Words vs Pictures – Art for Social Change
Children living in low income neighborhoods have unequal access to the arts and arts education. Almost half of the schools in certain Bronx areas don’t have either certified arts teachers or partnerships with arts or cultural organizations. The arts is necessary in providing a well-rounded education and every child should have access to it no matter their socio-economic status.
Tricia Smith, Founder
I founded Artsmith because I am troubled by what is going on in the borough where I grew up and still call home. I’ve already mentioned the lack of arts education in Bronx schools but there’s more. There are 144 schools in New York State that are in receivership because of how poorly they are performing. Almost 25% of those schools are in the Bronx alone. This is not surprising considering the Bronx is the poorest county in the state.
Earlier this year an article in USA Today revealed that:
* The median income in the Bronx is 41% lower than the state’s median
* Less than 70% of the adults in the borough have a high school diploma, one of the lowest rates in the entire country
* Almost 30% of its residents live in poverty
* Less than 1 out of 5 homes were owned by their occupants compared to the rest of the country where almost 2/3 of the homes are owned by their occupants
With the odds stacked against Bronxites at all stages of life, it’s imperative that we do whatever it takes to break the cycle and give our children the tools they need to succeed. Artsmith endeavors to provide quality arts programming to underserved young people from the Bronx. The arts teach young people to express themselves while helping them build confidence, learn about teamwork and perseverance, and form social bonds. Art, in all its forms, also has an ability unmatched by other methods to allow people of all ages to develop empathy for others and to imagine the world in ways previously unforeseen. Studies have also shown that arts education helps students succeed in other academic areas.
Community members tell us why they are Artsmith at an event!
Ultimately, Artsmith will use the arts as a tool to help the youth who are usually silenced find and use their voices to be part of the conversation that will shape the future of the world they live in. Artsmith is built on the premise that the world is better served by all people having equal opportunities.
We couldn’t express the importance of words any better. That is why our first program is a literary arts program.
Words vs. Pictures, Our Inaugural Program
Words vs. Pictures is modeled after a book club and is designed to use literature to spark dialogue about pressing societal issues. The program is designed to foster a culture of reading and discussion. It will also teach the participants to express themselves in different ways. Participants will be required to complete both writing and visual arts projects related to their readings and in the process develop the confidence and interpersonal communication skills essential for success in an increasingly interconnected world. The goals for the program are to
* Spark dialogue about current events and issues relevant to our participants
* Encourage deliberate and reflective reading
* Promote artistic expression of ideas and feelings
* Develop critical thinking skills
* Foster an appreciation of and respect for different cultures, ideals, and points of view
With A Little Help from Our Friends…
We’ve also partnered with Prep for Prep to add a peer mentorship component to our programming. Prep for Prep is arguably the nation’s most successful program in identifying and preparing exceptional students of color for achievement at rigorous independent schools and, ultimately, for leadership roles in our society. Over 90% of the Prep’s college graduates have earned their degrees from the most competitive colleges and universities in the country, 36% of them from Ivy League schools. Over 40% have earned advanced degrees. We know that pairing our students with the Prep for Prep students well help them see possibilities for their future that they never imagined.
Please visit us on the web at http://www.artsmith.org/.
– See more at: http://startsomegood.com/Venture/artsmith/Campaigns/Show/words_vs_pictures__art_for_social_change#sthash.w3wSts28.dpuf