PAAM’s After School Youth Arts Program Honored by White House



Provincetown, MA: The Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM) is thrilled to announce that Art Reach, PAAM’s after school youth program, was among 12 programs invited to the White House today by First Lady Michelle Obama to receive the 2013 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award.

Lynn Stanley, PAAM’s Curator of Education, and 16-year-old Art Reach student Lukas Hernandez of Provincetown, MA will attend the award ceremony at the White House this afternoon.

The award recognizes exemplary after-school and out-of-school time programs from across the country. It is the highest national honor awarded to such programs. The programs were recognized for using engagement in the arts and the humanities to increase academic achievement, graduation rates, and college enrollment, as well as improve literacy and language abilities, communication and  performance skills, and cultural awareness. The awardees were chosen from a pool of more than 350 nominations and 50 finalists.

Through these programs, young people are discovering their creative voices, developing a stronger sense of who they are as individuals, and gaining a deeper understanding of the world around them,” wrote Mrs. Obama in the program for the award ceremony. “And, as young people  navigate today’s challenges, the programs we are honoring offer safe harbors that cultivate enthusiasm for learning, support academic achievement, and promote college readiness.

First presented in 1998, the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, is the signature program of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH), and is presented in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

These 12 programs offer living proof that engaging youth in the arts or humanities increases their likelihood of doing well in school, graduating high school, and going on to college,” said Rachel Goslins, executive director of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. “In the process, these programs are changing their lives and preparing them for success in school, in work, and in life.

Goslins pointed to research showing that youth engaged in arts or humanities programs are more likely to stay in school, get higher grades, graduate high school, and enroll in college. The benefits of this involvement increase over time, and these youth are more likely than their peers to attend and do well in college, obtain employment with a future, volunteer in their communities and participate in the political process by voting.

The East Room ceremony featured a performance by one of this year’s awardees, the Ifetayo Youth Ensemble of Brooklyn, which empowers youth to boldly confront issues that directly affect their lives by immersing themselves in African culture and history through drumming, dancing, and storytelling. Their involvement in the program fosters skills in collective decision-making, research, highly rigorous artistic training and teamwork.

The ceremony also included a speech by 12-year-old Danashiya Pritchard, a participant in Project AIM in El Paso, Texas. Project AIM reaches over 1,000 children battling cancer in two area hospitals, offering art-mediated therapy in painting on canvas, printmaking, and graphic arts, among other art forms. Over Project AIM’s fourteen-year history, over 250 pieces of the patients’ artwork has been showcased in more than six venues in the El Paso area.

The International Spotlight Award was presented to Kuruka Maisha Foundation, an arts school in Nairobi, Kenya, which uses intensive training in circus and performing arts to help Nairobi’s street children find a pathway out of poverty.

In addition to their recognition at the White House, each of the 12 community-based programs will receive $10,000 and a year of communications and capacity-building support from the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. Louis Vuitton is the corporate sponsor of the 2013 award program, and Fox Audience Strategy is the national media partner.

Download PDF of Release: Press Release PAAM at White House