“You’ve seen how the arts and humanities can broaden their horizons and help them discover a talent or a mission or a sense of purpose that they never knew they had."
--First Lady Michelle Obama National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards 2010
First Lady Michelle Obama presented the 2010 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards (NAHYP) at a ceremony in the East Room of the White House on October 20. Groups from 15 communities in the U.S and Haiti were honored for their outstanding arts and humanities programs that celebrate the creativity of young people and the ability of these program to not only cultivate skills for individual academic success, but dramatically affect their communities.
“This year's NAHYP Awardees exemplify how arts and humanities programs outside of the school setting can impact the lives of our young people,” says Margo Lion, Co-Chairman, President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. “By tapping imagination, encouraging collaboration and teaching discipline students achieve greater success and are opened up to the possibilities of a new and hopeful future.”
The field of cultural after-school programs is as diverse as the needs of the young people they serve. The 2010 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards honored programs whose settings range from both inner-city and rural cultural institutions to community centers to libraries, zoos and museums. Whether they are a storefront of classical musicians teaching string instruments, a jazz ensemble, or passion-driven humanities curriculum that makes learning fun, the participants in these National Arts and Humanities Youth Programs all share a common experience summed up by First Lady Michelle Obama in her remarks to the awardees.
“You’re showing our students that each of them has something valuable to contribute to this life. And you’re opening their eyes to a world of possibility that awaits them –- one work of art, one relationship, one lifetime at a time.”
Speaking at the ceremony, NAHYP recipient Mariana Sanchez spoke of her experience in Washington, DC’s After-School Playwriting Program, which she enrolled in learn to English. This became more than language lessons as she said she witnessed the power of her words when the audience cried and laughed during the performance of her play and “now here I am addressing the first lady of the United States.”
Since 1998, these awards have been presented as the Coming Up Taller Awards to outstanding organizations engaged in out–of-school and after-school youth arts and humanities programs. Although the program acquired a new identity this year as the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, each award still comes with a $10,000 cash grant, but in the spirit of change, there is now enhanced leadership development support for each organization—a year-long effort to nurture networking and raise the visibility of these programs that are making a measurable difference in the lives of young people and their communitiies.
The recipients include:
|After-School Playwriting Program, Youth Playwrights'
Theater Inc. Washington, DC
Brooklyn Cultural Adventures Program
Center for Community Arts Partnerships
FACT After-School Programs
Santa Fe, NM
Girlstories Theatre Project and Workshops
Mentors of Minorities in Education Inc.
New Directions YouthArts
Las Vegas, NV
RiverzEdge Arts Project
San Francisco WritersCorps
San Francisco, CA
Scripps College Academy
Artists Collective's Transforming the Lives of High Risk Youth: Training in the Arts & Culture of the African Diaspora, Hartford, CT
New York, NY
The Jean Baptiste Dessaix Music School in Jacmel, Haiti, received the International Spotlight Award.
Joining First Lady Michelle Obama and PCAH Co-Chairmen George Stevens, Jr. and Margo Lion in presenting the awards to participants in each program were Vice-Chairman Mary Schmidt Campbell and representatives from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Special guests included Haitian Ambassador Joseph.