Media Center

Power of the Arts Transforms Teens’ Lives

Martha Holden Jennings Foundation
Click here to read the story online.

They  paint,  act,  dance,  and  design. They  mange clients,  record  music,  write each  summer,  teens  from  high  schools   across  Northeast  Ohio  participate  in  an   arts-­based  job-­training  program  called   Artworks.  Sponsored  by  Young  Audiences  of  Northeast  Ohio,  the  program,  which began in 2005 and has been funded  in  part  by  Jennings  grants,  provides   instruction  in  the  arts while  developing   important  career  skills.  
Through  a  paid  internship,  teens   create  high  quality  visual,  digital,  and   performing  art  while  learning  project   management,  communication,  problem   solving,  critical  thinking,  and  presentation skills. They work in groups of 10-12 with professional teaching artists who  serve  as  instructors  and  mentors.   At  the  same  time,  they  engage  in  work-­ shops  to  help  them  navigate  the  college application and financial aid process. At  the  program’s  conclusion  the  groups   showcase  their  work  through  public   performances,  open  house  exhibitions,   and  capstone  presentations.
Young  Audiences  of  Northeast  Ohio
“This  is  a  program  that  really  helps   students  create  their  own  future,”  ex-­ plains  Young  Audiences’  Executive  Director  Marsha  Dobrzynski.
“It’s a life changing experience. Most students come in shy and quiet, but six weeks later, they have a better sense of who they are. It puts them on the path to a successful experience in college or a career.”

In 2012, Artworks  expanded  to   include  an  after  school  component.  New   students,  or  those  who  want  to  continue   beyond  the  summer,  can  apply  for  fall   and  spring  terms,  which  take  place  for   three  hours  on  two  afternoons  a  week.   Ms.  Dobrzynski  describes  the  after   school  venture  as  a  “mini  version”  of   the  summer  experience.  Maya  Curtis,  who  was  an  Artworks   apprentice in 2007 and teaching artist in 2012, worked as a site coordinator this summer.  “What  we  really  offer  students   is  to  have  dreams  and  goals,”  says  the   Shaker  Heights  High  School  grad,  who   earned  a  fashion  business  degree  from
Columbia  College  in  Chicago.  “We  aren’t   saying  we  want  you  to  be  a  painter  or   that  we  want  you  to  grow  up  to  be   an  artist.  But  we  do  want  you  to  have   a  vision.”

Having  experienced  different  aspects  of  the  program  herself,  she  hopes   students  recognize  the  magnitude  of   the  Artworks    experience.  “I  tell  them  to   appreciate  the  kind  of  program  they  are   in  because  I  promise  this  is  non-­existing   later  in  life,”  she  remarks.  “I  tell  them   to  use  all  their  teachers  as  resources   because  every  single  person  here  wants   to  see  them  succeed  and  go  beyond  this   program. “Most  importantly,”  she  adds,  “I  hope   they  feel  inspired  by  themselves  and  by   each  other.”

For  further  information  contact: Ms.  Marsha  Dobrzynski Young  Audiences  of  Northeast  Ohio,  Inc. 13110  Shaker  Square,  Suite  C203 Cleveland,  Ohio  44120-­2313

Comments are closed.