This summer saw the launch of Urban Arts’ Peapod Adobe Youth Voices Academy whose mission is to promote the intellectual, social and artistic development of underserved public school students by delivering cutting edge arts programs designed to develop student voice, strengthen academic performance and position graduates as agents of change in their communities.
Throughout July and August, 100 students created stunning original artworks, bringing awareness to pressing social issues like undocumented students attending public schools, while also getting back on track academically in the Fresh Prep program through retaking and passing their Regents exams.
At Gregorio Luperon High School in Washington Heights, 66% of the students re-taking the test after the three-week Fresh Prep program (all of whom are English Language Learners) passed their US History Regents exam with one student increasing her score by 33 points. And at New Design High School, 83% of students passed their Global History Regents with a 16% average point increase and one student increasing her score by 30 points. If these results weren’t exciting enough, Fresh Prep was also covered this summer by The New York Times and The Early Show!
30 young filmmakers in the Media Lab program have spent their summer producing the original documentary short Undocumented, Unafraid. The film explores the circumstances of undocumented youth in the U.S. The students extensively researched the topic, interviewed experts and activists, and are now in the editing phase of the process. Meanwhile, last year’s Media Lab project TypeCast continues to impact audiences – most recently at the New York International Latino Film Festival.
Urban Arts Partnership’s Master Poets program is a collection of UAP’s most dedicated poets, lyricists and songwriters. Over a 3-week intensive summer session held at the Dixon Place Theater, the Master Poets worked towards the creation of a full-length album comprised of both original poems and songs. They visited The Hook Studio in Brooklyn to work on their recordings, and were joined by Artistic Board member and hip hop artist Pharoahe Monch. The final showcase exhibition,“The Summer Session” was held in The Lounge at the Dixon Place on August 11th.
Summer 2011 launched a new program called CREW (Creating Responses for an Emerging World), for students who are passionate about visual arts and social justice. Together, they chose teen suicide as the subject of their artwork and decided to create a 3D sculpture to create awareness about the issue. The students took their sculpture to Union Square where they discussed its inspiration and purpose with passersby.
Teaching Artist Ben Rojas: “Allowing the students to take control of the project resulted in me witnessing an awesome feeling of pride and independence from the youth.”
Following up on performances that brought the house down at both The Prom and theAcademy Press Launch event, our very own Academy “AFC Crew” shared the stage this summer with the Black Eyed Peas in San Jose, CA for the Adobe Youth Voices (AYV) Summit. They worked hard with Teaching Artist Michelle Seabreeze to develop original choreography to the Black Eyed Peas song “I Gotta Feeling.” At the same event, AFC Crew also collaborated on a multimedia dance performance with The Red Wood City Adobe Youth Voices Academy.
The summer Life Stories session has been hosted by our partner, The New Group Theater Company, at its midtown space. On July 30th, students in the Life Stories Youth Ensemble performed at the Lucille Lortel Theater to debut seven new original plays created by their peers in the Naranjo-Golder Playwriting program over the fall and spring.
On behalf of Urban Arts Partnership, thank you to the Peapod Foundation, Abode Foundation, Entertainment Industry Foundation, Heckscher Foundation, Tiger Foundation, NBC Universal Foundation, The National Endowment for The Arts, New York State Council on The Arts, The New Group, Barbara Osher and Montblanc North America, whose support makes the Peapod Adobe Youth Voices Academy possible.