs in schools, community centers, 
and parks and recreation programs across the state to 
fund guest artist residencies. Its purpose is to facilitate 
and support programs that help Arizona's children, 
families, and communities reject drugs. The A.P.P.L.E. 
Corps is a partnership of Artists, Private enterprise pro- 
fessionals, Prosecutors, Law enforcement officials, and 
Educators. These partners are unified by the belief that 
experiences in the arts are opportunities to build confi- 
dence, self-esteem, and pride, providing children and 
adults with productive activities that strengthen their re- 
solve to turn away from substance abuse. 

During its five-year history, the AP.P.L.E. Corps 
program has reached approximately 33,000 educators, after- 
school program staff, students, and parents across the state of 
Arizona. It is currenuy funded by the National Endowment 
for the Arts and the Maricopa County Attorney's Office. 



2?* Developing New Partners 
1 " The origin of this unique partnership dates to 
1989. At that time, lobbying efforts of the statewide arts 
advocacy organization, Arizonans for Cultural Develop- 
ment, and the Arizona Commission on the Arts resulted 
in the establishment of an increased fee for profit-mak- 
ing corporations filing annually with the Arizona Corpo- 
ration Commission. The fees created the Arizona Arts 
Trust Fund, a fund of approximately one million dollars 
annually, which in addition to the state appropriation to 
the arts commission was dedicated solely to the Arizona 
arts community. 

Immediately after the fund was established, a 
strong movement began in the Arizona State Legislature 
to divert the arts money for non-arts programs that ad- 
dressed crime prevention. Although not previously allied 
with the arts community nor responsible for the admin- 
istration of the fund, Maricopa County Attorney 
Richard M. Romley spontaneously stepped forward to 
speak out against shifting the money away from arts- 
based programs to crime prevention programs. 

"After studying the issue I decided not to. 
support the transfer of these monies to law enforce- 
ment," said Romley, in his recent testimony before the 
United States House of Representatives Interior Appro- 
priations Subcommittee with oversight for the National 
Endowment for the Arts. "In view of my position as a 
prosecutor, my opposition to transferring more money 
to law enforcement surprised some. However, I believed 
then, as I do today, that if we abandon the positive con- 
tributions of art to our society in order to fight the drug 
war, then the drug dealers have won again. They should 
not be permitted to take from our community that 
which is good." 

Romley initiated a lobbying effort and even- 
tually persuaded state legislators not to divert the 



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Arizona Arts Trust Fund to non-arts programs. His lead- 
ership also opened the door for two diverse groups — 
the arts community and law enforcement — to come to- 
gether and explore solutions to the extraordinarily com- 
plex problem of drug abuse. During early brainstorming 
sessions, several mutual beliefs surfaced: that unusual, 
creative partnerships were required to address issues of 
drug abuse, and that the arts had special qualities that 
could be applied to such partnerships. Resolving to seek 
additional community input, representatives from the 
Maricopa County Attorney's Office, Arizonans for Cul- 
tural Development, and the Arizona Commission on the 
Arts approached the Phoenix Police Department, the 

Arizona Department of 

Education, local artists, arts 
organizations, and arts agen- 
cies. This varied cross-sec- 
tion nonetheless shared 
common ground. With the 
gathering of these propo- 
nents, the A.P.P.L.E. Corps 
was formed — a partnership 
based on the premise that 
drug problems pose a serious 

threat to the community and that creative solutions 
from all parts of the community would be necessary to 
create change. 

2j* Recognizing a New Constituency 
\ * Initially, the A.P.P.L.E. Corps functioned as a re- 
source listing of arts groups across the state offering pro- 
grams with an antidrug message for school-age audi- 
ences. When the Arizona Department of Education 
announced that schools would be permitted to use drug 
prevention funds for arts events, it soon became clear 
that the demand for antidrug arts programming would 



exceed the availability of such offerings. In his role as 
county attorney, Romley administers the Maricopa 
County Anti-Racketeering Revolving Fund (or RICO 
fund), created by state statute and consisting of assets 
seized from drug dealers. Demonstrating his commit- 
ment to the A.P.P.L.E. Corps, Romley awarded 
$20,000 from the RICO fund to the Arizona Commis- 
sion on the Arts to regrant to arts organizations for the 
development of programs with antidrug themes. Imme- 
diately afterward, Romley further strengthened the partner- 
ship between the arts and law enforcement by successfully 
advocating that the legislative language on the uses of RICO 
funds be broadened to include prevention programs. 

While research- 



"... if we abandon the positive 
contributions of art to our society in 
order to fight the drug war, then the 
drug dealers have won again. They 
should not be permitted to take from 
our community that which is good." 



ing new outlets for serving 
Arizona's youth through the 
A.P.P.L.E. Corps, the arts 
commission became aware 
of the increasing number of 
quality after-school pro- 
grams across the state, which 
often lacked both arts pro- 
gramming and the opportu- 
nity to receive arts funding. 
Further, after-school programs were operating in a vari- 
ety of community-based settings, such as YMCAs, Boys 
and Girls Clubs, and parks and recreation centers, but 
were not participating in any of the commission's fund- 
ing programs. Since they operate during hours when 
children are often not supervised, the connection with 
potentially at-risk youth was clear. 

"Today, all kids are at risk, some to a higher 
degree than others because of environmental factors such 
as poverty, crime, and abuse," says Linda Siciliano, child 
care director at Phoenix's South Mountain YMCA, "But 
the kids who are most at risk are those who are alone 



after school. Teen sex, drug use, gang activity — these 
things are most prevalent when the school day ends and 
there's nothing else to do." According to Pam Willier, 
recreation coordinator for the Phoenix Parks, Recre- 
ation, and Library Department, "One of the problems 
facing kids is the abundance of free time, especially after 
school. One of the things we try to do is fill that time 
with positive activities - — and that doesn't mean just 
volleyball and basketball. The arts should be a part of it, 
too, because they can really hook a kid and steer him or 
her in a positive direction." With these considerations in 
mind, the arts commission identified after-school pro- 
grams as ideal candidates for a new funding program. 
Subsequently, grants were sought and received from the 
National Endowment for the Arts and the Maricopa 
County RICO fund to develop a program that would 
connect after-school programs statewide with artists and 
arts organizations. 

2|* Getting Started 

I After-school program directors immediately re- 
sponded with excitement. Recalls Gwen Worthington, 
community education director of Phoenix's Creighton 
School District, "My first thought was that finally we 
would have an opportunity — and the means — to en- 
rich our after-school program through the arts, in a way 
that addressed our specific needs. Other grant programs 
were not as accessible to us, because they were limited to 
a regular school day schedule. But learning continues 
throughout the day." 

Eligible applicants, who were defined as es- 
tablished after-school programs affiliated with parks and 
recreation programs, neighborhood centers, boys and 
girls clubs, or school districts, were encouraged to apply 
to the arts commission through a competitive process. 
Funding priority would be given to sites with limited 



access to arts programming, sites with youth populations 
at a high risk for drug abuse and gang involvement, or 
sites located in rural communities. Applicants also had to 
demonstrate their administrative capability to complete 
the project, prove their projects focused primarily on 
working with children and increasing staff skills in the 
arts, and show they had worked collaboratively with the 
guest artist in planning the project. 

i?* The Residency Design 
i To date, seventy-eight A.P.P.L.E. Corps grants 
have been awarded. Since some grantees choose to use 
their funds at more than one site, a total of 174 separate 
after-school programs will have participated in residen- 
cies by the end of the 1994-95 school year. Projects 
feature diverse artists and disciplines within a wide vari- 
ety of structures. In each of the projects, after-school 
program directors select artists from the commission's 
artist roster. After-school program directors and artists 
collaborate to develop short-term residencies featuring 
three types of activities: staff training, workshops for 
children, and professional presentations of the artists' 
work to the community. 

In training sessions with staff members, artists 
concentrate on increasing skills in a specific arts disci- 
pline, using videotapes, slide shows, lesson plans, and the 
same hands-on activities that will be presented during 
workshops with children. The benefits of the arts in 
building communication skills, promoting creativity, 
and encouraging self-expression — all tools in drug pre- 
vention — are also emphasized. 

"I particularly liked the hands-on experiences 
the staff received as they made their own puppets and 
experienced success at creating something of their own 
design," said Nancy Kiser, after-school program director 
of Phoenix's Alhambra School District. "I believe that 



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they have found a creativity and resourcefulness that 
they did not realize they possessed." 

Helping after-school program staff develop 
skills and ideas for using the arts to work with kids dur- 
ing — and more importandy, after — the project is the 
primary goal. "The beauty of this program is in the staff 
training," says Gwen Worthington, "After-school pro- 
grams have a very high student turnover during the year, 
so a project that includes exciting, lively experiences spe- 
cifically for staff really has an impact. Maybe it's not seen 
immediately, but the artist's influence is long-lasting and 
pervasive. We could never have trained our staff in the 
way that the artists have." 

Artists also work 
direcdy with the children in 
workshops that don't neces- 
sarily focus on antidrug 
themes, but which do use the 
experience of making art as a 
vehicle for practicing coopera- 
tion, finding alternate solu- 
tions to conflicts, and increas- 
ing pride, self-esteem, and 

confidence. "We wanted the kids to realize they have tal- 
ents and abilities and have a valuable contribution to 
make," said Downtown Phoenix YMCA Executive Di- 
rector Lisa Druin on her project with muralist Martin 
Moreno. "It's a strategy to build their self-confidence so 
they won't feel like there's nothing better for them to do 
than get involved in drugs and other forms of antisocial 
behavior." The resulting mural from the YMCA project 
is on permanent display in the cafeteria of Phoenix's 
Wilson Elementary School. It is painted on three four- 
by-eight-foot panels, and depicts shadowy figures of chil- 
dren rising above images of pollution, crime, and pov- 
erty. "I've always wanted to paint a mural," said Jose 



" . . . the kidswhoare mostatriskarethose 

who are alone after school. Teen sex, 

drug use, gang activity — these things are 

most prevalentwhen the school day ends 

and there's nothing else to do." 



Lopez, an eighth-grader who volunteered his skills to 
help the grade-schoolers who participated in the resi- 
dency. "This was the only chance I'd ever have." 

A.P.P.L.E. Corps projects must also include a 
professional presentation of the artist's work, and project 
directors have been very creative in showcasing their 
guest artists. Residents of Page, a rural community on 
the edge of Navajo Indian Reservation, had the opportu- 
nity to visit the town's only art gallery during a two- 
week exhibition of Navajo rugs and jewelry crafted by 
artist Nanaba Aragon, who presented a residency at Page 
Middle School. In preparation for a project with mural- 
ist Martin Moreno, the Scottsdale Recreation Division 

held a public meeting for 
residents living adjacent to 
the site where a large out- 
door mural was to be 
painted. Moreno discussed 
the history of mural art, 
presented a slide lecture of 
his work, and described 
the process through which 
the mural would be devel- 
oped. Once a magnet for spray-paint "taggers," the wall 
on which the mural was painted remains free of gang 
graffiti more than a year after its completion. 

2|* A Challenge With Rewards 

1 Artists have found that working in after-school 
programs is a challenging endeavor with many rewards. 
"It was a totally new experience, working with the South 
Tucson Youth Center and the children involved in the 
after-school program," said Leon Myron, a Native 
American artist whose residency, sponsored by the Tuc- 
son Parks and Recreation Department, taught grade- 
schoolers about traditional Hopi Kachina doll carving. 




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Photo by Lois McFarland, Scottsdale Progress Tribune 



A graphic testament to the impact of art, 
these two photographs depict the same 
wall in Paiute Park in Scottsdale, Ari- 
zona. On the left, the graffiti-covered 
wall before the Scottsdale Recreation Department's 
A.P.P.L.E. Corps Project. On the right, students 
work diligendy on the mural, whose theme and 
content they decided during a residency with 
Phoenix artist Martin Moreno. 






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"They really got me thinking about how we as artists can 
challenge ourselves to give more of ourselves and help 
change kids' attitudes about themselves — and about 
other cultures." Since many of the projects focus on art 
forms that have specific cultural origins, participating 
students have the chance to learn about another culture 
firsthand — a valuable experience in developing respect 
for others. 

Tucson musician Chuck Koesters, who 
worked with his wife, dancer Anne Bunker, in a resi- 
dency with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Tucson, adds: 
"Most of the students we worked with were fairly young, 
and most expressed a real fear of gangs and drugs. In a 
community ravaged by gangs and drugs, children have 
to 'grow up' or 'harden' to survive. I feel our project gave 
our students a chance at self-expression that could free 
them, if only for a moment, of the pressure from their 
environment and show them that opportunities do result 
from choosing a different way of acting and reacting." 

After-school programs have evolved over the 
last ten years to meet the changing needs of the family, 
according to Renee Chambers, community education 
director of Madison School District in Phoenix. That 
means accommodating a wider age range of kids, allow- 
ing for flexible scheduling and attendance, and under- 
standing that the kids have already had a full day of 
structured classroom work by the time they get to work 
with the artist. Still, says mask maker Maria Luisa Ruiz, 
"These are wonderful kids. They need after-school ac- 
tivities to keep them busy, where they can share ideas 
and interact with each other in a safe setting. You have 
to be able to relate to them and become their friend and 
respect their traditions." Adds Chambers, "The love that 
the artist has for his or her work is absolutely contagious, 
and the kids pick up on that when they work together." 
Participating artists have responded by reevaluating their 



ideas and adapting their methods of bringing art to children. 

Although A.P.P.L.E. Corps is still a pilot 
project, participating after-school directors attest to the 
impact of arts programming on the kids served by their 
programs. As Pam Willier says, "The arts have a very 
therapeutic value that can help kids communicate their 
state of mind. It gives them a chance to express things going 
on in their lives in a powerful and unusual way." 

Project directors have also found that kids are 
attracted to after-school programs in larger numbers 
when an arts project is included. Reports Laura 
Fredericks, project director at Page Middle School, "It 
was so great to see the number of kids who wanted to be 
here instead of on the streets. Half of our kids were reser- 
vation kids, who may never have had this opportunity 
otherwise." Noreen Wernick, community education di- 
rector of Sunnyslope Extended Day Program in Phoe- 
nix, recognized this benefit as well: "We had many more 
children in our program during the residency. There- 
fore, more were with us rather than home alone. This 
unique opportunity provided new exposure and opened 
new doors for our Extended Day Program." 

2|* Future Directions 

\ * After-school programs, whether offered through 
school districts, parks and recreation departments, or 
other community organizations, are here to stay. As 
professionals in a growing and developing industry, 
after-school program directors are continuously fine-tun- 
ing their offerings to reflect the changing needs of 
the families they're trying to serve. In spite of this, 
money continues to be tight. "After-school programs do 
not typically have funding," says Renee Chambers, "and 
that means we have to be very creative in finding new 
partnerships, like the one with the Arizona Commission 
on the Arts, in order to offer better programs each year." 



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The dedication of after-school program direc- 
tors to present quality arts opportunities to the kids 
whom they serve cannot be ignored, nor can the anec- ?** 

dotal evidence that the arts do have an impact on partici- ^ 

pating youth. "The Arizona Commission on the Arts is ™ 

committed to this program. We have reached new con- 9, 

stituents: both students and after-school staffs. This pro- * 

gram has challenged artists to adapt their presentations <= 

to nontraditional settings. Based on the response from -f 

the first three years of activity in after-school programs, -? 

we will find the resources for the A.P.P.L.E. Corps to 
continue," says Shelley Cohn, the arts commission's ex- 
ecutive director. 

"Gangs and drugs are examples of the at- 
tempts people make to plug the holes in society and to 
reduce the pain of poverty and low self-esteem," Chuck 
Koesters adds, "It will be a long process to fill the holes 
with art instead. But I think one big advantage of art is 
it's ability to improve self-confidence and self-worth, 
through the students' realization that they can produce 
something of beauty." Gwen Worthington agrees: "Any- 
thing that enriches a child's life has value, and the arts, in 
particular, get through to the soul of a child." ■ 

RoseMcBride is the Anti-Drug A.P. P. L.E. Corps Coordinator 
for the Arizona Commission on the Arts. 

For further information on A. P. P. L.E. Corps, please contact the 
Arizona Commission on the Arts at 417 West Roosevelt Avenue, 
Phoenix, AZ 85003; phone 602-255-5882. 




Voices of Youth 

The Arts and Prevention in Vermont 



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Detail of a mural created by Vermont teens in foster care for 
the waiting room of the State Office of Social and Rehabilita 
rive Services. The mural expresses the sense of isolation the 
teens felt in entering foster care. 



by Elizabeth Lawrence 






"Y 



ou break it, you die," may not sound like a 
personal and artistic breakthrough, but for 
fifteen-year-old Corey from Vermont's ru- 
ral Addison County, it was a strong expression of success 
and pride in his art. For over three months he had 
worked in the ceramic studio of the Frog Hollow State 
Craft Center and destroyed almost everything he cre- 
ated. In uttering these words while presenting his tile for 
a mural project, he indicated his personal investment 
and pride in his work. From then on Corey achieved re- 
markable success. He created a mask, a biographical to- 
tem pole, and a mythical creature that embodied fantasy 
and reality in a sophisticated three-dimensional work. 
This opportunity for Corey and nine other 
high-risk teens was the result of one of the Vermont 
Council on the Arts' (VCA) Voices of Youth projects. 
Entitled Metamorphosis, this project was a collaborative 
effort between Middlebury High School's Alternative 
Education Program, Addison County Counseling Ser- 
vice, and Frog Hollow. For ten months in 1992-93, stu- 
dents met twice a week in the Frog Hollow Studio with 
Henry Tanaka, the resident ceramic artist, who shared 
his experiences and expertise. Ann Russell, a counselor 
from the high school, attended the sessions and observed 
the behavior and personal development of the youth in- 
volved. Metamorphosis was an appropriate name for this 
project, as the youth were transformed both by their 
work in clay and their experience with Henry. 

Corey would say, "It will come out in the 
clay." He was right. Out of his work in clay came re- 
markable creations, a sense of pride, improved self-es- 
teem, and the mastery of new skills. The project con- 
cluded in May of 1 993 with an exhibition at the craft 
center. That fall, Corey was among four former students 
who went to Frog Hollow asking for another workshop, 
and so the project continues. 



Henry Tanaka's desire to work with this 
group of young people at risk of dropping out of school, 
due to drug abuse or the stress of teen parenthood, came 
from his own experience. As a young adult, he discov- 
ered that by working in ceramics he was able to work 
through problems and put the issues he was facing into 
perspective. He was hoping for the same results with his 
students. "Corey came to the first classes exhibiting a lot 
of anger and violent tendencies. He never seemed able to 
complete a piece and he was a very reluctant participant. 
But he was the first student to master throwing on the 
wheel, and he developed remarkable textural skills. As 
much as I'd hoped for this to work, I was quite surprised 
by the dramatic change in his behavior compared with 
his initial attitude. It was quite amazing how the stu- 
dents' newly discovered skills seemed to relate directly to 
their self-confidence." 

Metamorphosis was one of twelve VCA 
Voices of Youth projects funded in 1992 to create part- 
nerships between the arts and human services for at-risk 
youth. The concept emerged from a series of meetings 
held around the state in which the VCA gathered ideas 
for an application to the National Endowment for the 
Arts (NEA). Artists and individuals representing arts or- 
ganizations, state and local human service agencies, drug 
abuse prevention programs, people with disabilities, and 
the Native American Abenaki community discussed the 
problems and needs of a number of populations. At ev- 
ery meeting concerns about the isolation and alienation 
of youth, and the lack of after-school programs for the 
teenage population were raised. 

Jp It Does Happen Here 

^ A 1 990 study by the National Rural Development 
Institute found that rural youth are more likely than 
their city or suburban counterparts to face failure due to 



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involvement with crime, substance abuse, and parental 
neglect. Rufus Chaffee, from the Vermont Office of Al- 
cohol and Drug Abuse Programs, elaborated on this: 
"Vermont's economic and social problems certainly 
threaten the health and well-being of youth. But in rural 
areas, perhaps the greatest contributing factor to the pos- 
sibility of failure for youth is isolation." 

Most of Vermont's residents live on farms or 
in small communities set far apart from one another. 
Mountainous terrain, poverty, extreme weather condi- 
tions, limited services, and lack of transportation con- 
tribute significantly to a real and perceived sense of isola- 
tion. Outside of school, rural youth lack alternatives to 

the television culture. Few, if 

any, music, dance, or visual 
arts programs exist and there 
is little opportunity for the 
youth to explore a sense of 
place and identity. 

Hearing what 
Vermont's citizens were say- 
ing, and recognizing that art and creativity are significant 
resources for preventing failure and increasing opportu- 
nities for at-risk youth, the VCA began to explore ways 
to bring the arts and human services communities to- 
gether. The idea of developing partnerships with human 
service organizations and encouraging the use of artists 
and quality arts programming seemed to be an ideal way 
to use existing resources to help Vermont's youth. 

In 1991 the VCA received funding from the 
NEA to support the Voices of Youth program, to de- 
velop local arts and human services partnerships and 
projects, and to foster long-term cooperation between 
Vermont's arts community and the Agency of Human 
Services. Working closely with the agency's Office of Al- 
cohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Programs, the VCA 



developed a grants program to- provide rural youth with 
opportunities to develop their own artistic voices. 
Funding from the NEA, the VCA, the 
Vermont Office of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention 
Programs, National Life, NYNEX, the Windham Foun- 
dation, and the Josephine Bay Paul and C. Michael Paul 
Foundation, as well as from local businesses and indi- 
viduals has helped support Voices of Youth. Twelve dif- 
ferent projects around Vermont have reached incarcer- 
ated young men; youth in foster care; homeless children; 
youth with disabilities; emotionally, sexually and physi- 
cally abused adolescents; teen parents; and youth in al- 
ternative education programs. 



''You have to have some kind of passion 
in life. There is an excitement with drugs 
and crime, but art provides an excite- 
ment and passion that is positive." 



X* Through Their 



Eyes 

In an effort to document the 
feelings and experiences of 
adolescent participants, and 
create a vehicle for listening to 
the Voices of Youth, the VCA 
conducted a video evaluation of several projects, among 
them Metamorphosis and Voices of Woodside. In each 
the youth received training and guidance from 
videographer Stu McGowan and playwright Dana 
Yeaton on how to use a video camera, conduct inter- 
views, develop scenarios, write scripts, and edit. With 
cameras in hand, the youth created videos that show 
their unique view of the projects. 

In Metamorphosis, the students each took 
turns with the camera and combined many personal in- 
terviews to show how their initial reluctance was re- 
placed by enthusiasm and pride. Two residents of the 
Woodside Juvenile Rehabilitation Center, Vermont's fa- 
cility for juveniles who commit adult crimes, created a 
rap video. Both of these videos give a youth-focused 




This ceramic mask was created by a student in the Metamor- 
phosis program, which resulted from collaboration between 
an alternative high school education program, a county 
counseling service, and a craft center. 





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evaluation of the Voices experience. Because of the 
popularity of music videos, adolescents are familiar with 
the medium of video and the Metamorphosis teens were 
no exception. They were very eager to use the camera 
and gain technical skills, but that wasn't necessarily the 
case with other art forms. 

2S+ CoCo's Voice 

Visual artist Sally Linder, who developed and co- 
ordinated the Voices of Woodside, says, "most at-risk 
youth find it very difficult to do art. They have almost 
no knowledge of art and the doors of creativity are 
closed to them. The first step is to expose them to a vari- 
ety of art forms, but even then they remain frozen on the 
outside because they are afraid of being judged, afraid to 
fail. They have to be coaxed, nurtured, and loved so they 
can gain trust in the artist and discover the creativity in 
themselves." 

Sally and other area artists introduced the 
residents to many art forms: music, photography, paint- 
ing, poetry, video, and movement. Woodside residents 
created individual and collaborative works, including a 
mural on the basketball court, masks, musical tapes, and 
videos. Two residents, Sean and CoCo, created Maxi- 
mum Security, a rap video depicting both a realistic and 
fictitious view of what it's like "inside" Woodside. While 
Sean's sophisticated camera work shows the negative as- 
pects of being incarcerated, the lyrics and the tape as a 
whole are a creative vision of CoCo's experience and the 
consequences of a young life given over to criminal activity. 

"I started dealing when I was 13," says CoCo. 
"Money can buy you success, recognition, and respect. 
You can't always get those things in your family, in 
school, or on the job." 

Steve Coulman, director of Woodside, 
thought the Voices project was successful because the 



arts provide alternatives to destructive patterns and be- 
haviors. "You have to have some kind of passion in life. . 
There is an excitement with drugs and crime, but art 
provides an excitement and passion that is positive." 

Creating Maximum Security gave CoCo a 
whole new avenue for success. Having never written a 
line of poetry, composed music, or performed, he cre- 
ated the storyboard, wrote the rap lyrics, directed, per- 
formed, and edited Maximum Security. 

"My time's too hard, the windows is barred, 
mind is scarred . . . You don't want to join me, you want 
to be free, don't get lost in maximum security." 

Maximum Security had its world premiere 
screening at the 1994 Vermont International Film Festi- 
val and received critical acclaim. CoCo's success is evi- 
dent in the eloquent letter he wrote to Sally after he left 
Woodside. "I've gained positive recognition for my cre- 
ativity and artistic talent through this video. Talent, art, 
and beauty lie within everyone, but [creativity] can go 
unnoticed ... if it is not given a chance to show itself. So, 
again, I thank you for helping me find mine." 

Jp Seeking A Common Language 

The first year of Voices provided valuable lessons 
in combining the arts and human services. Voices of 
Woodside, Metamorphosis, and other projects proved 
the value of the arts in programs for at-risk youth, but 
demonstrated some of the challenges as well. 

It is important to recognize that creating and 
sustaining partnerships between the arts and human ser- 
vices are a process. It takes time, coordination, flexibility, 
and attention to the needs of the various organizations, 
artists, and youth involved. Both partners need to know 
that their organizations and staff have the capacity to 
create and sustain programs, to work cooperatively 
throughout the life of the project, to insure communica- 



tion, and to deal with problems, if and when they arise. 

Through Voices of Woodside the partners 
learned that artists need to be trained to understand the 
population they are working with and the goals and ob- 
jectives of the human service program, and to be aware 
of how arts activities fit into the overall scope of the pro- 
gram. In the Metamorphosis project the partners learned 
that human service providers need to differentiate the 
creative environment from the "therapeutic environ- 
ment," and to understand the nature and value of the 
arts and creative self-expression. 

The value of fostering collaborations between 
the arts and human services and providing youth with 
tools to develop their artistic voices is gaining broader ac- 
ceptance in Vermont. Youth involved in Voices projects 
have presented workshops, and even gave a keynote perfor- 
mance at the annual Governor's Prevention Conference. 

Committed to the idea that the arts and cre- 
ative expression are essential to human growth and de- 
velopment, the VCA, with support from the NEA, is 
continuing Voices by expanding the program to include 
young children and families. The second evolution of 
Voices will strengthen existing partnerships, and initiate 
a training program to improve communication and 
understanding between the arts and human services in 
an effort to promote the use of the arts as a resource 
for prevention. 

"A program like Voices is not something that 
you establish and then expect to run by itself," says 
Nicolette Clarke, executive director of the VCA. "You 
have to take every opportunity to explain the process, 
pay attention to the needs of the artists and human ser- 
vice providers, and support the needs of the youth. It's 
not a concept that is readily understood by hinders, leg- 
islators, or even the human services world, but when you 
show them the results and they actually listen to the 



voices of youth through the art they have created, they 
understand. Voices is better than magic, it works!" ■ 

Elizabeth W. Lawrence is the Voices of Youth program consult- 
ant for the Vermont Council on the Arts and Prevention Unlim- 
ited. She is an artist and cofounder of Green Mountain Preven- 
tion Projects. 

For further information on Voices of Youth, please contact the 
Vermont Council on the Arts at 133 State Street, Drawer 33, 
Montpelier, VT 05633-6001; phone 802-828-3291. 



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Soothing the Aching Heart 
of Young Los Angeles 






Students interview residents of Lincoln Heights in East Los Angeles for a 

video class sponsored by the Summer Arts Recovery Program. 
Photo by Aurelio Jose Barrera 





by Max Benavidez and Kate Vozqff 



When three Los Angeles youths dragged 
truck driver Reginald Denny from his 
big rig in the aftermath of the 1992 
Rodney King trial and beat him almost to death, their 
brutality shocked the nation. Nevertheless the crime ex- 
posed all too clearly the way many residents feel here in 
the City of Angels — that no act of violence is too harsh 
a pay-back for what are perceived as society's inequities. 
As the city cast about for ways to curb or control the vio- 
lent urges that lay just below the surface of its ethnic ur- 
banites, the California Arts Council (CAC) took action 
to rebuild L.A. 

^^ A Pivotal Role for Government Funding 

\ "There was a real concern among everyone in the 
council that we respond to the riots," explains Carol 
Shiftman, director of CAC's Artists-in- Residence Pro- 
gram, which with the National Endowment for the Arts 
(NEA) funded the Summer Recovery Project. "We 
know the incredible power that artists can have in help- 
ing to build self-esteem, and we believe in the difference 
that self-esteem can make in kids' lives. So we thought 
arts programming would be a wonderful and realistic 
way to help." 

The details of the CAC plan were unclear 
in the beginning. The arts council did know that what- 
ever they did would require a director with genuine vi- 
sion. The CAC found that leadership in actress Sheila 
Scott- Wilkinson, who had been involved in other artist 
residencies funded by the council. An acting teacher who 
had run arts workshops for prisons and correctional 
youth facilities, Wilkinson saw the developing program 
as a unique opportunity to use the arts to reach out to 
children in troubled neighborhoods. 

. What she did was create a grass-roots series of 
arts workshops for inner-city youths that employed local 



artists committed to quality work. Within a matter of 
weeks, she had placed seventy artists for up to six weeks 
in workshops geared at kids ages twelve to eighteen. 
From barrios and ghettos all over the city, teenagers 
who'd experienced a lot of gang warfare and crack deals 
took part in workshops on theater, dance, visual arts, 
comedy, music, video production, and creative writing. 

At an improvisational theater workshop, 
project participants were asked to act out and later dis- 
cuss emotionally charged scenarios about family life and 
street dangers. African drumming, mural painting, cho- 
ral music — these only begin to reflect the rich variety of 
classes and workshops that Wilkinson has conceived and 
made happen. 

"The project's goal is really pretty straightfor- 
ward," she argues. "We want to offer high-risk kids a va- 
riety of creative outlets." But Wilkinson resents the sug- 
gestion that the program is just entertainment for a 
bunch of street-smart troublemakers. "This has never 
been arts and crafts," she maintains. "It's about skill 
building." So, participating artists are selected not only 
for the quality of their art but also for their ability to de- 
velop concrete lesson plans. 

One morning, for example, percussionist 
Ramon Ramos led a predominandy African-American 
group of third and fourth graders through a musical per- 
formance of Cocinando. The youngsters learned the 
simple Spanish words and were shown how to use vari- 
ous percussion instruments. Then they took a short writ- 
ten test in which they identified those instruments. "So 
the basic focus is education," Wilkinson stresses, "and 
the end result is that kids improve their self-image, gain 
new confidence, develop learning skills, and wind up do- 
ing better in school." 

"These may sound like small improvements," 
reflects Wilkinson, "but for many of these kids, this is a 



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major shift in life. This program is the first time that 
some of them have seen anything positive about life or 
themselves. Gang violence and fear have made the world 
very, very small for these kids. Literally, five blocks — 
that's the radius of their whole world. Bv taking them to 
exhibitions and performances outside their tinv home 
turf, this program gives them a much broader idea of 
what the world can be. \\ e hope that bv showing them 
something bigger and better, we can give them the im- 
age of a world worth working; for and living in." 

^L** Creative Exchange for Artists 

* \ And Participants 

From the beginning, 
Wilkinson also wanted the 
project to otter a unique op- 
portunity to the participating 
artists. "I wanted the program 

to make artists more complete Q ^ 0[jf Q heritage they can be proud of 

bv bringing them into the 
communitv and having; them 



Based on the Summer Recovery Project's im- 
pressive first year in 1992, it received funding for the 
two subsequent summers, and there's hope that re- 
sources will remain available for the ever expanding un- 
dertaking. To date, the program has served more than 
12,000 LA. youngsters, employed more than 170 art- 
ists, and involved 33 community sites in the workshop 
project. "Everyone's been impressed with what the artists 
have done in an intense post-riot environment," says the 
CAC's Chief of Grant Programs, Juan Carrillo. "For the 
council, the project shows what artists can do. We know 
the power of artists in communities because the council 
has funded artist residencies for over eighteen years." 



'All [kids] see is the street life, and that can 
only teach them to be ashamed of what 
they are. This program is teaching them 



l *L* Nothing Succeeds 



deal directlv with cultures other than their own, ' she 
says. That meant sending them to projects in parts of the 
city that thev didn t know, to work with people they 
fundamentallv didn't understand. 

For example, the African-American storyteller 
Marilvn McConnie and actress Darline Harris taught 
Latino students in the public schools. Similarly, Latino 
drummer Ernesto Salcedo taught the universal language 
of rhythm to African- American teens in the heart of 
South Central Los Angeles. "What s interesting to me," 
Salcedo remarks, "is that here I am. a Latino musician, 
and I'm introducing these kids to an African heritage, 
their awn heritage, that thev don t really know. The hope, 
Salcedo concludes, is that this creative exchange will instill 
more cultural tolerance and respect in everyone involved 



Like Success 

Eager to replicate Wilkinson's 
success, the CAC (again in 
partnership with the NEA) 
has elected to support three 
other youth programs: Cre- 
ative After-School Alternative Program, Long Beach 
Latchkey Project, and Summer Arts Recovery Program. 
These programs offer after-school and/or summer arts 
classes as a wholesome alternative to the violent and 
self-destructive allure of the streets. The Creative After- 
School Alternative Program (CASA) operates in South 
Central Los Angeles, the heart of the city's African- 
American community. 

CASA's executive director is Dr. Maisha 
Hazzard, and she gives credit for her program's very ex- 
istence to Assemblywoman Gwen Moore who, back in 
1991. brought leaders from education and the arts to- 
gether with the GAG to develop a creative way of keep- 
ing good kids out of trouble. "The bottom line is that — 
months before the riots — she knew these kids needed 



help and she believed it was possible to engage them 
with the arts," explains Hazzard. 

Initially, CASA offered its classes at various 
art centers scattered throughout the general area. But, al- 
most immediately, the issue of transportation surfaced as 
a major program obstacle. "Remember that 85 percent 
of these kids are latchkey kids," Hazzard points out. 
"They don't have a parent available to pick them up at 
three p.m. and drive them to even the most wonderful 
after-school program. Their parents are busy trying to 
hold down a job." So in 1993, CASA moved its semi- 
nars and workshops right into the schools. With support 
from the L.A. Unified School District, 520 youngsters 
are enrolled in thirty-nine classes offered by twenty-four 
different community artists. 

Dixie Swift, director for another of the CAC- 
NEA efforts, the Long Beach Latchkey Project, agrees 
that the programs are there to support kids who don't get 
all they need at home. "If a kid's family isn't working 
out," she explains, "then we become a kind of family. If 
that kid needs someone to go to school with him, I go. If 
he needs someone to go with him to the doctor, I go." 

The latchkey project is an interesting testing 
ground for the art-as-intervention concept because it 
serves a community newly in need of such program- 
ming. A good-sized beach city just south of Los Ange- 
les, Long Beach has in recent years become a more di- 
verse community. Suddenly confronted with a signifi- 
cant percentage of African- American, Latino, and Asian 
residents, it must struggle with all the social challenges 
that can go along with ethnic diversity. Still, the com- 
munity does not have a long-standing history of gang 
rivalries or drive-by shootings. If Dixie Swift's program 
can truly attract kids at a time in their lives when they 
might otherwise be drawn into serious trouble, then it 
will say something very promising about the power 






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Sl^ Working with artist Ernesto de la 
\\ Loza, residents of a housing 
project in East Los Angeles paint a 
mural they designed during the Summer 
Arts Recovery Program, created by the 
California Arts Council. 



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of art among youngsters not yet cynical about theit 
life options. 

Ultimately, the project has to be judged by 
the effect it has on its target group. One participant, fif- 
teen-year-old Tom' Flores, says, "I never learned about 
my culture until now. Through the program I gained an 
interest in my culture through art and films about 
Chicano history. I also learned about the Mexican holi- 
day, El Dia de losMuertos (Day of the Dead). That's a 
tradition I did not know about. I hope that in the future 
we have more of these activities so more people can learn 
about their culture." 

Eddie Martinez is an artist working in the 

Long Beach program. He 

feels that cultural identity 
must remain a major focus in 
all these arts projects. "I try to 
teach them about their cul- 
ture," he says with a tone of 
both sadness and hope. "All 
they see is the street life, and 

that can only teach them to 

be ashamed of what they are. 

This program is teaching them about a heritage they can 

be proud of." 

j^ Taking Art Beyond Social Welfare 

^ \ Performance artist/writer Ruben Guevara is 
program director of the Summer Arts Recovery Pro- 
gram, which serves a predominandy Latino population 
in East Los Angeles, Downtown, and Pico-Union. En- 
rolling 300 kids its first year (1993), Guevara reports 
that in its following year 400 youngsters participated in 
workshops on mural making, creative writing, rap mu- 
sic, video production, and photography. Over the course 
of eight summer weeks, various guest artists introduced 



"The gangs in Aliso Village and Pico 

Gardens — housing projects in East Los 

Angeles — had to hammer out a truce in 

order for the classes to take place. 

And they did it." 



the youngsters to performances, lectures, and demon- 
strations in Korean, Indian, African, Aztec, flamenco, 
andfolkld?7CO dance, as well as in gospel music and taiko 
(Japanese drumming) . 

Along with nurturing creative self-expression, 
Guevara's program has taught kids to work through 
some major communitv problems. "For instance, the 
gangs in Aliso Village and Pico Gardens — housing 
projects in East Los Angeles — had to hammer out a 
truce in order for the classes to take place," Guevara ex- 
plains. "And they did it." Even more impressive is that 
the truce has held since the summer of 1993. 

Still, Guevara hesitates to call the program so- 

cial service. In fact, he argues, 

it's art in the most classic 
sense of the word: the means 
toward self-expression. "My 
philosophy has been to let the 
kids interpret their world in 
words and images," he con- 
tinues. As a result, Guevara 
. encourages instructors to see 
themselves more as low-key 
guides than as strict directors. "I believe that the pro- 
gram has to happen on their terms," he argues. "It's up 
to them to say to us, 'This is how we see the world.' If 
you give a kid responsibility for that — for saying what 
he or she feels — then that kid will have a vested interest 
in the quality of their work." 

In their small collection of poetry and prose 
entided Empowering Raza Youth Through the Arts, young 
project participants offer a rendition of a world both ter- 
rifying and tender: 

The neighborhood I live in is very hard 
to live in if you haven't been around long 
enough to get the hang of it. 



Once you do, you come to realize that it 
is not only about hard timing it, but 
about love floating around as well. 

Love from our own mothers who teach 
us right from wrong. Love from the 
people who care about what goes on in our 
neighborhood. 

I wouldn't want to live anywhere else 
but in this run down Ghetto place, but 
hey, I love this Ghetto, 'cause this is 
where my Raza Lives. 

Dixie Swift agrees with Guevara that the 
point of an art program should not be social outreach. 
But she doesn't seem overly concerned with producing 
aesthetically beautiful artwork either. Instead, she sees 
her program as primarily a means to teach culture. "Art 
here is about what you are able to learn about yourself 
and your heritage. We do that through the art process." 

**j^ Final Thoughts 

\ Many good programs ultimately do more good 
than they set out to do, and are a bit different from the 
way they were originally conceived. That seems true of 
these four CAC-NEA projects. "I think we're just at the 
beginning of what this program is going to be," says 
Hazzard about CASA. 

"Obviously, we want to develop emerging 
artists, but we're also eager to encourage supporters of 
the arts. Let's face it: there are children who are not per- 
formers. So we've built a programming component that 
allows them to work on the support and promotion of 
the arts." She pauses to think of an easy explanation, 
"Art as a business, you might say. We teach the kids how 
to do that — show how administrators keep art centers 



going. One of our program centers even has a newsletter, 
and the kids write movie reviews and book reviews. " 

The point, she maintains, is to prepare 
young people for the challenges of the twenty-first cen- 
tury. "That's what this program really offers: a vision of 
the future that includes these kids all grown up into cre- 
ative, productive men and women." 

That's a tall order given the complex and 
competitive future that awaits them. The twenty-first 
century is not likely to pose easy challenges for anyone. 
And the inescapable disadvantages that plague poor mi- 
nority kids make their chances for success that much 
slimmer. Still, it is worthwhile to remember that the fu- 
ture does not happen in large leaps and bounds. It hap- 
pens one step at a time, one small decision after another 
until a life direction begins to emerge for a child as he or 
she becomes first an adolescent and later an adult. These 
four arts programs certainly cannot turn life around for a 
whole community. They have, however, proved to be 
life-changing for the thousands of youngsters who have 
been a part of them. In a simple but very real way, that's 
quite an accomplishment. ■ 

Max Benavidez, an essayist and art critic, is a Contributing 
Writer for the Los Angeles Times. 

Kate Vozoffis a free-lance writer based in Los Angeles who fre- 
quently covers the arts, culture, and health. 

For further information on the California Arts Councils arts pro- 
gramming in South Central Los Angeles, please contact the coun- 
cil at 24 11 Alhambra Boulevard, Sacramento, CA 95817; 
phone 916-227-2550. 



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Creative Entrepreneurs 

The YA/YAs of New Orleans 





Ron Ratliffand Chris Paratore, Jr., working on a mural they designed with other 
YA/YA members for their high school, L.E. Rabouin Career Magnet High School 
in New Orleans. The YA/YAs chose the theme, "Respect for Teenagers," for the 
mural, which depicts the face of a teen in multiple colors reflecting the world's 
many races and cultures. 
Photo by Jana Napoli 



1 




by Claudia Barker 



You are standing on a steamy sidewalk in 
downtown New Orleans, next to a wildly 
painted nineteenth-century townhouse build- 
ing, with your shopping bag in hand and your camera 
poised to shoot. In the doorway are eight legs in various 
shades of rich brown, flexing, bending, and struggling 
under the weight of a large cedar wardrobe. They pause 
for a second, gasp for breath, and consider their options. 
The eight corresponding arms and hands grasp the 
armoire, whimsically painted with black and white jok- 
ers and diamonds, red hearts, and blue clubs, balancing 
it precariously on one end. Heavy breathing, sweat. "I'm 
telling you, it ain't gonna fit through that door. No 
way." "Turn it this way, man!" 

Peeking in the big plate glass window of the 
same building, you see three teenage boys and two teen- 
age girls, all wearing aprons spattered with paint, bend- 
ing over a vast expanse of cloth laid out on a thirty-foot 
table. They are talking excitedly about the design one 
of them has made; a long, black, curved ribbon on a 
white field that undulates like a smooth snake down 
the length of the table, happily embracing white and 
grey ribbons on its way back up. A beautiful piece of 
yardage, you find yourself imagining how it would look 
on your sofa. 

Where are you? You are gallery-hopping in 
New Orleans and you have just stumbled on YA/YA. 
Part design studio, part print workshop, part gallery, 
and part office, Young Aspirations/Young Artists is 
home to twenty-five student artists who come here every 
day to learn how to make a living through creativity. So 
your own kid is sixteen and talented? Wouldn't it be 
great if there was something like this in your city for him 
or her! Well, come in and see what YA/YA does right. 



/J* Environment 

\ • New Orleans, 1987. A sultry, sexy, Southern city 
with a great deal of charm, a balmy climate, wonderful 
food, beautiful music, and one of the worst public 
school systems in the country. The lack of quality educa- 
tion tells on us: every couple of months the Times-Pica- 
yune informs us that we're "first" again — in the num- 
ber of murders per capita, in the number of high school 
dropouts, in the percentage of children living in poverty. 

YA/YA, a six-year-old arts and social service 
organization that trains inner-city youth in the visual 
arts, was founded by New Orleans painter Jana Napoli. 
"I never intended to start an organization," she says and 
admits to knowing nothing about how to run one. But 
for a long time she had noticed the throng of high-en- 
ergy kids that emerged every afternoon from L.E. 
Rabouin Career Magnet High School around the corner 
from her building, and she wanted to find a way to put 
them to work. In addition, she wanted to bring the pri- 
marily African- American students together with the 
mostly white property owners in her neighborhood. 

These teenagers — like most teenagers — are 
incredibly energetic, very quick-minded, perceptive, and 
resourceful. But the fact is that in New Orleans, like in 
most major American cities, these very talented, capable 
individuals are almost all unemployed. 

Students attending L.E. Rabouin Career 
Magnet High School, the only school in New Orleans's 
central business district, were, like most people their age, 
perceived by adults as having limited skills and litde to 
offer employers — at best. At worst, these teenagers were 
seen as potential troublemakers by the property owners 
who flank the school, especially when they emerged en 
masse at three p.m. and pushed their way like a storm 
front to Canal Street and the video game room. Their 
sheer numbers and volume caused most people to cross 



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the street to avoid them, without even thinking about 
how doing this made the students feel. And they did 
feel: YA/YA student Rondell Crier says, "I'd get mad at 
them and I'd think . . . I'm not going to do them noth- 
ing, but they just don't know." 

It is three o'clock in the afternoon. School is 
ending and the students who attend Rabouin, a voca- 
tional-technical high school, are like wound-up springs. 
They blast out of the school building, pent-up energy 
exploding in all directions. Ready. . . set. . . WAIT A 
MINUTE! Where to go? What to do? Shopping? No 
money. Game room? Maybe. Home? Nah. I asked 
Carlos Neville, one of the original eight YA/YA Guild 

members, what made him 

come to YA/YA "There was 
nothing else to do," he said. 
Real simple. Nothing else to do. 

And at first there 
wasn't much at YA/YA. There 
was no organized program at 
the time, no paid staff to wel- 
come and shepherd teenagers, 
no particular bond of trust to 
count on. There was just this 
one lady and her building 

around the corner from school. She simply offered a 
place to go, where they could do something interesting 
and maybe make a little money. And they came. 

iy* Putting Talent to Work 

Jana Napoli found an ally in Madeleine Neske, 
Rabouin's commercial art instructor, and invited forty 
students to draw pictures of all the downtown buildings 
and show them in her gallery. The students came and 
sketched, they had a show in which most of the draw- 
ings sold, and YA/YA was launched. Napoli explained to 



These teenagers — like most teenagers — 
are incredibly energetic, very quick- 
minded, perceptive, and resourceful. 
But the fact is that in New Orleans, like 

in most major American cities, these 

very talented, capable individuals are 

almost all unemployed. 



the National Endowment for the Arts' (NEA) National 
Council on the Arts in August 1994: "Our first show, 
we sold $1,800 worth of fifteen- and twenty-dollar 
drawings in little glass frames, which meant we sold a lot 
of them three or four times. [The students] learned how 
hard it is to reproduce a drawing a third or fourth time." 
At Napoli's urging, the students began paint- 
ing images on secondhand furniture. "I wanted some- 
thing that they couldn't fail with," she says. "It's hard to 
sell a painting on a canvas." What Napoli envisioned as a 
small exhibition in the front hallway quickly became a 
full-scale training operation that occupies about a third 
of her building. Students began coming to YA/YA every 
day after school and on week- 
ends to receive one-on-one in- 
tensive instruction from 
Napoli, Neske, and later on, 
three to four other profes- 
sional artists who teach wood- 
working, design, painting, 
and fabric printing. 

All students who 
attend Rabouin High 
School's commercial art 
" classes are eligible to partici- 
pate in YA/YA. Neske recruits students, who initially are 
given the chance to paint small items, such as YA/YA 
desk ornaments, until they develop the skills to move 
onto larger pieces like furniture or fabric. At any one 
moment in the YA/YA building there are students sitting 
at a big table working on designs for upcoming commis- 
sions, someone cutting sculptural "add-ons" (a distinc- 
tive feature of YA/YA furniture) out of wood, several stu- 
dents painting furniture in the studio, and four or five 
more screen-printing fabric in Print YA/YA, the 
organization's newest enterprise. 



Once a week YA/YA's high school students 
attend group counseling sessions, and all students receive 
rigorous training in the entrepreneurial aspects of run- 
ning an art-related business: sending out press packages, 
talking to clients, pricing commissions, writing artistic 
statements about their work. The key element in making 
YA/YA work is the driving force of its founder, Jana 
Napoli, and several other adult staff members who push, 
prod, and cajole the busy students into producing pro- 
fessional quality work on a consistent basis. 

A chair turns into a yellow cab. Cutout sculp- 
tural flames leap from the seat of another chair that 
Carlos has made into a burning building. A little girl 
rides on a magic carpet, touring the universe, full of 
peace and happiness as guild member Darlene Francis 
makes her dream world come alive on a chair. Dexter 
Stewart, the photographer and filmmaker, paints an ur- 
ban landscape on the round, flat back of a chair, a lone 
dog in the foreground — his vision of stark solitude in a 
busy, big world. YA/YA artwork is successful because it 
mirrors the students' thoughts and feelings. It is full of 
"hot spots," personal imagery that is often intensely dra- 
matic. Jana Napoli sits on the floor with the students 
and pulls the images out of them, looking for what is 
real, what is hot, what will sell. Finding these hot spots and 
expressing them through art is what it means "to YA/YA." 

2j* Making Good 

\ * YA/YA is an experiment whose goal is to prove 
that if given the right tools and a fertile environment, 
motivated students can do extraordinary things. But the 
aspect of the program that makes YA/YA different from 
most programs that benefit youth is that students make 
money doing something they enjoy — making a prod- 
uct they can sell. 

Students, who must be enrolled in high 



school or college in order to participate in YA/YA, earn 
money by selling painted furniture, by creating designs 
for manufacturers and individual clients, by serving as 
art directors on commission jobs, and by being em- 
ployed as YA/YA interns. Guild members, the senior 
students who are most committed to the organization, 
receive a higher percentage of their sales and higher 
wages than the younger apprentices. In all cases, how- 
ever, YA/YA holds on to a percentage of a student's sales 
until he or she enrolls in college. Most YA/YA high 
school students graduate and go to college either locally 
or in some cases to out-of-state schools, such as the 
School of Visual Arts in New York. This year YA/YA 
will see its first guild member graduate from college. 
That student plans to attend graduate school in the field 
of design. 

YA/YA's aim is to prepare the students to 
make a living on their own. "There are no jobs out 
there," Jana Napoli says. What she means is that 
there are very few jobs that allow people to make 
good money using their creativity. But most people 
consider such work a luxury. So why does YA/YA in- 
sist on training students to be entrepreneurs? Because 
the skills needed to be in business for yourself are 
skills that can get you far in life, whether you are 
working for somebody else or not. Those skills in- 
clude talking to a customer and finding out what he 
or she wants, setting a price on your work, making 
sure you get it done on time, and collecting the 
money. YA/YA tries to develop those skills in the stu- 
dents with every job that it does. Gerri Hobdy, assis- 
tant secretary of the Office of Cultural Development 
for the State of Louisiana, applauds the organization: 
"YA/YA is an exemplary program that demonstrates 
the usefulness of the arts in developing job training 
programs for youth. It expands our potential work 



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force for the arts industry while addressing some of 
the problems that plague our urban areas." 

2^ Continuing the Training Cycle 
\ • At YA/YA, college students help train high school 
students, sharing the knowledge they acquire in school 
and through internships that YA/YA helps them to land 
at places like Black Entertainment Television in Wash- 
ington, D.C., Gallery 37 in Chicago, and Swatch, Ltd. 
in Atlanta. In addition to perpetuating the training cycle 
within the organization, YA/YA tries to spread its mis- 
sion outside as well. 

Working with people in other communities to 
help them develop youth-centered arts enterprises is so 
important that for the past four years Philip Morris Com- 
panies Inc. has supported YA/YA's Traveling Exhibition 
and Outreach Program. Jana Napoli envisions YA/YA 
students helping to develop arts enterprises based on the 
YA/YA model in other cities. Napoli told the National 
Council on the Arts: "So now America calls every day, al- 
most every day. It's wonderful, and it's incredibly sad. All 
of those kids who see us on television say, 'Can I come? 
Mama said she'd give me a ticket. Can I come? Can I be a 
YA/YA?' And of course we can't have them." 

So instead of inviting everyone in America to 
"become a YA/YA," YA/YA teaches people "how to 
YA/YA." Most recently YA/YA provided assistance to 
the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission, one of 
several entities that are considering trying to replicate the 
YA/YA model. Napoli tells them selling it to the com- 
munity will be the hard part. 

Community, in this case, includes everyone 
that the project touches: the youth, their parents, the 
buying public, and the people who live in the surround- 
ing neighborhoods where the students might be painting 
a mural or having a show. As difficult as it may be to 



understand, in some cases the community has to be per- 
suaded to buy into the idea that its youth can be valu- 
able contributors to society. The project's product must 
also have mass appeal. In YA/YA's case that product was 
painted furniture, and, most recently, printed fabric. 

2?* From Seed Money to Self-Sufficiency 
I • Initially all of YA/YA's expenses were paid out of 
the pocket of its founder. But within a year and a half of 
its opening YA/YA began to attract both public and cor- 
porate support. Grants from the National Endowment 
for the Arts have supported YA/YA's training operation, 
outreach efforts in other communities, the production of 
a documentary, and, most recently, the creation of a 
book about YA/YA. In addition to helping YA/YA 
spread its mission around the nation and the world, the 
NEA has also teamed up with state and local arts agen- 
cies to help YA/YA become more economically self-suffi- 
cient. Funds from the NEA, the Louisiana Division of 
the Arts, and the Arts Council of New Orleans enabled 
YA/YA to create a business plan and build the small, fab- 
ric-printing workshop called Print YA/YA, which 
opened in September 1993. Its purpose is to generate 
additional earned revenue for the organization, making 
it less dependent on grants and contributions. 

Other major sponsors of the workshop in- 
clude the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Mary 
Reynolds Babcock Foundation, and the Downtown De- 
velopment District (DDD), a nonprofit taxing district 
created to help revitalize downtown New Orleans and to 
help promote its growth. DDD Executive Director Don 
Shea says, "The fantastic work of these young people at 
the YA/YA studio is definitely one of the factors behind 
the growth and success of downtown's arts district. 
Therefore a donation towards expansion and new devel- 
opment at the YA/YA studio is not only an investment 



m 





YA/YA student Shazell Johnson shown with chairs and pillows she painted 
with her own designs. 
Photo by Jana Napoli 









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in our downtown, it is an investment in our future." An 
enterprise that has as its goal to become economically 
self-supporting is very appealing to both private and 
public sponsors. The fact that YA/YA has sold more 
than a quarter of a million dollars in art during its first 
six years of operation is impressive. And involving youth 
in an economic development program teaches them how 
to run a business, how to deal with clients, and how to 
be professionals. The more contact students have with 
paying customers, the more savvy they become about 
satisfying those customers, and the better prepared they 
are to go out and make their living as commercial and 
fine artists. "I wouldn't let anybody get their check till they 

wrote a thank-you note to the 

person who bought their piece," 
says Napoli about paying stu- 
dents for artwork sold. 

YA/YA's ultimate 
goal is for the students to be- 
come part of the organiza- 
tion's board and staff. To this 
end YA/YA has created the YA/YA Committee, com- 
posed of both high school and college students and staff. 
Participation on the committee gives students the experi- 
ence they will need to manage the organization in the fu- 
ture. Napoli believes that YA/YA belongs to the stu- 
dents. "I don't expect to be the head of YA/YA. It's 
theirs," she says. 

2j^ The Importance of Press 
\ * The talent of the YA/YAs has garnered them con- 
tracts to produce artwork for such notable clients as the 
Italian design firm Alessi, the BRAVO Cable Network, 
MTV Networks, and Swatch Ltd., and earned them the 
opportunity to exhibit their work in New York, Paris, 
Tokyo, San Francisco, and many places in between. 



How does all this opportunity come YA/YA's 
way? Early on, Napoli recognized the value of press and 
pursued it with a vengeance. One news story leads to an- 
other, which leads to jobs and contracts to produce art- 
work. 

YA/YA's first show of painted furniture, 
"Storytelling Chifforobes from New Orleans," attracted 
the attention of the local and national press and traveled 
to Lincoln Center in New York, becoming the first of 
many traveling exhibitions of work by the YA/YAs. The 
exhibition featured the YA/YA students painting their 
hopes and dreams on the outside of a wardrobe and their 
fears on the inside. Napoli describes the first encounter 

with the press, "The first 

\/a asa • • i i • show in New York, we sent 

YA/YA is an experiment whose qoal is , j i 

' ~ a out one thousand press pack- 

to prove that if given the right tools and ages. We got three responses. 
a fertile environment, motivated students ° ne of lhem was Metro P olis 

. . . Magazine, which gave a fif- 

Can do extraordinary things. tee n-year-old from the South 

his first review. The second 



was New York Magazine which gave us a half a page, and 
the third was the school that would later give two of the 
YA/YAs scholarships in New York City." 

Publicity is also extremely important in estab- 
lishing credibility. Jana Napoli remembers the reaction 
of Carlos Neville when he first saw his picture in the 
newspaper. He said, "Wow, Miss Naps, how many 
people read the newspaper?" When he heard that over a 
quarter of a million people get the local paper he 
thought about it for a minute, then he said, "How can 
we keep on getting in the newspaper? This is cool!" 

"Cool" translates into motivation for the stu- 
dents to work hard and produce great artwork. Positive 
press attention means more customers, an easier sell to 
funders, and good will from everyone who walks in the 



door. Since 1988 YA/YA has been featured in more than 
sixty publications and twenty television programs. 

/J* Youth Empowered Through Art §■ 

\ • YA/YA' s success is a powerful example of what can m 

happen when art is used as an instrument of social 3 

change. Jane Alexander, chairman of the National En- § 

dowment for the Arts, mentioned YAAA in her speech = 

to congressional freshmen in Washington, D.C., on p 

March 16, 1994: "In New Orleans I visited Young Aspi- ^ 

rations/Young Artists, YAAA. — a truly remarkable pro- \ 

gram that empowers youth to change their lives ... ^ 

They don't all become artists . . . But they all learn the ^ 

skills needed in life through the arts to go out into the 
world and succeed: discipline, self-esteem, collaboration, 
and problem solving." 

Endorsements like this give all of us working 
in creative endeavors effective ammunition to combat 
the notion that the arts are a luxury, a frill to be afforded 
only if there is money to spare. The nurturing of our 
young people's creativity is an urgent, vital part of their 
education. This effort nets the real product that will take 
America into the twenty-first century: an intelligent and 
resourceful nation of energetic young people with fresh 
ideas and the skills to carry them out. ■ 

Claudia Barker is the director of Young Aspirations/Young Art- 
ists, Inc. This chapter is excerpted in part from her forthcoming 
book about the organization. 

For further information on YA/YA, please contact YA/YA at 628 
Baronne Street, New Orleans, LA 701 13; phone 504-529- 
3306. 



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South Carolina's ABC Project 

Making a Difference in Education 



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Artist Catherine Murdaugh works with Allison Brown on a 
pottery vessel as part of the third-grade unit on Native Ameri- 
cans and South Carolina history. 





by Jan Collins Stacker 



At Redcliffe Elementary School in Aiken, 
South Carolina, Melinda Gulick's third 
graders are building a "plant machine." 
Through imaginative sounds and movements supervised 
by drama teacher Katharine Doss, the children act out 
the functions of a plant's root system, stem, and leaves. 
Science class has never been so interesting. 

Nearby, a troupe of fifth graders does ener- 
getic versions of "jumping quickly," "skating slowly," 
and several other combinations of action verbs and ad- 
verbs as dance teacher Beverlee Powell directs. Then the 
youngsters sprawl on the floor to write about "My Fa- 
vorite Day" in their language arts journals, using the 
now-familiar action words. 

Down the hall, Jennifer Hamada's bright- 
eyed students in the gifted and talented class mold clay 
objects and record musical compositions that they will 
later bury at a selected site. The art and music artifacts 
are part of an archaeology class assignment on examining 
history and culture. 

Welcome to South Carolina's Arts in the Ba- 
sic Curriculum (ABC) Project and Target 2000 Arts in 
Education Grant Program, an innovative infusion of arts 
activities in the curriculum. The programs have become 
national models for demonstrating that strong arts edu- 
cation can spark broader education reform, improve aca- 
demic achievement, reach at-risk children who are not 
responding to the old style of education, and generate 
unprecedented excitement about learning among stu- 
dents, teachers, administrators, and parents. 

Funded by the National Endowment for the 
Arts (NEA), the South Carolina Arts Commission, and 
the South Carolina Department of Education, the ABC 
Project is now in its seventh successful year. 

"It's working, and it's working well," says 
Jane V. Slay, the award-winning principal of Redcliffe 



Elementary, one of eight model sites funded by the ABC 
Project. Since the arts infusion program was introduced 
several years ago, this rural school's standardized test 
scores have risen dramatically: between 1990 and 1994, 
the percentage of fourth graders scoring in the highest 
quartile on the nationally recognized Stanford 8 achieve- 
ment test zoomed from 1 9 percent to 33 percent. Con- 
versely, the percentage placing in the lowest quartile 
plummeted from 33 percent to 9 percent. The most dra- 
matic changes occurred with the African- American 
males. The fifth grade scores were similar. "This is a sig- 
nificant shift," says Slay. "There must be something in 
our school curriculum that's causing this difference, and 
we believe it's our arts program." Students and teachers 
love going to school at Redcliffe; an extraordinary energy 
permeates the place. 

fSf The Indispensable Arts 

^ The goal of the ABC Project is to provide quality, 
comprehensive arts education — comparable to instruc- 
tion offered in other basic subjects — for every child in 
every school in the state. The plan's premise is simple: 
the arts are an indispensable part of a complete education. 

The centerpiece of the ABC initiative is the 
use of curriculum frameworks developed by the South 
Carolina Department of Education. The frameworks — 
curriculum guidelines in dance, drama, music, and vi- 
sual arts — are a statewide consensus of what children 
are expected to know and be able to do in the arts. 

"The arts are an important resource that can 
lead toward greater creativity, critical thinking, and 
problem-solving skills — all skills our students will need 
as successful adults in the twenty-first century," says 
State Senator Nikki G. Setzler. Proponents such as 
Setzler also point out that the arts can be a valuable tool 
in keeping disadvantaged and at-risk youth — a growing 



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cadre in many communities across the country — in 
school and away from risky pursuits. "The arts offer for 
disadvantaged children the one area in which they are 
not disadvantaged," Setzler says. "The arts can provide 
these children with ways of achieving success, giving 
them a feeling of pride. The arts are one area in which 
background is not a large determinant of success." 

These considerations led Setzler to spearhead 
passage of legislation that has provided nearly $6.2 mil- 
lion in state funding for arts in education since 1989. 
The ABC story, however, really begins back in 1984, 
when then-Governor (now U.S. Secretary of Education) 
Richard W. Riley engineered passage of South Carolina's 
omnibus Education Improvement Act (EIA), now rec- 
ognized as one of the most far-reaching reform efforts in 
all the fifty states. The EIA concentrated on the basics of 
school improvement, and it was enormously successful. 
But it addressed the arts only in relation to programs for 
gifted and talented students. 

By 1987, the South Carolina Arts Commis- 
sion realized that the state was ready to advance beyond 
the basics. Under the direction of Scott Sanders, former 
executive director of the South Carolina Arts Commis- 
sion and now deputy chairman for partnership at the 
NEA, South Carolina became one of the first sixteen 
states to receive a planning grant from the NEA to de- 
velop a "blueprint" to make the arts basic to the curricu- 
lum for all students. A statewide steering committee — 
composed of educators, artists, civic and legislative 
leaders, cultural and educational institutions, and educa- 
tional and arts associations — developed the plan. 

In 1989 this collaboration resulted in passage 
of Target 2000, a school reform package that empha- 
sizes, among other things, the role of arts education pro- 
grams in achieving higher order thinking skills and cre- 
ativity. Target 2000 provides generous funding for arts 



in the schools. Indeed, despite frugal state budgets, the 
legislature has remained steadfast about arts-in-education 
funding. For the past five years, the South Carolina leg- 
islature has allocated more than $1 million annually for 
this purpose. 

yS* Arts Education in Action 

To date, sixty-five of the state's ninety-one school 
districts have received Target 2000 arts funding. Each 
year, more than 100 sites continue to develop arts educa- 
tion programs and to implement proven processes in arts 
education. For example: 

Ashley River Creative Arts Elementary 
School in Charleston is a magnet school for students 
from varied ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds (40 
percent are minorities). At-risk children, particularly, 
have made large academic gains because of the creative, 
hands-on approach used here, says Jayne Ellicott, assis- 
tant principal. "They learn by doing," she says, "by par- 
ticipating. The creative approach is entertaining, and 
that grabs the attention of at-risk children." It grabs their 
attention so well that last year, Ashley River had an in- 
credible 99 percent attendance rate. "They want to come 
to school even when they're sick," Ellicott says. "At-risk 
kids learn to do things in front of their peers, and they 
learn that they're OK. They are able to compete with 
more advantaged kids because, in the arts, they are no 
longer behind. The creative approach puts them on a 
par with the others." At Ashley River, this creative ap- 
proach permeates all courses. 

Pine Street Elementary School in 
Spartanburg has the popular "Artsploration" program, 
now in its fifth year. Two portable classrooms house the 
drama and dance programs, and parent and student at- 
tendance at arts programs put on by the youngsters is 
consistently high. "We're making great strides in putting 



the arts on a par with other subject areas," says Anne 
Predmore, visual arts teacher. The arts curriculum is 
popular with all the children, but especially so with at- 
risk youngsters and youngsters with disabilities. "They're 
on equal footing with the other kids in the arts, and 
that's nice," Predmore says. "There are no auditions. 
Entrance into the classes in not based on scores. Kids 
feel at home in the arts where they might not feel at 
home in other subject areas, and that's wonderful for 
their self-esteem." Pine Street parents are so supportive 
of Artsploration that they and the PTA supply 60 per- 
cent of the matching grant funds for the artist-in-resi- 
dency component. 

The Wil Lou Gray 
Opportunity School in West 
Columbia is a residential 
school for at-risk youth aged 
fifteen and older. Using Tar- 



the eleventh grader is doing much better in all his aca- 
demic classes. "Now when he doesn't get 100 percent on 
a test, he wants to know why. He always wants to do 
more, and better," Lucas says. 

And there is Redcliffe Elementary School in 
Aiken, where the ABC Program has been integrated 
fully into the curriculum. Drawing on actual case studies 
compiled recently as part of a grant application, Princi- 
pal Jane Slay can give numerous examples of students — 
especially high-risk students — whose lives have been 
transformed by the arts. Clayton,* for instance, was a 
fifth grader who came to Redcliffe three years earlier as a 
street-wise kid from New York City, brimming with 
hostility and anger that 



get 2000 grants specifically 
designed for at-risk young- 
sters, teachers at the school 
created an interdisciplinary 
arts curriculum called "Arts 

Afire"; it is credited with helping nearly all the students 
enrolled in the arts cluster pass the state's exit examina- 
tion in reading and writing. "Their scores are a big im- 
provement from previous years" says Carole Lucas, arts 
coordinator. She talks about Todd,* a youth with emo- 
tional problems who last year disliked school and par- 
ticularly hated library research. Arts Afire classes, such as 
one that used a drama component, seem to have turned 
Todd around. "He loved researching the life of 
Sophocles, the Greek dramatist," says Lucas. "He 
learned that he was very good at memorizing lines, at be- 
ing dramatic, at interpreting and analyzing. His oral and 



// T i . • .. iLi. erupted often and led to re 

I he arts are an important resource that , _ 

1 peated suspensions, but at 

can lead toward greater creativity, 

critical thinking, and problem-solving 

skills — all skills our students will need as 

successful adults in the twenty-first century." 



Redcliffe, Clayton discovered 
that he loved drama and vi- 
sual arts; what's more, he was 
extremely good at both. He 
became an honor roll student 
who "felt good about him- 
self," says Slay. Adds a fifth- 
grade teacher: "I think the arts program made a real dif- 
ference in Clayton's life. I think it saved him." 

There was also Russell,* a second grader who 
had been removed from his abusive parents and put with 
his five siblings in a foster home. Russell was "filled with 
rage and anger and hostility," says Slay. But Russell 
learned that he loved music; he eventually rescheduled 
his weekly psychiatric appointment so that he wouldn't miss 
music class. Russell also discovered dance. "He likes dance," 
said a counselor. "He's a good dancer. That's the way he can 
shine." Russell continued to have behavioral problems, but 
teachers said he threw fewer tantrums and began demanding 



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written communication skills improved a lot." This year, positive attention. His overall school work also improved. 



' These are real students, but their names have been changed to protect their privacy. 



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jS* Broad Impacts 

The arts curriculum framework, adopted by the 
South Carolina State Board of Education in December 
1993, has served as a catalyst for broader school change. 
The ABC Project and Target 2000 programs have also 
helped South Carolinians understand the vital role 
played by arts education. A 1 99 1 survey conducted by 
the University of South Carolina Institute of Public Af- 
fairs indicated that 94.5 percent of South Carolinians 
viewed the arts as an important part of basic education, 
and 76.6 percent favored increased funding to 
strengthen arts education in the public schools. 

An award-winning statewide public relations 

campaign is helping commu- 

nities increase support for the 
promotion of arts education 
and the arts in South Caro- 
lina. Fashioned by Jayne 
Darke, public information di- 
rector for the South Carolina 
Arts Commission, the "In 

South Carolina, Arts Educa- 

tion Means Business" cam- 
paign began in October 1993. It encourages business 
and corporate support of arts education. The campaign 
includes video public service announcements for televi- 
sion, brochures for South Carolina's business commu- 
nity, and informational posters and bumper stickers for 
South Carolina educators and schools. 

2f+ Future Plans 

Over the next two years, educators and adminis- 
trators will focus on documenting and quantifying the 
impact of the ABC Project and Target 2000 grants on 
South Carolina students. "It's difficult to prove to 
people that the arts work," says Ray Doughty, a profes- 



sor of music and director of the ABC Project Office. 
"The American way has always been that the arts are 
only for the gifted and talented. The arts have always been 
the 'F' word: it's a frill." 

Doughty knows that's not true; he fields two 
or three inquiries a week from other school districts and 
states wanting to start their own ABC-type programs. 
The teachers and principals at the South Carolina 
schools lucky enough to have received special arts fund- 
ing since 1987 also know the impact the arts infusion 
has had on their schools. "I'm here to tell you that we're 
on the map," says Redcliffe's Jane Slay. "Parents want 
their kids to come here now." 
___ But to come up 



jj-r\ • i r i- i . n with hard data, several special 

I he arts can provide [disadvantaged! _- cc . 

■ " errorts to assess effectiveness 

children With Ways of achieving SUCCeSS, f programs are planned for 

giving them a feeling of pride. The arts 199 5 ^d 1996. These efforts 

■ . , i ■ . . will include: (1) documenting 

are one area in which backqround is „ . • . ,^ n 

° annually the eight Ar3C 

not a large determinant of success." model sites programs, to in- 

elude qualitative and quanti- 
tative information on pro- 
gram developments; (2) reviewing the results of research 
grants that were awarded in 1 993 to study the effects of 
enhanced arts curriculum on general student perfor- 
mance at two ABC model sites and to conduct a state- 
wide arts education survey for South Carolina; (3) creat- 
ing an ABC Steering Committee special subcommittee 
for program evaluation; (4) forming a special Arts As- 
sessment Task Force; (5) hiring an outside evaluator to 
assess the role of artists in residence and to recommend how 
to enhance the ways such artists can be used in the schools. 

A study currendy under way in Beaufort 
County is looking at test scores and dropout rates, and 
whether arts education makes a provable difference in 



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these areas. Teachers and principals are convinced it 

does; leveling the playing field through the arts increases 

self-esteem and reduces the stresses and risks for cf 

children who might otherwise get discouraged and ^ 

drop out of school. Q 

"Legislators understand the importance of the 
arts as a basic part of education," says Len Marini, direc- 
tor of research for South Carolina's Joint Legislative 9? 
Committee on Cultural Affairs. "They also understand 7 
the importance of the arts to their constituents." g 

But funding is the key. "Everything comes 5 

down to money," says Rep. Mike Jaskwhich, a South zr 

Carolina legislator who is a staunch supporter of the ^ 

arts and chairman of the ABC Steering Committee. 3 

And arts education is a fragile item, especially when bud- ^ 

gets are tight. g 

Still, South Carolina's arts education pro- 5 

m 

grams have demonstrated graphically the value of the 2~ 

arts in helping all children — at-risk, handicapped, aver- §■. 

age, and gifted — thrive. The power of arts in education 
is especially notable with at-risk youth: the arts are help- 
ing many of these children transcend the limits of their 
environment, feel good about themselves, and stay in 
school. South Carolina's success in motivating all types 
of children through the arts — but especially in reclaim- 
ing many of its troubled young people — is an emphatic 
reason for other states to do likewise. ■ 

Jan Collins Stucker is a free-lance writer and editor based in Co- 
lumbia, South Carolina. She is a former education reporter and 
has written extensively about the arts. 

For further information on South Carolina's ABC Project, please 
contact the South Carolina Arts Commission at 1800 Gervais 
Street, Columbia, SC 29201; phone 803-734-8696. 



3 



Denver's Neighborhood 
Cultures 







Youth Coordinator Ricardo Vega and some members of 
the Fathers and Sons Group, an ongoing program of the 
Denver Inner City Parish, stand before a mural painted 
by the group with the help of artist Carlos Fresquez. 




by TomAuer 



Like many large ciries, Denver is a mosaic of 
neighborhoods and cultures. Neighborhood 
boundaries are not always clear, and some com- 
munities seem almost invisible, forgotten by city admin- 
istrators and adjoining communities. Many of these in- 
visible communities are straining under the pressures of 
poverty, unemployment, high dropout rates, and a lack 
of health resources. Crime, drug use, and street gangs 
operate in these shadows and force children to live in 
unhealthy and dangerous environments. 

j^ New Identity for Denver's 
* Forgotten Neighborhoods 

In Denver, a pilot grant program called Neighborhood 
Cultures of Denver (NCD) is combating some of these 
ills by using arts projects to promote cultural awareness 
and improve neighborhood identity. Developed 
collaboratively by the Colorado Council on the Arts 
with city and federal support and the advice and guid- 
ance of citizens, politicians, artists, and arts organiza- 
tions, NCD has demonstrated that the arts can 
strengthen the fabric of a community and make it a bet- 
ter place in which to grow up. 

Marvo Ewell, the director of Community 

* J 

Programs for the Colorado Council on the Arts, points 
out, "sharing a common place bonds people in a special 
way. Neighborhood Cultures of Denver acknowledges 
this bond." "Much of Denver's energy comes from the 
vitality of its neighborhoods," continues Tim Sandos, 
Denver's city councilman- at-large and the original chair- 
man of Neighborhood Cultures of Denver. "NCD is a 
unique collaboration that brings arts to neighborhoods 
as a tool to celebrate strengths and diversitv while find- 

O J 

ing solutions to community issues." 



>t^ Timing, Planning, Cooperating, 
*\ And Collaborating 

The roots of the Neighborhood Cultures of Denver pro- 
gram go back to a cultural planning document called 
"Cultural Denver," which was adopted by the Denver 
Planning Board as a part of Denver's Comprehensive 
Plan. The Cultural Denver document was adopted just 
as the National Endowment for the Arts made funds 
available to state arts agencies for projects in underserved 
areas. At the same time, the Colorado Council on the 
Arts (CCA) made a long-term commitment to work 
more closely with urban neighborhoods. Support from 
the Colorado Council on the Arts, the National Endow- 
ment for the Arts, and the Denver Mayor's Office of 
Art, Culture and Film were combined to make Cultural 
Denver a reality. A project steering committee, chaired 
by Tim Sandos, included representatives of the Denver 
Planning Office, artists, and neighborhood activists. 

In 1991, eight Denver neighborhood out- 
reach meetings took place throughout the city — in 
churches, schools, and community centers. In 1 992, the 
first year of grant making, forty-four applications were 
received and grants were distributed to thirteen neigh- 
borhood groups. Over the next two years, approximately 
twenty more neighborhood organizations received grants 
for their communities. Successful proposals were those 
that made a powerful case for the project's importance to 
the neighborhood, showed that residents designed the 
program with artists as facilitators, and projected both 
artistically exciting and socially important outcomes. 

**j^ Programs Reflect Neighborhood Cultures 

' \ On the west side of Denver, the Mulroy commu- 
nity is considered a high-risk area because of poverty 
and a high dropout rate among school children. Its 



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population is primarily Hispanic, with sizeable Native 
American and African-American groups. 

The Mulroy Neighborhood Center, across 
the street from a large public housing project, provides 
services for all age groups, with an emphasis on pro- 
grams for children and youth. With a grant from NCD 
and assistance from Catholic Community Services, 
neighbors designed a yearlong folk arts program to pro- 
mote cultural awareness and education. 

Anna Totta, program director of the Mulroy 
Neighborhood Center, explains that the folk arts pro- 
gram tries to broaden the children's experience, and to 
build confidence in their ability to function in different 

surroundings and to relate 

better to people of all cultures. 
"There are a couple of pre- 
mises that the program is built 
on," she says. "First, children 
must have a positive self-im- 
age about who they are and 
where they come from. They 

should also learn to appreciate 

other cultures. Second, chil- 
dren who are of school age should be able to learn to fo- 
cus on a skill and master that skill as much as possible. 
We're trying to both improve their self-esteem and de- 
velop their abilities to focus and learn." 

The Mulroy folk arts program included three 
separate sets of activities for children ages five to twelve 
that took place over the course of a year. The first was a 
sixteen-week program devoted to Native American cul- 
ture in which the children created artwork based on Na- 
tive American designs, including beaded work, drawings, 
and totem poles. Creative writing exercises helped to ex- 
pand their knowledge of the culture. And Calvin Stand- 
ing Bear, a Lakota Rosebud Sioux, taught the kids how 



'Neighborhood Cultures of Denver is a 

unique collaboration that brings arts to 

neighborhoods as a tool to celebrate 

strengths and diversity while finding 

solutions to community issues." 



to play Native American flute, meeting twicp a week 
with twenty-six students. The program stimulated so 
much interest that Standing Bear is now offering the 
children Native American drum lessons. 

The next section of the folk arts program was 
a thirteen-week course on colonial New Mexican folk 
dancing taught by Marie O. Trujillo, who had learned 
the dances from her parents and grandparents. The 
dances are simple ones, Trujillo explains, that depict the 
everyday lives of the conquistadors and the colonists 
who lived in northern New Mexico many years ago — 
the La Cuna or cradle dance; the vaqueiv, which means cow- 
boy, and the European "waltz of the scarf," a wedding 

march. "Music and dancing are 

good therapy for everyone," 
says Trujillo. "Dancing is a so- 
cial activity that can help chil- 
dren get along. The children 
help each other in class." 

The final section 
of the folk arts program fo- 

cused on African-American 

culture. Like the first two seg- 
ments, it included lessons in history, culture, art, and 
music (African-American drumming). Each of these 
three sections culminated in a public presentation for the 
entire community. The Mulroy Neighborhood Center 
estimates that more than 1,200 people, including students, 
teachers, parents, neighbors, and audience members, partici- 
pated in some way in the neighborhood folk arts program. 



* 



A Welcome Arch, Personal Icons, and a 
Memorial Garden 

Elyria, northwest of downtown Denver in a primarily 
industrial area, is mosdy Hispanic with some older 



residents of Eastern European ancestry. The Elyria 
Neighborhood Association decided to create a large 
work of art honoring the cultures in their neighborhood, 
which they described as "invisible" to the rest of the city. 
A major highway — interstate 70 — literally passes over, 
and thus avoids, the Elyria community. The group de- 
signed and constructed a giant, colorful Welcome Arch 
for visitors to their neighborhood. More than seventy- 
five Elyria residents, young and old, built the sixteen- 
foot arch made from eighteen four-by-four-foot panels 
that depict the history and culture of the area. 

"This project profoundly touched my life," 
said the Reverend Kathy Mitchell, an Elyria neighbor- 
hood leader. "To see our 
older residents working with 
teenagers and preschoolers 



come to the library and say, 'That's my tile, that's my 
symbol, that's important to me.' And yet, it all works to- 
gether as a piece of art because there was uniformity in 
the way it was executed." The mural is now a permanent 
fixture outside the library. 

"Community-building is the soul of the NCD 
program," says Rose. "The heart of it is seen when people 
in a community work together — choosing a design, 
picking a theme,™ and then executing it. NCD has al- 
lowed that to occur. But most important, the people who 
did [this mural] have a permanent tie to their neighbor- 
hood library and a sense of ownership." 

Gloria Leyba, now the chair of the NCD 
steering committee, recalls an 



was nothing short of a 
miracle. The focus was no 
longer age, ethnicity, lan- 
guage, or gender. The focus 
was neighborhood." 

The Barnum/Westwood neighborhood is a 
low-income neighborhood, primarily Hispanic, but with 
a relatively new population of Vietnamese and other 
Asian cultures. This influx of new immigrants has caused 
some friction. The Ross/Barnum Library, with the help 
of artist and community organizer Barry Rose, decided 
to construct a bronze tile mural at the library. The artist 
sought out people from all of the neighborhood's cul- 
tural groups to create it. 

The theme of the mural was personal icons. 
Neighbors designed and constructed thirty-six individual 
six-inch-square bronze tiles. They chose symbols of some 
personal significance, drawing on books, education, fam- 
ily, and art. "Individuals were free to express themselves 
within the whole," said Rose, "and now, each person can 



symbol, that's important tome/" 



// A i i ,i NCD program designed for 

And now. each person can come to the r f , «« w , 

1 teenage fathers. We know 

library and say, 'That's my tile, that's my that there's quite a vacuum as 

far as programs that work 
with young men. So a pro- 
gram was put together by the 
Denver Inner-City Parish, and it resulted in several 
projects. One was a historical mural that allowed the 
young men, primarily Hispanic boys, to get into their 
personal histories, their roots, to gain a sense of self. In 
another project they wrote poetry about parenting. Some 
wrote about being single fathers. 

"The significance of the program, as I see it, is 
the impact it had on their lives and surroundings," Leyba 
continues. "They had interviews and discussions with se- 
nior citizens. They were able to look to the elders of the 
community to get more of a sense of parenting and fam- 
ily. Sometimes these young people don't have that kind 
of relationship with their own parents. 

"The project is finished now, but it has prob- 
ably had some impact on how these young people look at 
families and how thev see the role of the father in the 



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family. They were also able to share that knowledge with 
their own children, as well as other elementary school kids." 

Just getting underway at the end of 1994 is 
the development of Memorial Garden, which will trans- 
form a vacant lot in northwest Denver into a commu- 
nity park. The idea came from Parents for Peace, a 
neighborhood organization whose primary purpose is to 
fight gang violence. The Memorial Garden will include 
a community vegetable garden, seating areas, flower gar- 
dens, an Aztec dance and game court, a neighborhood 
plaza, and a basketball court. Neighborhood artists, local 
activists, gardeners, mentors, and other leaders will assist 
in the planning and implementation of the project, a 
memorial to peace in a neighborhood literally under the 
gun of gang violence and street crime. 

^JS The Power of Art and Communication 

~ \ Fabby Hillyard, of the Mayor's Office of Arts, 
Culture and Film, likes the way NCD has developed by 
learning from the communities. "Neighborhoods have 
the ability to define and describe themselves artistically 
from the inside out, not the outside in. We keep learn- 
ing more about what communities need, and we put it 
back into the program. 

"NCD [gives] neighborhoods and communi- 
ties . . . the opportunity, using the arts, to celebrate, to 
address issues, to go for more overt neighborhood identi- 
fication," Hillyard says. "It's their project. They design 
it, plan it, implement it, use artists as technical resource 
people, but they [work as] a team." 

Cyndy M-A Medeiros, the NCD program 
director who works under the auspices of the Colorado 
Center for Community Development (a program of the 
University of Colorado at Denver), continues to refine 
the program and streamline the process, making the pro- 
cess clearer for neighborhoods to access funding. She 



hopes to expand the program into other parts of the 
metropolitan area and eventually across the entire state. 

"What makes our organization unique," she 
says, "is that we're not just providing funds for a sculp- 
ture or a painting. We're providing funds for a creative 
neighborhood planning process. It's not only the mural 
that people will remember. They will remember the 
bonding that occurred over the three or four months 
when people came together with their special talents to 
make a project happen." As a result of that bonding, the 
NCD steering committee hopes that the neighborhoods' 
residents can continue to move forward in a spirit of 
unity, self-confidence, and creativity to address commu- 
nity problems. 

In addition, the NCD program now allows 
individual artists to apply for funding, provided they 
have a community partner. "Traditionally," Medeiros 
says, "the neighborhood organization would come up 
with the idea and then would have to find an artist. 
Now artists can say, 'I have something I can give to the 
community,' and find a neighborhood organization to 
work with them." 

The greatest benefits of the program, she says, 
are "the relationships that are built as a result of the 
projects. Residents get more involved with their own 
neighborhood organizations, they learn more about their 
communities and meet neighbors they've never met be- 
fore. They become empowered by the process. Because 
this funding process is similar to many others, they also 
learn what it takes to obtain financial support to im- 
prove their neighborhood." 

Medeiros also notes that, "it's great to see 
people discover the artist within themselves. In some 
programs we have parents doing projects with their chil- 
dren. To see that growth in imagination and to observe 
the reinforcement of family ties is a great benefit." 



^ The Future of NCD 

^ \ The initial funding for this program ended in De- 
cember of 1994, but it is expected to continue. The 5 
Colorado Council on the Arts and the Denver Mayor's ? 
Office of Art, Culture and Film are working together z 
and with other neighborhood groups to ensure that c5' 
NCD can carry on. They have seen how underserved o" 
communities have enriched themselves with the help of o 
artists and neighborhood organizations. The Mayor's 



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Office of Arts, Culture and Film plans to maintain its §r 



commitment to NCD. "We would love to find a partner 
who would raise the pool," says Hillyard, "but even if we 
don't, we'll do it anyway." 

What strikes CCA Executive Director Bar- 
bara Neal most about the program is how different 
funding partners pulled together to make it happen. 
"The cooperation between the NEA, the state arts coun- 
cil, and the Mayor's Office on Art, Culture and Film," 
she notes, "is a unique partnership. And it is something 
that we need to look at more closely in the future. Each 
one of these entities has the same degree of commitment 
to arts development on one of the smallest local levels, 
which is the neighborhood." ■ 

Tom Auer is the publisher of The Bloomsbury Review, a "book 
magazine" distributed nationally from Denver. He was also the 
Colorado coordinator for the Tumblewords: Writers Rolling the 
West program, which sponsored literary presentations in under- 
served areas of eight western states. 

For further information on Neighborhood Cultures of Denver, 
please contact the Colorado Council on the Arts at 750 Pennsyl- 
vania Street, Denver, CO 80203-3699; phone 303-894-2617. 



Working Their Way 
nto the Arts 





Miguel Almestica demonstrating the Puerto Rican pandereta to students at 
William Davies Career and Technical High School for the folk arts component 
of Arts Talk. 

Photo by Winnie Lambrecht 








by John Pantalone 



Think back to your high school encounter with 
Shakespeare. Sitting in a classroom reading 
from a book wasn't what the Bard had in 
mind. If you were lucky you had a chance to see a live 
production, but even then you couldn't understand the 
language or summon enough excitement to see more on 
your own, could you? 

Now consider the experience of the students 
from Rhode Island's William Davies Career and Techni- 
cal High School who, through the Rhode Island State 
Council on the Arts' Arts Talk Program, had the good 
fortune of getting under Macbeth's skin at Providence's 
Trinity Repertory Company, a Tony Award-winning re- 
gional theatre. Before they were done with Shakespeare's 
classic tragedy about ambition, intrigue, and murder, 
students in the program had visited backstage with set 
designers, carpenters, costume makers, and lighting ex- 
perts. They met the actors and the director, and their 
special visit with Macbeth inspired them to design and 
silkscreen T-shirts for the play. 

The chance to see the language of 
Shakespeare come alive made all the difference for the 
Davies students, and the opportunity to spend time with 
technical staff at the theatre opened their eyes to the pos- 
sibility of careers in live theatre, something none of them 
had considered before. 

2j* Reaching a New Group of Students 

» Arts Talk, developed under the auspices of the 
Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA), is now 
in its fifth year at Davies High School. The basic con- 
cept, says RISCA's Arts in Education Coordinator 
Sherilyn Brown, is to give technical students a broader 
learning base and, more fundamentally, to help them 
improve their communication skills. "In the late 1980s 
we were looking at ways to reach school populations — 



underserved populations — with our programming," 
Brown explains. "All our education efforts were being 
tied to the state's literacy initiative. We began to con- 
ceive of the arts as languages and communication, and 
we thought it made sense to do this with vocational/ 
technical students." 

Davies is a state-run school in the Blackstone 
Valley region of Rhode Island, considered the birthplace 
of the Industrial Revolution in America. Once a leader 
in manufacturing, the area has struggled since the 1950s 
to recover from a dwindling economic base. Of Davies's 
700 students, 88 percent have been identified as aca- 
demically disadvantaged. In addition, 35 percent are 
considered economically disadvantaged, and 53 percent 
have special needs of some kind. A growing number of 
students from immigrant families — Hispanic, Asian, 
and Portuguese — enter the school with limited profi- 
ciency in English, and demographic data suggests the 
number will continue to rise. 

Arts Talk gives technical and career students, 
who rarely interact with the arts in school, opportunities 
to interact with professional actors, musicians, dancers, 
designers, curators, and others from some of their state's 
most prestigious cultural institutions. William Foley and 
Beverly Lembo, the Davies teachers who have guided the 
program since its inception, work in close consultation 
with Rhode Island's regionally and nationally recognized 
cultural institutions — the centerpiece of Arts Talk. 
They integrate the arts with the subject matter being studied 
at the time in the English and social studies classes. 

For instance, in their sophomore year, the 
Arts Talk students studied the period of American his- 
tory from 1865 to 1900, and in their English class read 
Dances With Wolves. During the same period they visited 
the Museum of Art at the Rhode Island School of De- 
sign (RISD) to view Native American artifacts. A 



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medicine woman from the Narragansett Indian tribe vis- 
ited them at the school and a Native American dance 
troupe performed for them, so they learned about an- 
other culture in several different ways. 

When the class was studying immigration in 
social studies class and reading British literature in En- 
glish class, Trinity Rep was staging a production of 
Twelfth Night with the story set in the early twentieth 
century. The students read the play and did background 
research on it before visiting the theatre, and the techni- 
cal students each hooked up with specialists in their areas 
of vocational study, from electronics to costuming to 
graphic arts. 

The coordinators 

at the various cultural institu- 
tions make every effort to de- 
velop interesting experiences 
for the students that relate to 
the subjects they're studying. 
According to David Stark, the 
education coordinator at the 
RISD Museum of Art, "We 
have tried hard to connect our 
exhibits and items from our collection to the general 
subjects the students are studying. For instance, we re- 
lated a Picasso exhibit and cubism to African art when 
they were studying Africa. They toured our African Gal- 
lery and were able to study the masks, objects, and arti- 
facts first-hand." Following their visit, a RISD arts in- 
structor taught them how to create collages. 

Stark introduced a graphic arts and design 
component into Arts Talk in the fourth year of the pro- 
gram, and this year the students are going to embark on 
a major project that will incorporate graphic arts with 
many other elements. As Foley explains it, the students 
will be working on a science fiction theme by reading 



Fahrenheit 451 for English class, creating their own illus- 
trations for the story, and producing a half-hour radio 
program. Electronics students will develop devices that 
will be used in the radio show. The students will also at- 
tend a play with a science fiction theme, study mummies 
in the RISD Museum of Art, work on sound effects 
with folk musicians, and hear the Rhode Island Philhar- 
monic perform a program called "Salute to Flying Objects." 



fr 



"The dropout rate at our school was 

about 12 percent overall when we 

started this program. After two years the they are studying 

dropout rate among the Arts Talk 

students was zero." 



Opening Up New Worlds 

"Without question the biggest impact of this pro- 
gram has been in the self-esteem of these students," says 
Foley. "They have responded because the program has 

introduced them to a whole 

new world . . . and the pro- 
gram has related that new 
world to the technical fields 

The 
kids studying graphic arts 
have worked with designers at 
Trinity Rep and graphics ex- 

perts at RISD. Kids who are 

interested in electrical work 
have seen what it takes to set up lighting and special ef- 
fects on a stage." 

"Most of these kids had never attended a play 
or visited a museum [before this program]," says 
RISCA's Brown. "The program has taught them how to 
be an audience, how to behave at the theatre or in a mu- 
seum. And in the process they've discovered that art 
forms they might have thought were elitist or difficult 
are quite accessible." 

"I'm not surprised at the positive effect this 
has had on the students," says David Gasper, education 
director at the Rhode Island Philharmonic. "They are 
like any other potential audience. If they are given the 






Narragansett artist Ella Sekatau demonstrating regalia making to Arts 

Talk students. 

Photo by Winnie Lambrecht 






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attention they need and the material is presented in a 
way that involves them . . . they'll respond." 

Gasper continues, "For them to appreciate 
classical music, they have to understand some of its lan- 
guage just like anyone else. We gave them the opportu- 
nity and the environment to appreciate it, and they re- 
sponded. It's an accomplishment to get any high school 
student to appreciate an abstract art like music, especially 
when vou consider that they are weaned on popular cul- 
ture and the superficial, short-term rewards it provides." 

Peg Melozzi, Trinity Rep's education direc- 
tor, spoke of a telling moment that occurred during a 
performance of Twelfth Night, where there were 500 
high school students in the audience. "I noticed this 
pocket of beautifully behaved, in-tune, perceptive kids. 
Thevwere the kids from Davies. Thev were focused. 
They knew the plav. Thev behaved the way vou hope an 
audience will behave." 

Melozzi continues, "The difference with the 
Davies kids, I'm sure, was that they knew the actors, and 
they knew how the set was built and how the lighting 
was done. They were in tune with the whole production, 
and thevwere intensely interested in it." 

2j* Positive Effects 

\ ' "After the first year of the program you couldn't 
tell the difference between the special needs students and 
the regular classroom students by behavior or by test 
scores," according to Lembo. "The dropout rate at our 
school was about 12 percent overall when we started this 
program. After two years the dropout rate among the 
Arts Talk students was zero.' 

Lembo tells of a student who graduated last 
spring and joined the Marine Corps, barely a year after 
she had been having terrible trouble in school. The 
teacher believes that Arts Talk prevented her from 



leaving school. "She was living in a group hbme and she 
didn't care about school or anything, really," says 
Lembo.. "Then at one of the Arts Talk programs on Na- 
tive American culture she seemed to perk up. Her father 
had a Native American background, and she seemed 
very interested in learning more. Pretty soon she was 
stud}ing it on her own and doing a lot of related art- 
work. She began to write poetry, her whole attitude im- 
proved and her attentiveness in school got so much better." 

The folk arts elements of the program had a 
special influence on many of the students, says Winnie 
Lambrecht, folk arts coordinator for RISCA. "Many of 
them are from immigrant backgrounds or are irnrni- 
grants themselves, so it touches them personal!}' to know 
that their cultural background is valued in an educa- 
tional setting, because they seldom see it valued in the 
mainstream." 

Another special attraction of Arts Talk is the 
opportunity for students to meet and get to know pro- 
fessionals in the arts. Last spring, for instance, students 
sat on the 1940s nightclub set of Trinity Rep's produc- 
tion of Lady Day at the Emerson Bar and Grille listening 
to Rose Weaver, the show's star and a veteran of over 
two decades of stage, film, and television acting and 
singing. The students sat rapt as Weaver talked to them 
not just about Billie Holiday and her tragic life and artis- 
tic genius, but also shared with them her own life as an 
actor and mother of two children. Just as Billie Holiday 
came alive for them on stage, Rose Weaver became a real 
person for them too. 

2j^ From Arts Talk to Arts Workers 

\ Through Arts Talk students became interested in 
careers in the arts that fit the technical fields they were 
studying. Recognizing the students' new career interests, 
RISCA's Brown and the Davies teachers realized that no 



follow-up opportunities for apprenticeships or intern- 
ships were available. So they created a companion pro- 
gram called Arts Workers, which was implemented in 
the 1993-94 school year with the help of a grant from 
the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Arts 
Workers places high school seniors in internships with 
arts organizations, where they gain a unique inside per- 
spective on the arts while practicing their vocational 
skills. The NEA grant helps provide salaries for the students, 
and fees to arts organizations for training and supervision. 

For one student, Jesse Mercer, it has already 
paid off. After he and another electronics student, Chris 
Lebrecque, did a summer apprenticeship with the 
Everett Dance Theatre, Jesse was offered a part-time job 
operating the dance company's lights at its new theatre. 
"I really wasn't interested in [working in] theatre or 
dance before I did the internship," Jesse said. "[But] 
working there got my attention. I realize it's a serious re- 
sponsibility, and I look forward to going there to work." 

Jesse and Chris provided considerable help in 
converting a 1910 carriage house into an intimate dance 
theatre for Everett, says one of the dance company's 
principals, Aaron Jungels. "They helped pull all the elec- 
trical service, bent electrical pipe, and ran and hooked up 
conduits throughout the building. . . They came pre- 
pared to work and they knew what they were doing. 
They have good attitudes and sufficient skills, so we 
could leave them on their own to complete the job." 

Jesse says he'd like to work as a lighting de- 
signer and operator full-time someday, and that's exactly 
what Foley, Lembo, and Brown were hoping would 
happen when they started Arts Workers. "It's been a ter- 
rific outgrowth," says Foley. "All of it helps the kids with 
creative thinking, analysis, problem-solving, and com- 
munication, which are stressed in Arts Talk as well. 
These are the major goals being identified in education 



reform nationwide. As someone who knew nothing 
about arts education before these programs began, I can 
tell you I am convinced this is the way to go in the future." 

2|* Future Plans for Arts Talk 

* Foley and Lembo have written an arts education 
curriculum for high school sophomores, which they 
hope will be adopted at the school. Their goal is to inte- 
grate Arts Talk with the English classes in grades ten and 
eleven, and to coordinate the Arts Talk experiences with 
English and social studies in the senior year. 

RISCA's Brown, who plans to do more 
evaluation of Arts Talk to see how it can be improved 
and expanded, says she also wants to track graduates 
who have gone through the program to see what impact 
it has had on them and their careers. She's hopeful that 
Goals 2000 educational reform initiatives will encourage 
more funding for arts education, and she thinks that 
Arts Talk "can be a model for other schools. We'd love 
to see it in every high school in Rhode Island." ■ 

John Pantalone is the editor-in-chief of Newport This Week, a 
community news and arts weekly in Newport, Rhode Island. He 
has written extensively on the arts in Rhode Island. 

For further information on Arts Talk and Arts Workers, please 
contact the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts at 95 Cedar 
Street, Suite 103, Providence, RI 02903-1034; phone 401- 
277-3880. 



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he Family Arts Agenda 

A Lighthouse for Rough Waters 







Lynna Muschlitz works with Alex Lawson at Family Arts Festival, building 

a human size "nest" of willow. 
Photo by Nancy Jane Reid 





by Romalyn Tilghman 



As you drive up to the Performing Arts Cen- 
ter in Newport, Oregon, the home of the 
Family Arts Agenda, you know you're in an 
idyllic place. The crashing Pacific Ocean waves fill your 
ears, and, if you look past the building, you can see for- 
ever. There may be a whale spouting or a fishing boat on 
the water, but chances are you are looking at as much 
horizon as you'll ever see. The Oregon Coast is the kind 
of place that attracts artists, writers, naturalists, and tour- 
ists. It's the kind of place where you want to stay because 
you feel as if there could be no troubles here. 

What is less apparent at first glance is that the 
Performing Arts Center sits in a county that is distressed 
in a number of different ways. Newport is a town of 
9,000 people, and is in Lincoln County, population 
36,000. Newport has counted on tourism, fishing, and 
timber for its economic survival. Tourism is still thriving 
but its jobs don't pay very well. Fishing and timber are 
threatened by environmental concerns and diminishing 
resources. These economic challenges have contributed 
to the highest per capita rate of teenage pregnancy, 
single-parent families, suicide, divorce, drug and alcohol 
abuse, and adolescent AIDS in the state of Oregon. The 
situation is such that social workers alone can't solve the 
multitude of problems; there is a real need for the 
Family Arts Agenda. 

X* Strengthening Families and Community 

J Through the Arts 

The Family Arts Agenda was conceived by Sharon Mor- 
gan, executive director of the Oregon Coast Council for 
the Arts (OCCA), as a way to bring the healing power of 
the arts to a number of people whose lives have been di- 
minished by abuse or neglect. As the program has devel- 
oped, it has become evident that stress and dysfunction 
invade almost every life at some time or another. 



Sometimes it's a bit difficult to pin down exactly what 
the Family Arts Agenda is because it's a whole collection 
of arts activities that aim to strengthen families in Lin- 
coln County through the arts. 

The programs of the Family Arts Agenda are 
truly collaborative, teaming the Oregon Coast Council 
for the Arts with community members and a variety of 
social service agencies. The council learned early on not 
to create programs to take out into the community, but 
rather to meet with constituents to identify their prob- 
lems and priorities and then to provide a set of options 
for them. In the process of working with constituents to 
design programs for the community, OCCA provides 
first-rate, talented, compassionate, and creative artists, 
and enlists people in social service and education fields 
for their special skills and insight. Other agencies help 
provide sophisticated methods of program planning, 
skills assessment, and evaluation. 

"The Oregon Coast Council for the Arts' 
Family Arts Agenda is a prime example of the way the 
arts councils integrate the arts within a community," 
says Christine D'Arcy, the executive director of the 
Oregon Arts Commission. OCCA is one of nine re- 
gional arts councils in the state, developed largely 
through the efforts of the Oregon Arts Commission. 
D'Arcy continues, "The Family Arts Agenda builds pro- 
grams around agencies and issues important to positive 
change in the area. The programs involve the young and 
the old, workers and the unemployed, residents and visi- 
tors, the well and the stressed." 

In undertaking programs, the Oregon Coast 
Council for the Arts takes into account that family dys- 
function is identified as one of Oregon's five most press- 
ing problems. While almost any state would identify 
family dysfunction as a critical social problem, Oregon 
has adopted a system of progress measurements called 



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Benchmarks, which are standards for measuring state- 
wide progress and government performance. All state 
agencies must reflect the Benchmarks in their budgets to 
justify investments of public monies. By using the lan- 
guage and measures of Benchmarks in its program plan- 
ning, the Oregon Coast Council for the Arts has enabled 
agencies to incorporate the Family Arts Agenda into 
their agency plans and grant applications. Benchmarks 
was recendy awarded an Innovations in State and Local 
Governments award from the Kennedy School of Gov- 
ernment and the Ford Foundation. 

jX* Families Discover the Arts Together 

^ The Oregon Coast 

Council for the Arts does 
more than respond to a 
community's articulated 
needs. Sharon Morgan has an 
impressive ability to "hear" 
between the lines. Some have 
even accused her of mind- 
reading. Her special intelli- 
gence is evident as she tells of 

a major moment of enlightenment in her own thinking. 
A dance workshop for elementary school stu- 
dents had just broken up and parents were picking up 
their offspring. The kids' faces were smiling, happy, and 
eager, in contrast to the parents' faces, many of which 
were tired from putting in long hours at minimum wage. 
Sharon explains: "One litde girl ran up to her mother, 
threw her arms around her, and exclaimed 'Oh Mom, it 
was so neat! I saw a ballerina. Can I take dance lessons?' 
In one instant, the mother's face turned from exhaustion, 
to love, to exhaustion again. And then I came back to my 
office and cried, because I realized what we had done. 
We had created an additional stress for the parent, a 



"For some kids who have been beaten 

and the many others used to receiving 

only criticism, the clown developing 

sessions are a miracle in human 

resilience, trust, and hope." 



negative message about the arts for the child, and a 
missed opportunity for them to share the arts. Not only 
had the mother never seen a ballerina, we had set her up 
with one more thing she could not provide for her child." 

As a result of that moment of insight, the 
Family Arts Agenda's arts latchkey program was 
changed. Now, parents don't just pick up their kids after 
the program; instead, the program schedule accommo- 
dates the real needs of the whole family. On event 
nights, an early supper is served to families who then see 
a performance together. This "one-stop arts" meets 
many needs, including bringing families together within 
a positive community setting. The family is given a tre- 
mendous treat in the form of 
a meal they don't have to 
cook, a shared experience, 
and an evening of the arts. 
The kids are home before 
bedtime, fed and full in their 
stomachs, hearts, and minds. 
The parents are satisfied by 
the wonderful, communal 
time, and are invigorated and 
nourished as well. 

The Family Arts Agenda attempts to include 
the parents — or foster parents, or both sets of parents, 
or any other person identified as a family member — 
in every project it does that involves children. Some- 
times, it is as simple as sending home a glossary of new 
words that a youngster learned from an artist or a sug- 
gestion of books and videos available from the public li- 
brary that will continue the arts experience. Other times, 
it may include sending the kids home with popping corn 
(after teaching them a safe way to pop it) and a poster 
they created inviting the family to gather in the living 
room, kitchen, or yard for a snack and a show. The kids 



then demonstrate a new skill, which might be juggling, 
singing, or putting on a puppet play. 

»X* Making Circus Skills Life Skills 

J The Kid Konnection Circus Project is another ex- 
ample of the kind of integrated and collaborative pro- 
gram that is part of the Family Arts Agenda. It was de- 
signed by social workers and arts council staff to provide 
learning experiences for youth, in the often overlooked 
seven- to eleven-year-old group, and their families by 
teaching them clowning, juggling, and balancing skills. 
The kids are selected because they have been clients of 
protective services, they are being served by at-risk ser- 
vices in the schools, their parents are being served by a 
substance abuse program, or their families have elected 
to work with social service agencies and this program. 
Kid Konnection includes an after-school program of in- 
struction; a monthly performance and celebration called 
Super Saturday, which includes the families; and a com- 
munity-based summer program, which includes a week 
of overnight camp at the state's 4-H site. Every year, 120 
to 140 kids take part. 

Kid Konnection came about largely through 
the efforts of Evelyn Brookhyser, the Lincoln County 
Extension 4-H agent. The 4-H has long been recognized 
as offering exemplary training programs for rural young 
people and is reorganizing to offer programs beyond ag- 
riculture and homemaking that will be relevant to 
today's youth. Brookhyser explains "We already had 
theater programs for kids and felt that one thing that 
many at-risk kids need is something special and uniquely 
their own. It was just one of those crazy brainstorms 
that led to identifying a circus theme with all its ele- 
ments that helped us hit upon Kid Konnection. Jug- 
gling improves hand-eye coordination, tumbling aids 
physical coordination, and clowning allows for all 



sorts of personalities and peculiarities to be shown in 
a positive way." 

Lead artist Don Fogle, a movement artist, 
says, "Our clowning is built from the inside out. You 
just wouldn't believe the earnest, concentrated analysis 
that these kids lend each other as they analyze one 
another's walks, their signature gestures, a special facial 
expression. For some kids who have been beaten and the 
many others used to receiving only criticism, the clown 
developing sessions are a miracle in human resilience, 
trust, and hope." By the time the kids graduate from this 
program, they have had lessons from mimes, dancers, 
and children's theater experts. 

A family contract is required for a child to 
participate in Kid Konnection. Training, equipment, 
clothing, and transportation from school sites are pro- 
vided by the program. Parents agree to provide transpor- 
tation home and to notify the staff if they cannot. They 
also agree to attend the Super Saturday Family Programs 
where children perform and teach their parents. Parents 
and children work together on developing a portfolio 
that documents skills, events, and personal reflections. 
The portfolio is both a Kid Konnection memento and 
an evaluation tool. To understand further what the par- 
ticipant is learning, each child has a mentor, either a 
family member or an older student, who also takes classes. 

fr Evaluating Impact 

Kid Konnection is evaluated not on vague hopes, 
dreams, and promises but rather on goals that are mea- 
sured at the end of each year. Project evaluation exam- 
ines both process and outcome. A trained evaluator 
gathers information on the program's process by observ- 
ing and interviewing the project coordinator and lead 
artists, meeting with coalition team members, and inter- 
acting with parents. Information regarding the degree to 



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which objectives are met in terms of outcome is gathered 
from evaluation forms completed by the parents; initial 
and year-end assessments made by teachers of participat- 
ing youth; and observations of skill development as 
documented by the project coordinator, the lead artists, 
and the evaluator. 

iX* Revealing the Potential of 
*■* Troubled Teen Girls 

Improving self-esteem and encouraging consideration of 
options — as to careers, health issues, choice of part- 
ners — are threads that run through most of the pro- 
grams of the Family Arts 
Agenda. Those threads are 
particularly strong in pro- 
grams relating to high school 
students who are unable to 
visualize many options for 
their futures. Sharon Mor- 
gan points out, "In one of 
our county high schools, the 

mark of achievement for the 

girls is who can get pregnant 

first by the boy with the highest truck and most gun 
racks. Much of our work is directed to 125 high school 
girls who need to see their potential — as hairdressers 
and homemakers as well as lawyers and teachers." These 
high school girls are identified by their schools and social 
service agencies as young women whose lives can be 
changed by positive influences. 

In one of the programs a poet taught creative 
writing as a new form of expression to a group of girls 
and women, ages fifteen through twenty-six, who have a 
high potential for dropping out of school, becoming 
teenage mothers, or committing suicide. By the fourth 
of six sessions, the girls were very interested in writing 



"But under the guidance of the artist he 

began to explore his creativity. I think 

we were both surprised to find he had 

real talent. It was wonderful to see the 

pride he felt in his work." 



and in working with the artist. In a therapy group for 
victims of sexual abuse, the writer introduced a letter- 
writing exercise, asking the girls to write letters that 
could be sent, kept private, or destroyed. To the amaze- 
ment of the artist, many of the girls wrote letters to their 
former abusers. Another program, a mentoring program 
for high school girls, involves journal writing. Each girl is 
assigned an artist/mentor who reads her journal and dis- 
cusses it with her. Each month the group also attends a 
special program designed especially for them in which a 
speaker talks on careers or a number of other topics. 

In addition, the Family Arts Agenda responds 
to very specific problems 

that are often overlooked. 

For example, many of the 
teenage mothers did not 
know any lullabies or count- 
ing rhymes, because they 
had never been sung to as 
children themselves. After 
learning action songs such as 
the hokey pokey and 
folksongs like "Hear the 
Wind Blow," the young women learned with Carol 
Groobman, a singer/songwriter, to write songs about 
themselves or to highlight a happy event or a favorite 
food. Not only did the mothers learn the joys of singing 
to their children, they also learned to communicate and 
treat very young children with dignity, respect, and kindness. 

tq* Money Comes from a Variety of Sources 

Funding for the Family Arts Agenda comes from a 
number of public and private sources. Ongoing support 
comes from the Oregon Arts Commission, which initi- 
ated the development of regional arts councils through- 
out the state. The City of Newport maintains the Per- 



forming Arts Center, home of the Oregon Coast Coun- 
cil for the Arts, and provides programming support an- 
nually. The National Endowment for the Arts provided 
a three-year grant that supported the basic operations of 
the Performing Arts Center in its first years and the de- 
velopment of the Family Arts Agenda. The Kid 
Konnection Circus Project has been funded in part by 
the U.S. Department of Agriculture Extension Service. 
The Meyer Memorial Trust has led the way in funding 
new programs. 

In addition, "other agencies [in the state] are 
writing grant applications that include the Family Arts 
Agenda, and agencies are contracting directly for our ser- 
vices," Sharon Morgan says. "We're also finding that as 
the Oregon Coast Council for the Arts is strengthened 
by its involvement in these programs and collaborations, 
it is easier for us to raise money when we do ask." 

yX» Success Measured Person by Person 

^ The success of the Family Arts Agenda is possibly 
best measured person by person. One newly single 
mother of five wrote about her experiences: "We were 
fortunate enough to have an artist come to our weekly 
meetings. After a couple of weeks, I noticed my eight- 
year-old son had a particular interest in the art segment 
of the program. He was a troubled boy, having taken the 
separation hard. He had low self-esteem and was prone 
to aggressive behavior. But under the guidance of the 
artist he began to explore his creativity. I think we were 
both surprised to find he had real talent. It was wonder- 
ful to see the pride he felt in his work. I also noticed 
what a calming effect the art had on him. . . You could 
almost see his self-esteem grow." 

That same mother took her first airplane trip 
when the Family Arts Agenda was honored as a finalist 
in Harvard's Innovation Program. Now, three years 



later, she has graduated from college and plans to at- 
tend graduate school. All her kids are doing fine — 
and making art. ■ 

Romalyn Tilghman is a free-lance writer, a consultant, and the 
publisher of Arts Rag. Her book, Audience Development: A 
Planning Toolbox for Partners, was recently published by the 
Association of Performing Arts Presenters. 

For further information on the Family Arts Agenda, please con- 
tact the Oregon Coast Council for the Arts at P. O. Box 1315, 
Newport, OR 97365; phone 503-265-9231. 



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Project BRIDGE 

An Artist in Their Midst 





Houston teens practice posing for the camera and shooting pictures. They are 
learning photography with Project BRIDGE artist Karen Sanders at their 
housing development, Irvinton Village. 
Photo by Karen Sanders . ' 

by Saundra Goldman 




In the heat of a Texas summer afternoon, a group 
of children escape to the air-conditioned shelter 
provided by the recreation center in their hous- 
ing complex. They trickle in one at a time as the word 
spreads that BRIDGE artist Raul Valdez has arrived. 
Valdez greets his young friends and inquires about their 
brothers, sisters, and other companions who live at the 
Thurmond Heights housing development. When the 
entire group is finally assembled, they go to work pre- 
paring for the upcoming dedication of their latest project, a 
permanent outdoor sculpture that will be installed on the 
grounds of their North Austin housing development. 

On this particular afternoon the children are 
rehearsing the song they will perform at the opening cer- 
emony. As Valdez accompanies them on the guitar, they 
belt out the words to the popular song Tick Tock, writ- 
ten by the late Stevie Ray Vaughan — a legendary musi- 
cian in the town of Austin where the children reside. 
Their faces beam, demonstrating their delight with the 
melody they are creating with their voices. The lyrics are 
like a prophecy and a prayer: 

One night while I was sleeping in my bed, I 

had a beautiful dream 
That all the people of the world got together 

on the same wavelength. 
Now in the street, universal love was the 

theme of the day. 
Peace and understanding, and it happened 

this way: 
The sick, the hungry had smiles on their faces. 
The tired and the homeless had family all around. 
People of the world, all had it together. 
Had it together for the boys and the girls. 
And the children of the world look forward to 
the future. 
{Tick Tock, by Stevie Ray Vaughan, 1990.) 



When asked what they like best about Project 
BRIDGE, the kids at Thurmond Heights respond en- 
thusiastically. "Everything!" says Ronald Boston. "I want 
it to go on forever." Veronica Serrato agrees, "Raul 
spends time with us and he sings good!" A few of the 
children respond more selectively, mentioning specific 
classes or projects. Princess Green says, "I enjoy Raul 
coming here and helping us. He's teaching us the steps 
of painting and now I paint whenever I can." 

^K^ New Connections and Transitions 

* Bridges are built to make connections and transi- 
tions. Through Project BRIDGE, connections are made 
between the Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) and 
public housing authorities, between artists and children, 
and between children and their parents. Transitions are 
achieved by the individuals who gain in self-confidence 
as they develop their artistic skills and who gain in pride 
and self-respect as they broaden their appreciation of 
their own and others' cultural heritages. Transitions are 
also made by the BRIDGE communities as they become 
active producers of arts programming by nurturing artis- 
tic talent and developing local audiences. Substantial 
support to the TCA from the National Endowment for 
the Arts is helping to make these connections and transi- 
tions possible. 

In identifying public housing developments 
for the program, the TCA works cooperatively with city 
housing authorities and/or community-based arts 
organizations. Sites are chosen largely on the basis of 
need, indicated by the number of families with children 
under eighteen and with an annual income below the 
poverty line. BRIDGE neighborhoods are typically 
characterized by high crime rates and children with low 
school performance. A variety of factors that may 
contribute to the program's success, such as resident 



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interest and the availability of facilities, are also consid- 
ered in selecting a site. 

At Rhodes Terrace, for example, the Dallas 
Parks and Recreation Department manages a facility lo- 
cated adjacent to the housing development, providing a 
gathering place for events and classes, as well as the assis- 
tance of parks and recreation staff. In San Antonio, the 
housing authority dedicated a five-bedroom apartment 
at the Cassiano housing complex for exclusive use as an 
arts center for the young residents of housing develop- 
ments throughout the city. Currendy there are six 
BRIDGE locations throughout Texas: Austin, Dallas, El 
Paso, Houston, Laredo, and San Antonio. 

^^ Art Forms Reflect Needs of Community 

^ \ Mary Jesse Garza, BRIDGE artist in San Anto- 
nio, is a trailblazer in cooperative ventures between the 
San Antonio Housing Authority and local arts pro- 
grams. Her relationship with the Carver Community 
Cultural Center, which presents multidisciplinary, inter- 
national arts programming, has led to a very special op- 
portunity for kids all over San Antonio to learn and per- 
form with the world-renowned DanceBrazil. 

DanceBrazil brings capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian 
movement form combining martial arts, dance, and mu- 
sic, to the stage. The children learn discipline as they 
practice the capoeira movements and study the combat 
metaphors, which also provide exercises in nonviolent 
approaches to resolving disputes. These are powerful 
tools for kids who are challenged daily by strife and vio- 
lence. Responding to the company's desire to work with 
community groups, the Carver Center and Project 
BRIDGE arranged a series of workshops and perfor- 
mances throughout San Antonio at the Point East 
Apartments, Alazan-Apache Courts, Urban- 15 studio, 
the DanSA. studio, and the Carver. Due to the tremen- 



dous success of the residency, the Carver now employs 
three instructors in Afro-Brazilian dance and music. 
Plus, San Antonio is now the new U.S. site for 
DanceBrazil. 

For another project, developed in coopera- 
tion with the Hertzberg Museum, Garza brought in fel- 
low artists to work with young people in creating altars. 
"I try to do art that deals with something they're familiar 
with or that relates to their own cultural background," 
Garza says. Altars are an ancient part of Latin American 
culture, and are a natural part of this community's 
physical environment — in homes, yards, and churches. 
While a child may recognize an altar, he or she may not 
understand its purpose. For these reasons, the altar 
seemed like an ideal subject for an arts project. 

As the children became caught up in the dif- 
ferent ideas introduced by the artists, they created three 
altars with the help of the artists: a main altar, a 
children's altar, and an altar for people with AIDS. For 
the second year the finished altars were presented in an 
exhibit at the museum. Both years the exhibits opened 
with public receptions where visiting theatre groups, 
Cultural Warriors and Grupo Animo, provided music 
and poetry, and teenagers of the community recited po- 
etry that included references to the traditions of the altar. 

t *j^ Building Community 

^ \ When a BRIDGE site is established, great care is 
taken to insure that the program meets the needs and 
desires of the residents. During its pilot period, Project 
BRIDGE developed an effective model that is still being 
used for building rapport and establishing trust with 
communities. Artists undertake door-to-door surveys 
with the assistance of VISTA volunteers, organize "Meet 
and Greet" performances, engage in casual conversations 
in public spaces, and, perhaps most significantly, begin 



to develop a Community Arts Advisory Committee 
(CAAC). Through the CAAC, tenants, parents, and rep- 
resentatives from community arts organizations, public 
housing administrations, and human service programs 
work together to develop and schedule appropriate projects. 

When Raul Valdez began his work at 
Thurmond Heights in Austin, the neighborhood was 
suffering from escalating drug crimes and violence, and 
the residents expressed a strong desire for peace. In re- 
sponse, Valdez organized the production of a mural en- 
tided, "Peace and Harmony in the Neighborhood." Af- 
ter photographing residents waving the peace sign, he 
projected their images onto a freestanding mural board, 
and the children traced and painted them. On the back 
side they scribbled positive "graffiti," slogans like peace, 
harmony, and unity. Now when the children pass by the 
mural they see images of friends and family and know 
that they have made a positive contribution to their 
community. They are also proud of the Public Housing 
Performance Award they received for the mural. 

George Lee, an active participant in the 
CAAC at Thurmond Heights, expresses his satisfaction 
with the project and the accomplishments of his com- 
munity: "It's really made a difference. The kids are busy 
daily and their attitudes have really changed. I've been in 
on this from the beginning and I'm so proud." 

In Laredo, Project BRIDGE is not only help- 
ing rebuild a sense of community, but also has begun to 
heal the wounds created by conflict between rival neigh- 
borhoods. Rio Bravo and El Cenizo are both impover- 
ished colonias outside Laredo, lacking water and electric- 
ity. With the assistance of a BRIDGE artist and an 
active CAAC, the two colonias are working together to 
become a single, more productive community. 

The first cooperative project of Rio Bravo 
and El Cenizo was a night of song and serenade. 



BRIDGE artist Jesus "Toro" Martinez describes the 
process as one of healing: "During the rehearsals, old 
feuds would surface in the form of bickering or snide 
comments. But gradually the group came together and 
the entire community was rewarded by the tremendous 
gift [of song that] they gave." 

Sponsored by the community development 
agency Corporate Fund for Children in partnership with 
the Laredo Center for the Arts, Project BRIDGE has 
also been providing music, dance, and visual arts work- 
shops for the children and parents of several of Laredo's 
other low-income neighborhoods. A local accordionist, 
Flavio Torres, has given lessons on the basics of accor- 
dion playing and conjunto music. Ana Laura Bozell, a 
modern dance instructor, has taught modern dance to 
young and old alike. And in the visual arts, Jesus "Toro" 
Martinez, Gerald Salazar, Luis Guerra, Zelrna Zapico, 
and others have taught a number of hands-on classes 
that include the fundamentals of painting, drawing, and 
art history. Along with the traditional visual arts instruc- 
tion, the program also provides such activities as puppet 
and hat making. 

j^ Rebuilding Family 

1 \ In the Texas-Mexico border town of El Paso, 
BRIDGE artist Victoria Salazar is busy offering bilingual 
workshops in dance and the visual arts to the residents of 
the Truman Complex. But her creativity in meeting the 
needs of the single parent families is especially notewor- 
thy. When Salazar began working at the public housing 
development, she discovered that 90 percent of the adult 
residents were single mothers who are busy and often 
have little time and energy to spare at home. 

Recognizing the limited budget of her stu- 
dents and the pressures of holidays, Salazar created an 
"edible" arts project where the common contents of the 



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grocery bag become the artist's palette and the artistic 
product is always something good to eat. Together, the 
mothers and children make festive food creations for the 
home and to share at community pageants. For 
Valentine's Day the mothers and their children attended 
"Chopin and Chocolate" with concert pianist Dr. Lucy 
Scarborough performing Chopin's work and discussing 
his fame and life as a composer. Accompanying the per- 
formance was a display of one of the student's elaborate, 
sculptural chocolates, which were presented to the 
mothers with poems and cards created by the children. 
"What is great about this kind of art," Salazar explains, 
"is that the family can do it together at home, and these 
kids need to be with their parents." By bringing parent 
and child together, Project BRIDGE helps rebuild 
family ties. 

In addition, Salazar has helped one resident 
pursue an interest in cake decorating, which has become 
a source of financial support. Salazar enthusiastically ex- 
plains that the principles of art — proportion, design, 
and color — can be applied to any creative pursuit. 
"You can compare her first cakes with her later ones. 
When she began, the shapes were bulky and had little 
sense of proportion. Now she has a better sense of line 
and composition. The cakes are more elegant, more 
pleasing to the eye." Her student has become a virtual 
sculptor of baked goods. She has also made the transi- 
tion to a wage-earning citizen. 

Salazar's arts projects reflect her belief that the 
arts can contribute to all areas of life. With the support 
of the El Paso Community College's Institute of 
Workforce and Economic Development, she has ex- 
panded the program at the Truman Complex to explore 
and develop the Mexican festival traditions in El Paso. 
Salazar and the college believe that rekindling the 
community's interest in producing the posadas, tradi- 



tion-based festivals, will both generate community pride 
and offer economic development opportunities, with the 
festivals becoming tourist attractions and providing em- 
ployment for artists. 

^J^ Teens Behind the Camera 

k \ Project BRIDGE builds self-confidence in 
coundess ways, the most obvious being the confidence 
one gains in acquiring new skills. Karen Sanders, 
BRIDGE artist at Irvinton Village in Houston, does 
even more to try to build self-confidence by helping 
African-American teenagers reclaim responsibility for 
the way they are perceived. 

Sanders teaches video and photography, and 
runs her program with two goals in mind: the develop- 
ment of professional skills and media literacy. For Sand- 
ers, media literacy begins with understanding the process 
of creating the image, including the subject choices 
made by the photographer and the technical manipula- 
tion in the dark room. For the teens of Irvinton Village, 
access to this process provides a better understanding of 
the way images are presented in mainstream media. By 
producing positive images of themselves through videos 
and photographs, the students are examining and articu- 
lating their views of their cultural identity. 

Sanders has concentrated on the most vulner- 
able age groups at Irvinton Village — the teens and pre- 
teens who are at the highest risk for drug problems and 
AIDS. The prevalence of the photographic media in 
contemporary society makes this program especially at- 
tractive to them. Among their accomplishments are a 
photo exhibition that took place at Irvinton Village; the 
production of their first video; and participation in a 
group exhibition at Diverse Works, a nationally recog- 
nized art space in Houston. Most recently, the group 
participated in a city-wide photography event, Fotofest, 



with an exhibition in a Houston gallery. Sanders has 
been successful in acquiring a video camera and tripod 
for Irvinton Village. It is the first step in her plan to in- 
stall a permanent video production studio at the housing 
development. She is also trying to obtain a computer for 
Irvinton, which will not only aid in video production, 
but will help the children write their own scripts. Sand- 
ers explains, "I want to encourage the children to sit and 
think and express themselves in writing as well as 
through images. These kids have stories to tell." 

j^ Artists Nurture Artists 

' \ "Project BRIDGE is primarily fueled by the en- 
ergy and commitment of the artists who run the indi- 
vidual programs," says Rita Starpattern, Project 
BRIDGE coordinator at the Texas Commission on the 
Arts. Each site is directed by a lead artist who establishes 
goals for the particular site. Like candidates for any other 
job, lead artists are selected according to their skills and 
experience. What distinguishes this program in terms of 
its hiring practices is that the general goals of Project 
BRIDGE are personal goals of the artists. They are al- 
ready committed to serving economically depressed 
populations. Selected artists are also members of the pre- 
dominant cultural group of the participating housing de- 
velopments and express a personal stake in seeing their 
program succeed. 

In addition to a background in community- 
based work, the artists' professional achievements are an 
important consideration. The artists not only provide 
the necessary expertise for teaching, they act as models of 
commitment and professional excellence. According to 
Pamela Johnson, who is a dancer with the Junior Players 
and a Project BRIDGE artist in Dallas, "When the kids 
come and see me perform, they see what it is that I'm so 
excited about." Project BRIDGE also organizes field 



trips to arts events and arts institutions, providing inspi- 
ration for the work the children do in their classes and 
models for those children interested in careers in the arts. 

Field trips have the added benefit of teaching 
children the appropriate behavior in public settings. 
Victoria Salazar describes the transitions she has wit- 
nessed: "When we first started going out, these kids 
could not sit still for more than a few minutes, much less 
for a one-hour performance. Now they're courteous and 
well-behaved. And because they're performing them- 
selves, they show appreciation and respect for the accom- 
plishments of others." 

Because of its many successes, the Texas 
Commission on the Arts has now made Project 
BRIDGE part of its long-range plan. In 1992, its first 
year, BRIDGE artists provided over 4,400 hours in di- 
rect service to over 350 students, and over 4,600 resi- 
dents participated in community events. The following 
year, BRIDGE tripled the number of youth and adults it 
reached through classes, workshops, and field trips to 
15,407. But the numbers hardly tell the story. In the 
words of Ruden Rodriguez, resident services officer at 
the San Antonio Housing Authority, "The process of a 
youngster getting involved, [attending] classes, setting 
some goals, feeling good about himself or herself, [expe- 
riencing] discipline, developing learning skills — those 
are the benefits." ■ 

Saundra Goldman is a Ph.D. candidate in twentieth-century art 
history and criticism at the University of Texas at Austin. She is 
also a free-lance writer and the art critic for the Austin Ameri- 
can Statesman. 

For further information on Project BRIDGE, please contact the 
Texas Commission on the Arts at P.O. Box 13406, Capitol Sta- 
tion, Austin, TX 787 IT, phone 512-463-5535. 



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Hugs and Kisses 

A Big Kid's Play 





In 1985 Theatre IV produced Runners, a play based on interviews 
with forty-three Virginia runaways in emergency shelters through- 
out the state. Runners was written to dissuade teenagers from 
ranning away from problems at home and into the vastly more 

dangerous life in the streets. 
Photo by Eric Dobbs 



by Rebecca Neale 






Theatre IV, a Richmond-based, nonprofit theatre 
company for children, makes it their business to 
present serious subjects to kids in captivating for- 
mats. Since 1980, when the company launched a 
ground-breaking production of The Shoemaker and the 
Elves using specially designed technology for hearing-im- 
paired children, Theatre IV has built a reputation as a 
world-class theatre group with a social conscience. They 
now have a repertoire of seven community outreach 
plays in which they use theatrical techniques to teach 
children concepts important to their safety. The com- 
pany, which also produces plays and musicals based on 
children's literary classics and history, is the nation's sec- 
ond largest children's theatre (based on audience size). 
Theatre IV was awarded the Sara Spencer Award for 
"the most outstanding contribution to children's theatre 
in the Southeastern United States." 

On a warm afternoon in early October, 
Theatre IV is presenting Hugs and Kisses, a sexual abuse 
prevention play for children, at St. Christopher's Lower 
School. In the quiet suburbs of Richmond, Virginia, the 
private Episcopal school for boys sits nestled protectively 
among trees glowing like warm embers. 

Inside, the setting is a bright school audito- 
rium, decorated with children's paintings of sports fig- 
ures and lined with a battalion of chairs. Columns of 
mostly towheaded boys dressed in the uniform of the 
day — baggy khaki shorts, T-shirts, and sneakers trailing 
shoelaces — are led by their teachers to their seats. The 
boys are orderly, but irrepressibly exuberant as they skip 
and jive to their seats. 

On stage is a simple blue backdrop, with 
"Hugs and Kisses" painted in huge orange letters. Five 
actors, all young adults dressed in pastel-colored overalls 
to suggest children, enter from the audience and begin 
singing a song: "Hug, a verb, to comfort, console, to put 



the arms around and hold closely; An act of love for the 
young and old." 

But the action soon hones in on the point of 
the play — that sometimes hugging and kissing and af- 
fectionate touching are used in the wrong way. The ac- 
tors explain the difference between good touch, bad 
touch (such as hitting), and secret touch, "when an adult 
or teenager touches you in an area normally covered by a 
two-piece swimsuit if you are a girl, and a one-piece 
swimsuit if you are a boy." With the music lowered to a 
whisper, the actors solemnly face the children to tell 
them, "We want you to be big kids today, because this is 
a serious play, and what you will learn is very important." 

2?* The Arts Can Change the World 

Hugs and Kisses was written in 1983 by Bruce 
Miller, Theatre IVs cofounder and artistic director, and 
Terry Bliss, with music by Richard Giersch. It is in its 
twelfth season and has been presented over 1,500 times 
to 500,000 children in elementary schools across the 
state — public, private, urban, suburban, and rural. As 
Theatre IV points out in literature it sends to schools 
before the play is presented, child sexual abuse cuts 
across cultural, racial, and economic bounds, and occurs 
at all levels of society. Nationwide, somewhere between 
one in four and one in ten children have been sexually 
abused before their eighteenth birthday. Of those 
children, more than three-fourths were closely 
acquainted with the perpetrator before the abuse began, 
with the abuse occurring, on the average, for three years 
before it was detected. 

That is why Miller and Phil Whiteway, co- 
founder and managing director, believe so fervently in 
their play and its power of prevention. The play sends a 
strong message to children that "it's all right to say no" to 
someone who is "secretly touching" them. 



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Says Whiteway, "I attended a performance of 
Hugs and Kisses this morning, and it never ceases to im- 
press me how a quality performance can affect a young 
person. In Hugs and Kisses, I see the ability of a theatrical 
program to deliver a message of social concern, in a way 
that lectures and books and talks are not able to do. If 
we can give these young people information that will 
protect them, or even one of them, then we've done a 
good thing." 

Miller and Whiteway are proud that the play 
has resulted in 3,000 disclosures of abuse from children 
and that it has received awards for its role in the preven- 
tion of childhood sexual abuse from the state of Virginia 
and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 
Beyond awards, the Virginia General Assembly recendy 
cut to the bottom line by allocating funds to underwrite 
the play's fall 1 994 tour, as the first step towards present- 
ing the play in every elementary school in Virginia. 

"The main thing that makes Theatre IV 
tick," says Miller, a friendly bear of a man with an em- 
bracing smile and commanding speech, "is that we try to 
find ways to serve our community through the art form 
of theatre." Theatre IV has pursued that mission by di- 
recting a third of the company's resources and produc- 
tions to its community outreach series. 

In 1985 Theatre IV produced Runners, a play 
based on interviews with forty-three Virginia runaways 
in emergency shelters throughout the state. Runners was 
written to dissuade teenagers from running away from 
problems at home and into the vastly more dangerous 
life in the streets. The company developed the show by 
working closely with the National Network for Run- 
away and Youth Services, and between 1 990 and 1 992 
was the core of a comprehensive delinquency prevention 
program funded by the Virginia Department of Crimi- 
nal Justice Services. 



The spring of 1988 saw the first production 
of Walking the Line, a play discouraging teenage use of al- 
cohol and other drugs. Walking the Line, written by 
Miller, is based on a true account that was reported in a 
Virginia newspaper of a teenage girl who was forbidden 
by her father to attend a party where there would be 
drinking. Worried about her friends driving home drunk 
from the party, the girl convinced her father to allow her 
to pick them up. On the way, she was killed in a head-on 
collision with a car carrying drunken teenagers — the very 
friends she was trying to protect. 

Says Miller, "Currently, 86 percent of all Vir- 
ginia high school students claim they drink to the point of 
drunkenness prior to graduation. Our play deals with the 
issue of irresponsible drinking. Not to imply there is re- 
sponsible drinking, but to say, 'If you drink and drive, if 
you use alcohol as the gateway to other drugs, or if you 
become a teenage alcoholic, that is irresponsible and unac- 
ceptable behavior that will have terrible consequences in 
your life and the lives of others.' " 

Walking the Line 'was followed in 1991 by 
Wonderful World, an awareness program introducing chil- 
dren to basic environmental issues. In the fall of 1992, 
Dancing in the Dark toured for the first time. The play en- 
courages teenage sexual responsibility and was developed 
in partnership with the Junior League of Richmond. The 
Virginia Department for Children invited Theatre IV to 
present Dancing in the Dark at its 1 989 annual confer- 
ence, and later the play was warmly received at the annual 
meeting of the National Organization for Adolescent 
Pregnancy Prevention in Rockville, Maryland. Since 1 992 
more than 30,000 young people have seen this program. 

In 1990 the Richmond Department of Social 
Services proposed to Theatre IV that they produce a play 
about issues families face in the foster care system. As a re- 
sult, Me and My Families was introduced during the 



1992-93 season. Better Safe than Sally, a childhood injury 
prevention program and the latest in the community 
outreach series, will enter its third season in the spring. 

The theme that weaves together all the plays 
in the series is the conviction of Miller and Whiteway 
that even very young children can be trusted to learn im- 
portant lessons about emotionally charged and contro- 
versial social issues, if presented to them in an entertain- 
ing and responsible form. The two, both fathers 
themselves, view protecting children from harm as their 
greatest reward — and their greatest responsibility. 

Miller says, "What interests me in the arts in 
general, and in theatre specifically, is there's this tremen- 
dous opportunity to do some- 



thing important to change the „, . ■ .,., r . , . ■ 

u » Tj 11 I see the ability ot a theatrical proqram 

world. He pauses, and leans ' r a 

forward for emphasis, "I really to deliver a message of social concern, 

believe that the arts can jn Q way fa a \ lectures and books and 

change the world." .. . . . 

talks are not able to do. 



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Enter Theatre IV 



Twenty years ago Theatre IV was the fledgling 
product of two performing artists who had been 
roommates at the University of Richmond. Fresh from 
graduation in 1974 and a season of summer stock, 
Miller took a federally funded position with the 
Southampton County Public School system as a cultural 
enrichment director. 

"It was during that year, when I was booking 
cultural programs into Southampton," says Miller, "I 
found that the only programs I could book came from 
New York and Washington, and cost, even then, $2000 
a day. I thought, I can get together a group of actors, I 
can get a van, we can make costumes, and we can do 
these shows for $300 a day and be thrilled for the work. 
So I wrote to Phil, who had been the business manager 



for the University Players, and I said, 'How would you 
like to start a theatre company that works with kids and 
serves the schools?' And he said, 'Sure.' " 

Armed with creative energy, youthful enthusi- 
asm, and knowledge of what schools demand in cultural 
programs, Theatre IV ran its first production in 1 975 — 
an adaptation of Brer Rabbit stories presented as authen- 
tic African- American folk tales. After receiving publicity 
in 1981 for becoming the first theatre company in the 
country to use special broadcasting technology for hear- 
ing-impaired children, Theatre IV attracted the attention 
of Ann Childress, an employee of the Virginia Depart- 
ment of Social Services and a woman with a mission. 

As a professional 

working to protect children 
from abuse and neglect, 
Childress was alarmed about 
the growing number of re- 
ported sexual abuse cases 
across the country. Already fa- 
miliar with Theatre IVs pro- 
ductions of fairy tales, and having read a newspaper ac- 
count of the company's interest in using theatre arts to 
serve the community, it occurred to her that Theatre IV 
would be the perfect medium for teaching children 
about sexual abuse without frightening them. At the 
time, Childress knew of three other theatre groups in the 
country that were presenting plays on child sexual abuse. 
Recalls Miller, "One of those plays dealt with 
a space character, a child from outer space who came to 
earth and was experiencing touch for the first time. The 
other one involved a baby bear who was being sexually 
abused by another bear. And the third one was a series of 
sketches in Minneapolis that talked about the issue, but 
mainly from an objective perspective and mainly for 
older children." 



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What Childress wanted was a play where the 
central character was a real little girl being sexually 
abused by a real person. She envisioned a play that treats 
children with respect by giving them truthful informa- 
tion, which they need to remain safe, but in a format 
that is easy to talk about with parents and teachers. 

"Ann had a tremendous commitment to see- 
ing this project happen," says Miller. "She met with us 
and came right out and said, 'Have you ever considered 
doing a play about child sexual abuse?' Now, in today's 
climate, that seems like a perfecdy normal question. But 
in 1981, before the McMartin case broke in California (a 
much-publicized case involving employees of a daycare 
center who were accused of 
sexually abusing children at 
the center), before the movie, 
Something About Amelia 
[which dramatized abuse of a 
young girl by her father] , it 
took us by surprise. We had 
never considered doing a play 
about an issue that controver- 
sial, that taboo." 

However, after 
preliminary research and speaking with adult survivors of 
childhood sexual abuse who urged the project on, Miller 
and Whiteway decided to ignore the alarmed predictions 
of the company's ruin and launch the show. What en- 
sued were eighteen months of feverish research as Miller 
and his assistant, Terry Bliss, spoke with childhood 
sexual abuse experts across the country, always digging 
for the one fact, the one phrase that would make a differ- 
ence in the lives of children. 

Miller says, "In writing the play, the biggest 
challenge for us was to deal with the issues honestly, at 
the same time using language and concepts that would 



"What interests me in the arts in 

general, and in theatre specifically, 

is there's this tremendous opportunity 



be acceptable in Virginia's school system. I remember 
sitting around the kitchen table trying to figure out how 
we could talk about the private parts of a child's body so 
they could understand without explicitly naming them. 
We came up with the idea of talking about the swimsuit 
areas of the body." 

In the fall of 1983, Theatre IV joined forces 
with Virginians for Child Abuse Prevention to adminis- 
ter a grant from the Virginia Family Violence Prevention 
Fund allocated for thirty free performances of Hugs and 
Kisses to schools across the state. That's when Miller and 
Whiteway learned that, although they were committed 
to getting the message of prevention into the schools, 

there were some messages that 
parents did not want their 
children to hear. Initially, no 
school would agree to accept a 
free performance of Hugs and 



. Kisses. Eventually, after the 

to do something important to change show was performed for 
the world. I really believe that the school officials and parents 

«,.j.^ „«„ r-.U«««^ 4-U~ „,„JJ " across the state, the public 

arts can change the world. . \ 

came to realize its value. 

Megan Maroney, 
chaplain and counselor at St. Christopher's School, says 
the prospect of showing a play to students on sexual 
abuse alarmed some of their parents, who said they 
wanted to preserve their children's innocence. But, after 
the script was shown to those voicing concern, only 
three of 400 children were prohibited by their parents 
from attending the play. Maroney's review: "I loved it. I 
thought the play was colorful, interesting, and funny. It 
gives the language to children and adults to talk about 
sexual abuse, and clearly gives the message to children, 
without scaring them." 



2j* A Role Model for Arts Organizations 

i "I think Theatre IV is a model in terms of their 
commitment to social service issues," says Peggy Baggett, 
executive director of the Virginia Commission for the 
Arts. "They're way ahead of other arts groups that are 
just now beginning to move in these areas. Their careful 
attention to the research and documentation is 
important. Theatre IV has carefully researched each 
of their community outreach shows to make sure 
that they not only have a good product artistically, but 
that it fits in with the current thoughts of the social 
service professionals." 

One method Theatre IV uses to research an 
issue and accurately represent the problem and recom- 
mended solutions to the public is to align itself with a 
social service agency for each of its community outreach 
productions. As in the case of Hugs and Kisses, each pro- 
duction is carefully researched with nationally known ex- 
perts in education and child health and welfare before it 
is written. A draft of the play is later scrutinized by an 
advisory board of educators, social service workers, phy- 
sicians, and other interested professionals. Once the play 
has begun touring, Theatre IV maintains a close rela- 
tionship with its advisors who keep the play's content 
and statistics current. 

Prevent Child Abuse, Virginia (PCAV), the 
state chapter of the National Committee to Prevent 
Child Abuse, and Parents Anonymous National owns 
half the rights to Hugs and Kisses and participated in the 
original research. PCAV continues to work with the 
company by serving as a parent and teacher resource to 
schools that host the play, and by training the actors 
each season on how to answer children's questions and 
to "listen, believe, and refer" children with disclosures of 
abuse to the Child Protective Service (CPS) workers. 
PCAV also works with the Virginia Department of 



Social Services to ensure the presence of the CPS work- 
ers at each performance of Hugs and Kisses. 

Barbara Rawn, executive director of PCAV, 
says, "I am in awe of Theatre IV. They take risks, they 
take on tough topics with imagination and incredible in- 
tegrity. And the actors are wonderful. They're excited 
about what they're doing and they feel very special being 
able to do this show to help children. But doing the 
play, and talking to children who are being abused can 
be very overwhelming. We tell them to call us whenever 
they need to talk over their experiences. It's hard for any- 
one, even child abuse professionals, to hear a tiny child 
say her daddy is secredy touching her. For young adults 
who are actors, it's hell." 

"It can be really difficult to deal with these is- 
sues," agrees Steve Perigard, Theatre IVs community 
outreach coordinator and a former actor with the com- 
pany. Perigard toured with Hugs and Kisses for two sea- 
sons. "The children identify with the characters in the 
play who are kids, so they feel comfortable talking with 
us. Which is why we stick around after the question- 
and-answer period, to let the kids come to us, and we 
take them to the social workers." 

The Child Protective Service workers are an 
important link in the prevention, and in some cases, in- 
tervention, loop. After the children have seen the play, 
and realize this is a topic that can indeed be talked 
about, children who are being molested will often dis- 
close this fact to the actors. Having CPS workers on-site 
reassures Theatre IV that the children who have been 
brave enough to speak of their ordeal, often for the first 
time, will receive immediate help and not be lost in ad- 
ministrative cracks or a jurisdictional shuffle. 



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2j* Public Funding 

* Because of such heart- wrenching responses from 
children, Theatre IV is committed to offering the 
community outreach series for a low fee, or free, to keep 
the series available to a wide audience. As a nonprofit 
company, Theatre IV looks to contributed sources of 
income to offset their production costs. 

Phil Whiteway, an openly friendly man like 
Miller, but more quiet and serious, says, "We were in- 
corporated as a nonprofit organization, but my partner's 
and my attitude was then, and still is, you earn the right 
to ask for money. There were many years in the begin- 
ning when we asked for no funding, because we felt we 

needed to provide some sort 

of track record before we 
would solicit support from a 
government agency, corpora- 
tion, or individual. 



"We still take a 
careful look at the ratio of 
contributed to earned rev- 
enue. Right now the ratio is 
about 25 percent to 75 per- 
cent, and it feels like that's the 

most responsible approach. I'm aware that many arts or- 
ganizations have a 50/50 ratio, but to me that places a 
huge burden on the community and on the organization 
to raise that kind of money every year. Still, with 25 per- 
cent contributed revenue, it's an awesome thought to 
know you must raise half a million dollars each year." 

Theatre IV began receiving support from the 
Virginia Commission for the Arts in 1978, three years 
after its inception. Says Peggy Baggett, "Theatre IV re- 
ceives a larger amount of touring support from the com- 
mission than any other group in the state, because of the 
quality of what they do. And over the years they have 



"Theatre IV has carefully researched 

each of their community outreach 

shows, to make sure that they not only 

have a good product artistically, but 

that it fits in with the current thoughts of 

the social service professionals." 



documented the demand for their programming. They 
receive our largest touring allocation, but they are still 
able to reach only a third of the schools and community 
groups who ask for them. If they had more money, they 
could reach more children." 

Among its supporters, Theatre IV counts the 
National Endowment of the Arts (NEA). "We've been 
receiving NEA funding for eleven years," says Whiteway. 
"We certainly need and welcome their cash support, but 
we also look at it as a terrific honor that this federal en- 
tity, which uses professionals in our field to evaluate our 
work and our management, has given us their stamp 
of approval." 

Miller agrees with 

his partner on the value of 
NEA funding. He says, "The 
amount of money we receive 
from the NEA is not that sig- 
nificant as far as the overall 
percentage of our budget. But 
it is tremendously significant 
in that it provides crucial dol- 
lars we're unable to get any- 
where else. And we're able to 
go to other funding sources and say, 'We have the sup- 
port of the NEA, they view us as a nationally significant 
organization.' Those corporations and foundations that 
are enlightened on this issue, think, 'That's a distinction 
that only the best can claim,' and take our organization 
more seriously." 

2J* Theatre IV Has Massive Impact 

» Barbara Rawn says, "In the years that I have 
worked with Theatre IV, I have personally seen that 
Hugs and Kisses has had massive impact as a primary 
prevention tool." William Lukhard, former 



commissioner of the Virginia Department of Social 
Services, says it changed the face of the way childhood 



sexual abuse prevention is handled in Virginia. i 1 

"Childhood sexual abuse thrives in an atmo- £ 

sphere of ignorance and secrecy. The play has made it o_ 



0) 



OK for not only children but the gatekeepers to chil- 
dren — teachers, parents, daycare providers — to talk 
about the issue and bring it out into the open. If you ^ 

walk into a daycare center and you see posters about re- ^ 

porting child sexual abuse, and the staff have been „- 

trained to know what to look for, and the children have 5" 

been educated about secret touching, then it is an unsafe 
place for perpetrators. Hugs and Kisses was the catalyst 
for that to happen in Virginia." ■ 

Rebecca Neale is a free-lance writer based in Richmond, Vir- 
ginia. She has a Masters in Social Work and was formerly a 
clinical social worker at the Memorial Child Guidance Clinic in 
Richmond. 

For further information on Theatre TV, please contact the theatre 
at 114 West Broad Street, Richmond, Virginia 23220; phone 
804-783-1688. 



I ) Additional Stateand Regional Arts Agency Projects 



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All state arts agencies support arts projects that offer creative 
alternatives for youth. Like the compelling stories featured in 
the previous chapters, the following examples from the rest of 
the nation s fifty-six state arts agencies and seven regional 
arts organizations illustrate the positive impact the arts can 
have on youth, their families, and their communities. 

The State Arts Agencies 

^^ Alabama State Council on the Arts 

^ \ City Center Arts is a multi- agency, community- 
based effort to build resilient children, strengthen Bir- 
mingham families, increase community involvement, 
create job opportunities, and promote racial harmony 
through arts-related activities. It is an arts education and 
jobs program that brings the visual arts to children in 
grades one through ten from three public housing com- 
munities. The program uses the arts to build self-esteem 
and redirect youth in positive directions. The program 
was initiated by Space One Eleven, a grass-roots artists' 
organization, as a way for local artists to contribute to 
their community. In 1993, Space One Eleven was 
joined by the Birmingham Museum of Arts to expand 
the program and facilitate the museum's outreach to un- 
derserved and economically disadvantaged citizens. Stu- 
dents who participate in the program attend studio 
classes, and they exhibit both at Space One Eleven and 
the museum. 

Selma Youth Development Center provides 
an after-school, year-round program that targets at-risk 
youth. The program is a collaboration between the 
Selma City Schools, the Selma Civic Club, and the 



Selma Youth Development Center. Approximately 200 
kids receive classroom instruction in dance, music, 
drama, visual arts, and boxing, and take field trips to lo- 
cal museums and performances. According to the pro- 
gram director, "the arts are used as a tool to uplift and 
build the self-esteem of kids who live in a depressed 
community." 

Space One Eleven and Selma Youth Devel- 
opment Center receive support from the Alabama State 
Council on the Arts. Space One Eleven also receives sup- 
port from the National Endowment for the Arts. 

2|* Alaska State Council on the Arts 
» Out North Theatre Company, located in Anchor- 
age, established a partnership with McLaughlin Youth 
Corrections Center called the "Locked Up" Teen Pro- 
gram. Out North conducts on-site writing and action 
workshops with local and guest artists, hosts teens at off- 
site workshops, and provides free tickets to see perfor- 
mances (the first time for many of the teens). Out North 
also employs selected teen inmates as backstage assistants 
to give them work experience. This is the third year of 
the program, and some positive results are increased self- 
confidence and the development of social skills. 

In addition, Out North has joined with the 
Anchorage School Districts and the Partnership for a 
Healthy Community to initiate in 1994 a program that 
allows junior high school kids who have been suspended 
to spend a portion of that time working with a nonprofit 
organization. At Out North Theatre Company, a pilot 
site, suspended youths have been working behind the 
scenes assisting with props and costumes. 



The Alaska State Council on the Arts pro- 
vides general operating support to Out North 
Theatre Company. 

yX» American Samoa Council on Art, 

*** Culture and Humanities 

One of the arts council's mandates is to assist the young 
people of the territory in crossing the difficult bridge be- 
tween their native Samoan culture and continental 
United States culture. However, Samoa's problems with 
its youth are not the same as in the states. Young Samo- 
ans who have joined gangs or been involved in crimes 
while living in the states are being sent back to grandpar- 
ents to "straighten out." These returnees are negatively 
influencing their peers in school and the community. 
The arts council is countering the problem with its Cul- 
tural Maintenance Workshops, Summer Art Academy, 
and its Arts in Education and Folk Art programs. These 
programs give participants a creative outlet for expres- 
sion, and are also helpful in identifying troubled indi- 
viduals who can then be referred to counseling programs. 

*Hs Arkansas Arts Council 

^ \ The Arkansas Arts Council funds a nine-month 
residency program in the Watson Education Center 
(WEC), an alternative high school in the El Dorado 
District. El Dorado is a cultural and economic center 
within an otherwise remote and poor area of Arkansas. 

The purpose of WEC's arts in education pro- 
gram is to turn students' destructive energies toward cre- 
ative activities. Working four to five hours each day with 
small groups of students, an artist facilitates work in the 
media of the students' choosing. The most visible of the 
program's accomplishments is a major mural on the ex- 
terior of a downtown office building in El Dorado. The 
program has drawn positive attention to the needs of 



at-risk students while giving the students a source of 
pride in their contribution to the community. 

Through its use and interpretation of the arts, 
WEC has become a national model. It allows about fifty 
students who have not succeeded in traditional school 
settings an opportunity to succeed in its environment of 
intensive individual support and creativity. 

pr* Connecticut Commission on the Arts 
\ * During the summer of 1994, the Sankofa- 
Kuumba Cultural Arts Consortium targeted at-risk 
youth in a program that taught traditional West Afri- 
can dance, music, and history, while also promoting 
self-confidence and respect for others. Over 200 chil- 
dren in Hartford learned valuable lessons in critical 
thinking, conflict resolution, and presentation skills. 
The program culminated in an afternoon of perfor- 
mances. Participants from six city neighborhoods 
crossed territorial boundaries and put aside their differ- 
ences to celebrate their common heritage with several 
thousand community members. 

Sankofa-Kuumba and four Hartford agencies 
were partners in the effort. Christine Dixon-Smith, 
Sankofa-Kuumba's director, credits their success to the 
training they received through the Connecticut Com- 
mission on the Arts' Inner City Cultural Development 
program (funded by the National Endowment for the 
Arts), which provided the fund-raising and management 
skills necessary for a successful program. 

Sr Delaware Division of the Arts 

^ With support from the National Endowment for 
the Arts, the Delaware Division of the Arts supported 
the Ko-Thi Dance Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 
in a monthlong residency. The company uses traditional 
instruments and authentic costumes, songs, and dance 



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to present traditional African dance and music forms to 
Western audiences. Performances and more than fifty 
educational exchanges, classes, workshops, and demon- 
strations took place at schools, community centers, and 
alternative spaces throughout the state. 

In many schools, preparation for the Ko-Thi 
performances was a yearlong process, during which stu- 
dents created African dresses, masks, stenciled head- 
bands, and dance belts. In one unique residency activity, 
Ko-Thi's musicians taught community members how to 
make African drums, which then became the property of 
the local community center where the residency oc- 
curred. During a two-day, overnight workshop for 
young men, participants soaked goat skins, stretched 
them over oil drums, tuned and decorated the resulting 
instruments, and received instruction from Ko-Thi's 
master drummers. The activities culminated in a student 
performance at the Grand Opera House in Wilmington 
to great community acclaim. 

^L^ District of Columbia Commission 

' \ on the Arts and Humanities 

A major priority of the commission is reaching the 
young people of the District of Columbia, particularly 
those considered to be at risk. In fiscal year 1 994, 
through its Arts Education Program, the commission 
made an impact on approximately 55,918 district 
youths. This grant program focuses on providing youth 
with training in and exposure to arts activities. It in- 
cludes artist residencies in public schools and nontradi- 
tional settings, such as community centers and churches. 
A major milestone of the Arts Education Program has 
been achieving the highest quality arts-related Summer 
Youth Employment Program to date. These training ac- 
tivities culminated in acclaimed performances at Ira 
Aldridge Theater, Fort Dupont Park, Lisner Audito- 



rium, and other venues. Packed audiences consisting of 
the general public, family, and friends attended the per- 
formances to watch and support the youth. 

ZJ* Florida Division of Cultural Affairs 
\ * The Florida Division of Cultural Affairs awarded a 
grant to Fourth Avenue Cultural Enrichment (FACE.) 
to support programs offering culturally enriching experi- 
ences to at-risk youth ages five through eighteen. 
F.A.C.E. provides professionally directed classes and 
projects in dance, music, theater, and art without fees or 
restrictions. Programs target underserved, inner-city 
populations. Performances are regularly scheduled at lo- 
cal schools and a neighboring nursing home. Partici- 
pants have painted two local murals, one at the Tallahas- 
see Homeless Shelter. 

Another organization, OneArt, received a 
grant from the division to support its KidsArts project. 
The project, in conjunction with Dade County Public 
Schools, the Metro-Dade Police Department, and the 
City of Miami Police Department, will provide a series 
of sixty-eight workshops in dance and drama specifically 
designed for inner-city children from Shadowlawn El- 
ementary. An estimated sixty children will be served on 
an ongoing basis for thirty-four weeks. The division also 
awarded a grant through its Cultural Facilities Program 
for construction of the new OneArt Center. 

2S* Georgia Council for the Arts 

J The Arts in the Adanta Project (ATAP) is the arts 
component of former President Jimmy Carter's Adanta 
Project, created to address problems in twenty cluster 
communities that face high crime, teen pregnancy, and 
unemployment. ATAP is a collaboration, supported by 
the National Endowment for the Arts, the Georgia 
Council for the Arts, the City of Adanta Bureau of 



Cultural Affairs, Fulton County Arts Council, the 
DeKalb Council for the Arts, Arts Clayton, and a con- 
sortium of other arts organizations. 

Many of the programs ATAP funds teach the 
arts, both contemporary and traditional, to children 
from local housing projects who have had little or no 
previous exposure to the arts. Students in these programs 
have done a variety of arts activities including learning 
traditional African drumming and dance and perform- 
ing contemporary plays that they helped write. 

>L* Guam Council on the Arts 
^\ and Humanities Agency 

Frank Rabon, head of the Taotao Tano Chamoru cul- 
tural dance group, portrays his traditional dance class at 
Inarajan High School as the "macho, cool" thing to do. 
The dance class is a cooperative effort between the high 
school, the Guam Council on the Arts and Humanities 
Agency, and a developing cultural village in the area. Gef 
Pa' go, the Chamoru cultural village, was started three 
years ago with a grant from the National Endowment 
for the Arts. Rabon teaches traditional dances of the 
Chamoru heritage. Those students who perfect their 
skills are allowed to join the professional dance group 
that performs at Gef Pa' go. 

The strong bond forged by the dance group 
has satisfied the teens' need for group acceptance, which 
is often sought through gang membership. 

/j* State Foundation on Culture 
\ * and the Arts (Hawaii) 

In July 1992, the State Foundation on Culture and the 
Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts funded 
the Statewide Cultural Extension Program, currently 
funded and administered by the University of Hawaii. 



Its purpose is to bring arts and cultural activities to rural 
areas and underserved communities. A significant aspect 
of the program was the Cultural Transition Project, 
which provided more than thirty-two presentations to 
at-risk youth in intermediate schools throughout the 
state. Presentations included a Hawaiian heritage guitar 
and song performance by National Heritage Fellowship 
Award recipient Raymond Kane and a storytelling ses- 
sion of Filipino folktales with Felisa Lindsey. Approxi- 
mately 1,850 youths were reached through the Cultural 
Transition Project. 

At least seven other arts projects targeting at- 
risk youth are currently funded through the State Foun- 
dation. These projects extend to four islands and address 
critical social issues such as homelessness, gang violence, 
low income, delinquency, and drug abuse. 

y$* Idaho Commission on the Arts 

^ The Idaho Commission on the Arts received 
National Endowment for the Arts funding in 1 993 for 
the Family Center Arts Project, a two-year project that 
provides artist residencies for first-time juvenile offenders 
and other at-risk youth in the community. Arts classes 
were integrated into education, therapy, and recreation 
programs at various locations, such as a home for teen- 
age mothers, a shelter for troubled teenage girls, and the 
Idaho State Correctional Institution. 

Using media ranging from clay to poetry to 
interactive electronic technology, artists worked for con- 
centrated periods with small groups of students, encour- 
aging positive self-expression. Youth workers say some of 
the students gained tremendous confidence and commu- 
nication skills through the residencies. Artist Kathy 
Byron observes, "I often wavered between hopelessness 
for these students' futures and inspiration at working 
with such exceptional children." 



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*Hs Illinois Arts Council 

^ \ Support from the National Endowment for the 
Arts and the Illinois Arts Council has helped the 
Peoples's Music School, located in Uptown Chicago, 
provide this community's youth with an opportunity to 
receive free, private instrument instruction and perfor- 
mance opportunities in neighborhood venues. Accord- 
ing to Director Rita Simo, the school offers young 
people a supportive, constructive environment — a 
place to experience a sense of belonging and to be 
around others their age — that the larger community of- 
ten doesn't provide. When she asks a young person why 
he is still at the school at six or seven in the evening, the 
response is typically, "I like it here." Says Simo, "My big- 
gest concern is to instill in the students a sense of disci- 
pline." A measure of the school's impact is found in the 
words of a young man who had studied there eight years 
before. He writes, "I saw you were tough. Without that, 
I would have ended up in jail." 

2y* Indiana Arts Commission 

Begun in 1988 in Evansville, Indiana, the Evans- 
ville Housing Authority's Dance Awareness Program 
was created as a means of teaching personal discipline 
and building self-esteem in youth in public housing. As 
a positive outlet for the young people's energy and cre- 
ativity, it has evolved from its early roots in popular Top 
40 music and dance into a program that offers classes to 
forty-five students on three levels in classical and con- 
temporary ballet, jazz, and ethnic dance. Supported 
through a HUD Drug Elimination grant, grants from 
the Indiana Arts Commission, and various corporate 
sponsors, the program boasts a donated downtown stu- 
dio space and holds professional recitals at the University 
of Evansville Theatre. Wherever the troupe performs — 
in a concert hall, at a festival, or in a classroom — these 



young people demonstrate pride in themselves and dedi- 
cation to their work. 

jS» Iowa Arts Council 

The Iowa Arts Council's Youth Arts Opportuni- 
ties program began in fiscal year 1993 as a two-year pilot 
project to work with youth who have not had encourag- 
ing experiences, according to Dr. Willis J. Knight, the 
consultant for the project. Knight and five artists pursue 
the goal of building on the teens' strengths to increase 
confidence. "We want them to learn to take risks to cre- 
ate a more positive self-concept," Knight says. Concetta 
Morales, a visual artist, worked with fifty teenagers from 
five shelter facilities designing mosaic panels for the Des 
Moines International Airport. One of the students said 
the project made them feel successful for the first time. 

J^ Kansas Arts Commission 

^ \ One of the most significant trends in the Kansas 
Arts Commission's Arts in Education Program is the 
increasing number of programs serving identified 
groups of at-risk children. Some projects being sup- 
ported in this category are: a Lawrence dance company 
that works with children of substance-abusing mothers 
in a halfway house; classes given at the Wichita Center 
for the Arts for kids who have gotten in trouble for 
bringing weapons to school; a dance residency spon- 
sored by the Salina Salvation Army for at-risk children 
who live in the economically disadvantaged area of 
town; and a partnership with Social and Rehabilitation 
Services to support artists in residence at four Youth 
Centers, which are state juvenile detention facilities. A 
follow-up study of youth after their release from the de- 
tention facilities is being developed. 



2j* Kentucky Arts Council 
1 * Three rural, underserved counties in eastern Ken- 
tucky present arts programs funded in part by the Ken- 
tucky Arts Council through local school district Family 
Resource Centers and county government Adult Lit- 
eracy Centers. Family Resource Centers are a major 
component of the Kentucky Education Reform Act and 
provide health and social services to families. They have 
become the link between parents and schools and have 
increased parent participation in school governance. 

Judy Sizemore, Kentucky Arts Council com- 
munity artist in residence, has coordinated short-term 
residencies in visual arts, drama, music, dance, and cre- 
ative writing in twelve Family Resource Centers serving 
2,000 elementary school children and their families. 
Judy also conducts arts programs in the county Adult 
Literacy centers, and works with some of the same adults 
whose children attend the Family Resource Centers. 

These community arts programs were initi- 
ated by the Appalachian Communities for Children, a 
Save the Children self-help organization. 

yX* Maine Arts Commission 

In 1 993 the Maine Arts Commission adopted a 
new long-range plan that focused the commission's re- 
sources on integrating the arts into all areas of commu- 
nity life. Consistent with this mission, funding in all 
granting categories is predicated on the inclusion of un- 
derserved populations, including children of disadvan- 
taged families. Grants have been made to organizations 
throughout the state that have had a direct impact on 
these populations. In Portland, grants to The Children's 
Museum of Maine, The Preble Street Resource Center 
(a provider of services to the homeless, including teens 
and single mothers), the Portland West Neighborhood 
Council, and the Portland School District (for The Art 



of Black Dance, an Ethnic Arts Initiative grant) have 
provided disadvantaged youth with community-cen- 
tered arts experiences. Professional artists skilled at work- 
ing with disenfranchised youth have been central to the 
success of these projects. 

*Hs Massachusetts Cultural Council 

~ \ In 1993 the Massachusetts Cultural Council es- 
tablished an initiative called YouthReach, which sup- 
ports partnerships among arts organizations, artists, and 
community agencies to provide arts programs for at-risk 
youth in underserved communities. The primary goals 
of the initiative are to employ the power of the arts to 
address the social challenges facing youth; to promote 
the integration of cultural programming into a 
community's response to the needs of its youth; to de- 
velop lasting linkages between cultural organizations, 
artists, and community agencies to provide the high- 
est quality arts experiences for at-risk youth; and to 
stimulate other funding sources to recognize the links 
between community-based cultural programs and 
community development. 

YouthReach has assisted activities such as the 
Drop a Dime/Voices project, which promotes the use of 
video and theatre to educate urban teens about sub- 
stance abuse, violence, and AIDS. YouthReach is sup- 
ported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Na- 
tional Endowment for the Arts, and the Massachusetts 
Department of Public Health. 

/j* Michigan Council for the Arts 
\ * and Cultural Affairs 

The Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs, 
in partnership with the National Endowment for the 
Arts, provides funding and technical assistance to 
Detroit Area Film and Television (DAFT). DAFT is a 



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not-for-profit educational organization that has pro- 
moted and supported the creative use of the electronic 
media by young people for the last twenty-five years. 
Based in the Detroit area, it has had profound benefits 
for students, parents, and communities located through- 
out Michigan. 

DAFT takes a hands-on approach, and its 
services consist of workshops and activities geared to 
providing at-risk young people with tangible projects. 
Three major activities are the Animation Workshop, the 
Michigan Student Film and Video Festival, and a 
television show featuring the winners of the juried festi- 
val. DAFT has provided thousands of students with suc- 
cessful learning experiences, concrete evidence of the 
students' successes in the form of their own films and 
videos, and valuable skills and work habits. 

j&* Minnesota State Arts Board 

Intermedia Arts Minnesota, The City, Inc., and 
media artist Daniel Bergin worked together on a project 
involving fifteen African-American, at-risk teens. The 
residency was funded in part by the Minnesota State 
Arts Board's Organizational Support program, with 
support from the National Endowment for the Arts, 
the MacArthur Foundation, and Intermedia Arts' 
general fund. 

The project entailed adapting August 
Wilson's play The Piano Lesson to video. By working 
closely with this historically rich play, the students were 
inspired to examine contemporary and historical repre- 
sentations of African Americans in the mainstream me- 
dia, from the nightly news to MTV. During a post- 
screening discussion of their finished product, the teens 
shared their own views on cultural identity. This project 
enabled students to begin developing a cultural and 
historical context, and to develop ways of expressing 



what is uniquely meaningful. 

^U* Mississippi Arts Commission 

^ \ Working with Mississippi Valley State University, 
the City of Itta Bena developed the Arts Enrichment 
Program targeting 150 disadvantaged and at-risk stu- 
dents in grades K— 12. The highlight of the project was a 
summer program in 1993 featuring arts classes in paint- 
ing, photography, music, and drama at four locations. A 
special exhibit at the end of the summer showcased stu- 
dents' work. Being recognized for their creative efforts 
and talents boosted the children's self-confidence. Using 
their creativity opened new avenues to learning. Local 
and regional artists who worked with the program were 
so convinced of its value that several have continued to 
volunteer their services to work with students during the 
school year. An exhibit of student work was held in April 
1 994, and the city's May Festival also featured student 
artwork and performances. 

Itta Bena is now on the move. The city has 
acquired a building for use as an arts facility and is form- 
ing a local arts council as part of city government. This 
project was supported by the Mississippi Arts Commis- 
sion and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. 

£?* Missouri Arts Council 

I ' Parishes Associated with Kinloch Team (PAKT) is 
an outreach program serving a community ranked by 
the 1990 Census as the thirteenth poorest in the nation. 
This community includes numerous single-parent 
households and is characterized by high rates of drug 
and alcohol abuse and teen pregnancy. 

The Missouri Arts Council, in conjunction 
with the St. Louis County Preventative Partnership 
(a program of the Department of Health and Human 
Services), supports PAKT's Youth Resources and Recre- 



ation Department, which provides an eight-week sum- 
mer day camp for youth between the ages of seven and 
fifteen. The camp exposes participants to multicultural 
activities and hosts visiting artists twice a week. For ex- 
ample, members of the Katherine Dunham Dance 
Company taught classes in dance and percussion that in- 
troduced students to African arts and culture. Classes 
have been helpful in deterring crime, substance abuse, 
and teen pregnancy, while improving self-esteem, self- 
discipline, and artistic and cultural appreciation. 

Kp* Montana Arts Council 

^ Since 1 990 the Fort Peck Fine Arts Council of 
Glasgow, Montana, the HiLine Advisory Council for 
the Montana Department of Family Services, and the 
Illusion Theatre of Minneapolis have collaborated on a 
project to address the issue of child sexual abuse in the 
rural communities of northeastern Montana. The joint 
venture has received funding from the Montana Arts 
Council and the Montana Department of Family Services. 

Using Illusion Theatre's critically acclaimed 
play Touch, the project employs local high school youth 
to reach children through live performances, and serves 
as a catalyst for the prevention of sexual abuse. It pro- 
vides children with the images, vocabulary, and confi- 
dence to say "no," and furthers communication between 
children and the adults in whom they confide. The 
project has reached 7,000 students through perfor- 
mances in elementary schools, and also offers commu- 
nity performances and adult workshops. 

**fS Nebraska Arts Council 

' \ The Nebraska Arts Council recently expanded 
support for projects in underserved, culturally diverse 
neighborhoods with the help of a grant from the 
National Endowment for the Arts. Project Impact, a 



successful collaboration between the Omaha Housing 
Authority and the Nebraska Arts Council, targeted at- 
risk, African-American youth from Omaha's public 
housing projects. These youth assisted in the produc- 
tion, writing, editing, acting, filming and development 
of a film featuring the biographies of lesser-known Afri- 
can Americans who have made significant contributions 
to American history. The young people learned valuable 
skills and received training in television and film produc- 
tion, and they were mentored by prominent African 
Americans in the field. The project also served as a cata- 
lyst for changing the youths' perceptions of African- 
American history, as well as altering their view of their 
own lives and helping them to recognize their worth 
and potential. 

The Omaha Housing Authority is currently 
marketing the film to be used in schools and communi- 
ties throughout the country. 

2J* Nevada State Council on the Arts 

t With support from the Nevada State Council on 
the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, the 
Lied Discovery Children's Museum in Las Vegas imple- 
mented a new initiative designed to nurture local young 
people's interest in art, science, and humanities. The ini- 
tiative focuses particularly on youth with little or no ac- 
cess to cultural institutions. The targeted group, youth 
ages ten through eighteen, lives within the museum's 
immediate service area, which contains southern 
Nevada's highest concentration of low-income families 
and four of the highest- ranking, at-risk secondary 
schools in the state. 

The ArtSmarts component of the program 
provides its young participants with the opportunity to 
work alongside professional artists for an extended 
period of time on a group art project. The artist and par- 



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ticipants work together developing an idea, investigating 
different ways of carrying it out, and creating a finished 
piece or performance that is then presented to the pub- 
lic. ArtSmarts was designed to give young people both 
artistic training and experience in using the artistic 
process as a method of problem-solving and developing 
self-awareness. 

yX* New Hampshire State Council on the Arts 

Using a mix of federal and state dollars, the New 
Hampshire State Council on the Arts funds many 
projects for at-risk youth, including artist-in-residency 
programs for Headstart and community-based projects 
for teenagers involved in alternative education programs. 
One highlight, Alpha Teen Theater, is an ongoing after- 
school project that helps Hispanic youth with educa- 
tional and social issues. For several months, a theater art- 
ist worked with fourteen young people to create skits 
based on difficult issues, including AIDS, drugs, and 
abuse, that had touched their lives. The project began 
with a matching grant to a community organization and 
expanded, without council funds, to tour these skits to 
various schools and communities. Each new perfor- 
mance helps to open dialogue between parents, teachers, 
and teens. 

^f^ New Jersey State Council on the Arts 

* \ Each year the New Jersey State Council on the 
Arts, with support from the National Endowment for 
the Arts, is able to provide support to arts organizations 
across the state that are working to enhance communi- 
ties, revitalize cities, provide creative alternatives for 
troubled youth, and teach tolerance. One example in- 
cludes the work of Young Audiences in Princeton. 
Through a series of improvisation programs, Young 
Audiences' Theater Sports Residence builds leadership, 



teaches social skills, and increases confidence in inner- 
city kids who are identified as at-risk. The residencies are 
structured like sporting events, complete with competi- 
tions, judges, and fans. This connection to athletes has 
proven effective in securing participation of young males. 

Another program, called Share the World, 
helps curb gang violence by using the arts to teach stu- 
dents tolerance of different cultures. Arts assembly pro- 
grams and workshops are integrated with the school cur- 
riculum and culminate in a school multicultural festival. 

ZJ* New Mexico Arts Division 
\ " Working Classroom, in Albuquerque, is a non- 
profit, multidisciplinary youth arts organization that 
works with at-risk youth and receives funding from the 
New Mexico Arts Division. During the past three years, 
seven young actors and playwrights have put on plays 
dealing with current issues. Juan s Choice is about youth 
involvement in gangs. It was written for the eighth An- 
nual Multicultural Mental Health Conference on Chil- 
dren and Families. Several hundred people attended the 
performance, and more than a dozen took the stage to 
try and change the outcome of the play. Another play, 
The Rubber Band, is a tragi-comedy about sex in the age 
of AIDS. It is a bilingual play inspired by Lysistrata. The 
play opened at the South Broadway Cultural Center, 
and later toured to Las Vegas, Taos, Tierra Amarilla, Las 
Cruces, and the Boys School in Springer. 

jX* New York State Council on the Arts 

The International Center of Photography has a 
Community Record (CR) program serving three inner- 
city public schools in some of New York's most densely 
populated minority neighborhoods: East Harlem, 
Chinatown, and the Lower East Side. The purpose of 
the program is to teach students to use the camera as a 



powerful means of community exploration and creative 
self-expression. 

One of the schools is CLC, a junior high 
school in East Harlem that serves economically disad- 
vantaged students of African-American and Hispanic 
heritage who have limited skills in math and English. 
During the 1994-95 school year at CLC, the Commu- 
nity Record Program will be integrated with social stud- 
ies, teaching students to look at history through the pho- 
tographic record and to understand the impact and 
influence of photography as a tool for social change. 

New York State Council on the Arts has pro- 
vided grants for the CR program since it was inaugu- 
rated in 1986. The National Endowment for the Arts 
awarded its first grant in 1 992 and renewed it in both 
1993 and 1994. The program now also receives support 
from corporations and foundations. 

^J*^ North Carolina Arts Council 

\ With state and federal funding, the North Caro- 
lina Arts Council is supporting projects that enhance 
the lives of youth and their families through its Organi- 
zation of Color Development Program and Arts in 
Education Program. 

These programs reach children from the early 
cognitive years through the teen years. An example of 
the former is a program at the Plaza Road Preschool in 
Charlotte where at-risk, inner-city four-year-olds now 
have arts as part of their regular curriculum. These en- 
riching arts experiences are intended to stimulate cogni- 
tive and motor development. The Seeds of Sheba pro- 
gram in Chapel Hill helps disadvantaged youth see their 
own worth, potential, and heroes through a new frame- 
work of respect and support. They become creators of 
art through classes in theater, music, and dance, and 
they also regularly share their experiences with and learn 



from regional arts professionals. Through instruction 
and examination they discover African-American heroes 
in their history, on their streets, and in themselves. This 
kind of support fortifies children, strengthens families, 
and builds communities. 

2?* North Dakota Council on the Arts 
* Through its ACCESS Grant Program, the North 
Dakota Council on the Arts funds projects to serve spe- 
cial constituencies or minorities. Funded projects in- 
clude the Family Support Network in Jamestown, which 
provides art experiences/education for teens and young 
adults with special needs. In fiscal year 1994, the stu- 
dents were introduced to drama in the form of short sto- 
ries and role-playing by a local artist. In fiscal year 1995, 
the students will experience art activities from different 
cultures. ACCESS has also supported workshops in Na- 
tive American storytelling and writing at the North Da- 
kota Industrial School in Mandan, a state facility for the 
incarceration and rehabilitation of young offenders. One 
of the students wrote that the experience gave them 
"courage and hope, plus the encouragement to write and 
put their feelings on paper." 

Jp» Commonwealth Council for Arts and 
<J Culture (Northern Marianas) 

Summer Arts Exploration was a successful, four-week 
workshop for elementary and high school youth. The 
project involved two weeks of intensive instruction in 
mask making, basic drawing, print making, and calligra- 
phy; and a two-week exhibition of the finished products. 
Additionally, an intensive dance workshop was con- 
ducted on the island of Tinian, which involved learning 
dance steps from American Samoa, Fiji, Tahiti, and 
other Pacific islands. Workshop participants formed a 
dance group that will practice and perform on a regular 



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basis. Demonstrations of traditional canoe building and 
thatch house building were conducted on the island of Rota. 

During the school year, the arts council 
sponsored after-school workshops throughout the islands 
of the Northern Marianas to encourage positive environ- 
ments in the arts and to provide alternative activities 
for students. 

j^ Ohio Arts Council 

' \ Urban communities must find positive ways for 
neighborhood members to express themselves, develop 
leadership skills, and be involved in solving problems 
that affect them. The Coordinated Arts Program is a 
partnership among Greater Cleveland Neighborhood 
Centers Association, the City of Cleveland, and the 
Ohio Arts Council. It seeks to give children, teens, 
and elders opportunities to receive special instruction 
in visual and performing arts in their neighborhoods, 
to strengthen community pride and individual self-es- 
teem, to sustain long-term relationships between artists 
and communities, and to develop a prototype that can 
be shared. 

With funding from the Ohio Arts Council 
and the National Endowment for the Arts, this project 
creatively involved more than 2,200 people in eighteen 
neighborhoods in its first year. Arts programs were de- 
signed to be flexible, cost-efficient, progressive, and cul- 
turally specific. Activities include crafts, African drum 
making and drumming, oral history projects, an elder 
musicians program, African dance, young audience 
grooming, wood carving, and puppetry. 

iy* State Arts Council of Oklahoma 

African-American youth of Comanche Park Pub- 
lic Housing Project in North Tulsa are now looking at 
the world from a different angle — from behind the 



lenses of their 35mm cameras. The World of Photogra- 
phy Project, sponsored by North Tulsa Heritage Foun- 
dation, the State Arts Council of Oklahoma, and the 
National Endowment for the Arts, was conducted by an 
African-American professional photographer with the 
goal of capturing the interest of low-income youth while 
providing useful skills. The youth were taught basic 
camera operation, darkroom procedures, portfolio devel- 
opment, and career opportunities in the photographic 
and media arts. They visited photo and television stu- 
dios, newspapers, graphic design companies, and the 
University of Tulsa art department. The students exhib- 
ited their work at the community center where they re- 
ceived certificates denoting their accomplishments. 
Working with mentors from Tulsa University's School 
of Art, they also took photographs exploring the North 
Tulsa environment. These works were part of a popular 
exhibit at the Gilcrease Museum of Art. 

j!f* Pennsylvania Council on the Arts 

Many of Pennsylvania's nonprofit organizations 
use the arts as a way to make a positive difference in the 
lives of young people, their families, and communities. A 
number of these organizations serve specific culturally 
diverse communities throughout the state. Among the 
examples, supported with funds from the Pennsylvania 
Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for 
the Arts, are the youth-directed projects of the Asian 
American Youth Workshop of Asian Americans United 
(AAU) in Philadelphia. AAU projects, like their youth 
literary magazine Unbound, video production and docu- 
mentation projects, and hands-on mural and craft 
projects, are designed to help inner-city, Asian-American 
youth express their feelings and share their experiences. 



jlf Institute of Puerto Rican Culture 

* The Institute of Puerto Rican Culture's mission is 
to preserve, promote, disseminate, and enrich the Puerto 
Rican culture through the development of all cultural 
manifestations including the arts, folklore, and the hu- 
manities. A goal established in 1993 is for all agency pro- 
grams to have an impact on youth. Efforts are geared to- 
ward providing youth with an education about their 
heritage, the skills needed to develop their own 
generation's perspective, and the opportunity to partici- 
pate in cultural activities in order to prevent social prob- 
lems such as crime, drug abuse, and school dropout. 

Several after-school programs are taking place 
in low-income areas in coordination with the education 
department. A Puerto Rican folk dance group, 
Itanaman, originated six years ago with thirty students 
under the direction of a teacher. The dance group meets 
three times a week in the Fernando Callejo High School. 
The group, which received funding from the Institute 
and from the National Endowment for the Arts, per- 
forms on weekends in different rural communities on 
the island. 

ZJ* South Dakota Arts Council 
\ * South Dakota Arts Council's Artists in Schools/ 
Youth at Risk (AIS/YAR) program provides students 
with opportunities for social and creative skill develop- 
ment. A pilot project was initiated in 1990 with Mobridge 
Public Schools to offer arts education opportunities in alter- 
native education environments to youth identified as at-risk 
The pilot project was funded by the arts council, with 
matching funds from the Mobridge Public Schools and the 
South Dakota Dropout Prevention Program. 

The goals of AIS/YAR are to focus on prob- 
lems of low self-esteem, identify constructive means for 
self-expression, and promote creative thinking. South 



Dakota has fifteen alternative education sites statewide. 
School districts can elect to send students in grades nine 
through twelve who are in danger of dropping out or 
not graduating to an alternative education site. During 
the past two years, AIS/YAR has provided more than 
850 class sessions on the arts, reaching over 3,100 stu- 
dents. The arts council has received a grant from the 
Dayton-Hudson Foundation to assist with this project. 

yX* Tennessee Arts Commission 

^ The Tennessee Arts Commission recognizes the 
positive role the arts can play in the lives of youth, and 
has established the Arts: Advancement and Expansion 
(AAE) grant category with support from the National 
Endowment for the Arts. AAE supports not-for-profit 
arts organizations of color and organizations that serve 
inner-city youth (among others). One project currently 
funded under the AAE grant program is Blues City Cul- 
tural Center's "Peace in the House," a three-day confer- 
ence targeting youth who are at risk for participating in 
or becoming victims of violent behavior. In 1994, faced 
with an alarming murder rate, the city of Memphis 
joined with artists, social services facilitators, and youth to 
develop artistic and constructive alternatives to violence. 

Another program funded under AAE is 
Edgehill Center's PAVE WAY program, which incorpo- 
rates visual art and video with antidrug messages into an 
organized cultural environment. Youth considered to be 
at risk for negative behavior (teen pregnancy, drug and 
alcohol abuse, crime, and school drop-out) are the target 
audience for this program. Some participants have en- 
rolled in college and are pursuing careers in the arts. 
Edgehill is now developing additional arts programs 
(dance and theater) and has a vision of becoming a 
cultural center. 



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^t^ Utah Arts Council 

^ \ The Central City Arts Studio, a grantee of the 
Utah Arts Council, is a unique collaboration of state, 
county, and city governments working with numerous 
private sector companies to provide alternative programs 
for inner-city, at-risk youth. Through a combined effort 
by businesses and government, a storage space for vend- 
ing machines at the Central City Community Center 
was converted into a fully functioning arts studio. The 
arts studio provides many of Salt Lake City's inner-city 
youth with arts classes that give them a positive oudet 
for expression. Now, rather than engaging in destructive 
and violent means of expression, these youth are learning 
how to express themselves through the visual and per- 
forming arts. They are taught by local, professional art- 
ists who offer their services free of charge. 

Encouraged by the results being achieved at 
the Central City Arts Studio, the Utah Arts Council is 
collaborating with many different organizations on 
projects that affect at-risk youth. With a grant from the 
National Endowment for the Arts, the council is work- 
ing with the local Boys/Girls Clubs, numerous inner-city 
elementary schools, the Salt Lake City Police Depart- 
ment, local shelters, and detention centers. 

ZJ* Virgin Islands Council on the Arts 
\ * The Virgin Islands Council on the Arts initiated a 
pilot summer camp program in fiscal year 1993 called 
Project Aim, that received funding from the National 
Endowment for the Arts. The program's goal was to 
enhance academic knowledge and skills, and encourage 
the artistic development of youth in the Bordeaux com- 
munity. This underserved, rural area of St. Thomas has 
no recreational or community facilities and few activities 
for young people to engage in after school or during 
the summer. 



Project Aim was designed to provide a full ar- 
ray of academic and artistic opportunities. There were 
daily classes in fabric painting, ceramics, banking, culi- 
nary arts, and mask making, as well as in English, math, 
and writing. Students also had the opportunity to ex- 
hibit and sell their artwork. 

For ten years the School of Visual Arts and 
Careers has served the Virgin Islands' culturally diverse 
community, providing training in fine arts and exposure 
to careers in the creative arts. The school, which receives 
funding from the arts council and the National Endow- 
ment for the Arts, has had a very positive influence on 
young adults. 

kp Washington State Arts Commission 

Two years ago, the State Capital Museum and the 
Department of Juvenile Rehabilitation in Washington 
state began a collaborative project using the visual arts to 
help incarcerated youth build academic and social skills. 
Art produced through the project resulted in the 1993 
exhibit, "Insight Out: A Different Perspective," which 
was organized by the youth. Eighty-three residents, some 
of whom were hard-core offenders, participated in the 
project, which developed job skills in museum prepara- 
tion and graphic design. Now back in their communi- 
ties, transitioning youth who participated in the project 
are doing well, and some are pursuing art careers. 

The number of participants has increased for 
1994, and the addition of a writer in residence has ex- 
panded the exhibit to include autobiographical stories 
that are powerful accounts of young lives filled with 
abuse and neglect. This year's exhibit is traveling to 
schools, galleries, and museums in the communities to 
which the youth will be returning, creating a bridge to 
those communities and giving other youth the opportu- 
nity to learn from it. This project is supported with 



funds from both the Washington State Arts Commis- 
sion and the National Endowment for the Arts. 

>t^ West Virginia Division of 

^\ Culture and History 

The West Virginia Commission on the Arts supports 
collaborative projects among mental health service cen- 
ters, schools, and nonprofit arts groups that assist at-risk 
youth in the community. Primary emphasis has been on 
high poverty areas in rural counties. This work is done 
through the Artist-in- Residence Program and the pilot 
Arts in Basic Education Program. 

One such collaboration began last year in 
Lincoln County between Appalachian Arts Sanctuary, a 
rural community arts collaborative, and Lincoln County 
Schools. The Harts area of Lincoln County is a commu- 
nity plagued by isolation and poverty but rich in initia- 
tive and human resources. The Harts Arts Education 
Project established Harts High School as a training cen- 
ter for three elementary schools in the following pilot 
projects: Appalachian Dulcimer Building and Perfor- 
mance, theater arts, and monthly visual and performing 
arts workshops. Artists trained teachers, parents, and stu- 
dent leaders to carry out programs in their schools. Co- 
operation was good, response was excellent, and the 
project served as a self-esteem builder for at-risk youth, 
parents, and community members. 

2|* Wisconsin Arts Board 

» The Wisconsin Arts Board serves the state's at-risk 
youth through its Arts in Underserved Communities 
Initiative. This initiative is a partnership with The Mil- 
waukee Foundation and receives National Endowment 
for the Arts funding. It aims to strengthen and signifi- 
candy enhance the artistic and managerial capabilities of 
a few of the state's most promising organizations that are 



providing culturally relevant artistic experiences to di- 
verse communities. Examples of outreach work done by 
award recipients are Latino Arts, which teaches Hispanic 
youth about various Latino cultures through such activi- 
ties as theater, visual arts, and folklorico dance classes; and 
Hansberry-Sands Theatre Company's Poetry in Motion 
program, which visits schools to present performances that 
pay tribute to positive African-American experience. 

The Wustum Museum in Racine, which re- 
ceives funds from the arts board's Challenge Initiative 
program, participates in gang intervention programs 
held at inner-city neighborhood centers and at the mu- 
seum. One of the programs organized by the museum's 
education department staff was a ceramics class for teen- 
agers in a gang program at Taylor Children's Home. 

/£+ Wyoming Arts Council 

Several Wyoming arts and community organiza- 
tions, with support from the Wyoming Arts Council, 
have specialized programming that responds to chal- 
lenges faced by youth and their families. 

The Sheridan Young Writers Group has not 
only cultivated the talent of many young writers, but has 
also provided a means of expression that has helped 
them develop self-confidence, work through life issues, 
and stay out of trouble. Dancers' Workshop in Jackson 
has programming for special needs teenagers at C-V 
Ranches, which are residence facilities. The overall goal 
is to develop self-confidence, creativity, and self-expres- 
sion through movement exploration. This program 
has had much success in reaching teens who have emo- 
tional and physical difficulties and who often have 
trouble communicating. 

The Wind River Health Promotion Program 
has received funding from the Wyoming Arts Council, 
HUD, Fremont Counseling, and the state Division of 



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Behavioral Health for a multifaceted prevention pro- 
gram targeting young people under the age of twenty- 
one and their families. This program will provide cul- 
tural activities using tribal elders as teachers, role models, 
and mentors. Six student artists will develop artwork for 
billboards, posters, and pamphlets promoting health and 
cultural programs. 

The Regional Arts Organizations 
j^ Arts Midwest 

\ Hmong youth in La Crosse, Wisconsin, are be- 
ginning to recapture and preserve their unique musical 
heritage through Arts Midwest's Cultural Development 
Fund, a granting program supported by the National 
Endowment for the Arts. La Crosse is home to 
Wisconsin's largest population of Hmong refugees from 
Laos. Physically and culturally separated from their 
homeland, Midwestern Hmong people struggle to 
maintain their heritage. Youth often assimilate faster 
than elders, making the passing of artistic traditions 
from generation to generation increasingly difficult. Arts 
Midwest funding, through the La Crosse Area Hmong 
Mutual Assistance Association, will enable students to 
work with elder composers, musicians, and translators to 
make instruments, write, record, and perform Hmong 
traditional music. This project allows the old and young 
to work together to preserve their culture. 

Arts Midwest is a regional organization that 
provides funding, training, and publications to Illinois, 
Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, 
Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. This project is 
part of an ongoing partnership with state arts agencies to 
promote social change through art. 



2j" # Consortium for Pacific Arts and Cultures 
\ * Over the past several years, the Consortium for 
Pacific Arts and Cultures (CPAC) has assisted the Guam 
Council on the Arts & Humanities Agency in sponsor- 
ing activities of the SKIP dance school. The dancers, 
who are elementary, middle, and high school students, 
perform ballet and jazz, as well as traditional dances 
from Guam. A balance between home, school, and 
dance, and the ability to get along with others are essen- 
tial to being part of the group. Because of this, families 
are engaged in the dancers' activities. SKIP has repeat- 
edly won Governor's Art Awards for contemporary 
dance. In January 1995, older SKIP dancers will be 
placed in two schools on Guam to provide free dance in- 
struction to students and to help the dancers develop 
teaching skills. 

SKIP's founder, Teri Knapp, says of SKIP 
graduates, "They return to train so they can compete at 
national finals in which they are top winners. I'm so 
proud of their accomplishments — almost all of the 
older students are using their dance background to help 
them in college and careers . . . Sometimes I wonder 
what direction they'd have taken if not for dance. You 
can't find any group of kids like these." 

CPAC works direcdy with the arts agencies 
of American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana 
Islands. It endeavors to provide quality programs, 
including arts in education and traditional and 
contemporary arts. 

yX* Mid-America Arts Alliance 

Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA) is commit- 
ted to bringing high quality arts experiences to commu- 
nities across its region through regional, national, and 
international artist rosters and special projects. With 
the assistance of its partners (the state arts agencies of 



Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and 
Texas) and a grant from the National Endowment for the 
Arts, M-AAA embarked in 1992 on a two-year initiative. 

The Underserved Youth/Artist Residency Ini- 
tiative provided financial support to seven project sites. 
Each project engaged an artist to facilitate a three- to six- 
week residency that immersed young people in culturally 
relevant performing and/or visual arts activities. The goal 
of these activities was to stimulate creative expression in 
the young people, and have them create an arts product 
to be publicly performed or exhibited. 

The New Presenting Opportunities Program, 
with NEA support, has also enabled M-AAA to fund 
many projects targeting youth and their communities. 
Since 1991 this program has funded a wide range of 
projects including the creation of a new dance/music 
work in Houston's Sixth Ward that involved the collec- 
tion of oral histories from community elders by young 
people who developed, interpreted, and performed them 
in a multimedia context. 

**/S Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation 

\ Rites of Passage is a collaborative residency project 
combining video, dance, and creative writing. Vid- 
eographer Michelle Parkerson, screenwriter David Brad- 
ley, and theater specialist German Wilson will work with 
groups of teenagers ages sixteen through nineteen, from 
Philadelphia city schools to write, create, perform, film, 
and edit a docudrama. The interactive video will address 
such issues as dating, peer pressure, sexual responsibility, 
teenage parenthood, and AIDS education. 

Rites of Passage is coordinated by the Painted 
Bride Art Center, Philadelphia, and is funded in part by 
the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, the National Endow- 
ment for the Arts, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, 
Meridian Bank, Inc., and Hunt Manufacturing Inc. Par- 



ticipating organizations include Hahnemann University 
(a health education center) and the Samuel Fleischer Art 
Memorial center. 

The Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation works in 
partnership with the artists, arts organizations, and com- 
munities of a nine-state region to support arts programs 
and services and to insure the availability of the arts to all 
of the region's residents. The region includes Delaware, 
the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New 
York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, 
and West Virginia. 

2|* New England Foundation for the Arts 
I * The New England Foundation for the Arts con- 
nects the people of New England with the power of art 
to shape lives and improve communities. Although the 
foundation's constituents are primarily the six New En- 
gland states, it also administers a national pioneering jazz 
effort, the Lila Wallace- Reader's Digest National Jazz 
Network. The network is composed of twenty outstand- 
ing organizations that emphasize jazz presenting and of- 
fer expanded and enhanced performance and residency 
opportunities for jazz artists and communities. Each of 
the sites offers activities involving youth and jazz artists 
on a consistent basis. 

The Artists Collective, based in Hartford, 
Connecticut, is a network site whose mission is to train 
and develop the talents and social awareness of youth re- 
siding in the greater Hartford area, with particular atten- 
tion to inner-city children. The programming at the col- 
lective demonstrates the rich contributions of African- 
American, West Indian, and Latino cultures. Through 
network funding, the collective has been able to develop 
two youth performing jazz ensembles under the 
direction of legendary saxophonist Jackie McLean. The 
ensembles are comprised of a cross-section of youth 



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from diverse cultural, racial, and economic backgrounds. 
This effort strives to foster understanding, respect, and 
good working relationships. 

jS* Southern Arts Federation 

The Southern Arts Federation (SAP) is a non- 
profit, regional arts agency dedicated to providing lead- 
ership and support to effect positive change in the arts 
throughout the South. The organization works in part- 
nership with the state arts agencies of Alabama, Florida, 
Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Caro- 
lina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. 

Southern Arts Education Partnerships in Ac- 
tion involved a planning session for seventeen communi- 
ties in nine states, and each state department of educa- 
tion, state arts agency, and state alliance for arts 
education. Teams included school board members, su- 
perintendents, teachers, principals, parents, arts adminis- 
trators, artists, and community volunteers who created 
strategic plans for arts education in their communities. 

The Leflore County Schools Planning Project 
in Greenwood, Mississippi, focused on at-risk students. 
To integrate the arts in classroom and after-school pro- 
grams, school administrators worked with Arts for Suc- 
cess, a vocational and cultural alliance; Greenwood 
Leflore Cities in Schools; Greenwood Foundation for 
the Arts; Cottonlandia Museum; Mississippi Valley State 
University; and local businesses. These programs sup- 
ported job training and school-to-work transitions. The 
community emphasized arts education's ability to offer dif- 
ferent approaches to learning critical thinking and team- 
work, and to provide a positive oudet for creative energy. 



the National Endowment for the Arts, the Lila Wallace- 
Reader's Digest Fund, Western States Arts Federation 
(WESTAF), eight western state arts agencies, and dozens 
of local organizations in over fifty underserved commu- 
nities in the West. Among the many benefits of this 
project is its impact on at-risk youth. The experience of 
writer Jean Blackmon during a residency at a home for 
troubled teens best illustrates this. 

At first, Blackmon wondered what she, a fic- 
tion writer, could offer these teenagers, some of whom 
were runaways, orphans, and victims of abuse and aban- 
donment. Says Blackmon, "Reading and writing fiction 
seemed like such a luxury when taken in the context of 
these troubled young lives." When the kids were asked 
what they liked to read, one young girl provided a re- 
sponse and a reminder to Blackmon of the value of fic- 
tion, regardless of one's life circumstances: "I like fiction 
because it teaches me about life . . . When I read a story, 
I get inside the character and see how she solves her prob- 
lems. Sometimes it helps me with my own problems." 



j^ Western States Arts Federation 

\ Tumblewords is a multistate readings and resi- 
dencies project funded through a collaboration between 




NATIONAL 
ENDOWMENT 

FOR^jj^THE 

ARTS 



National Endowment for the Arts 

1 1 00 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW 

Washington, DC 20506 




National Assembly of State Arts Agencies 

1010 Vermont Avenue, NW, Suite 920 

Washington, DC 20005 





Center for Substance Abuse Prevention 

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration 



Prevention WORKS! 



U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 
Washington, DC 20009 



Office of Juvenile Justice and 
Delinquency Prevention 




Publication Funded by 



ruDiicauon runaea oy 

Bureau of Justice Assistance 



Office of Justice Programs ■ U.S. Department of Justice 



U.S. Department of Justice 
Office of Justice Programs 

Bureau of Juvenile Justice Assistance 

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention 

Washington, DC 20531 



^m M Ortice or Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention y ^ 

M ^ Washington, DC 20531 / ^ ^