Martha Holden Jennings Foundation
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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