Coming Up Taller Awards Program Marks Fifth Anniversary Celebration
Washington, D.C. (Dec. 2, 2002) - The President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH), National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) today honor 13 organizations across the U.S. and in Mexico for their outstanding work with underserved youth through the Coming Up Taller Awards. In a ceremony on Capitol Hill marking the fifth anniversary of Coming Up Taller, Laura Bush, Honorary Chair of the President's Committee, and the renowned actor, choreographer and director Debbie Allen, a member of the Committee, will present the awards. Each organization will receive $10,000.
These 13 awards recognize excellence in community-based, after-school arts and humanities programs that demonstrate the power of these disciplines to encourage young people's creativity. The winning programs provide children and youth with learning opportunities, chances to contribute to their community, and ways to take responsibility for their own futures. The awards also celebrate the contributions of historians, scholars, librarians, and visual and performing artists to families and communities by mentoring and teaching children.
"Today, more than ever, it's so important for people to work together on behalf of children," said Laura Bush. "I applaud the arts, education and community leaders who have made a difference in the lives of our youth by encouraging them to reach their potential."
The Coming Up Taller program is made possible by the NEA, NEH, IMLS, and corporate and foundation contributors. The Mexican awards are sponsored by Cultural Contact, The U.S.-Mexico Fund for Culture, based in Mexico City.
2002 Coming Up Taller Recipients
- California: Community Heritage Project, Los Cenzontles Mexican Arts Center (San Pablo)
- California: Young Artists at Work, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco)
- District of Columbia: DC Youth Orchestra Program (Washington)
- Florida: Dance - The Next Generation, Sarasota Ballet of Florida, Inc. (Sarasota)
- Louisiana: NORD/NOBA Center for Dance, New Orleans Recreation Department/New Orleans Ballet Association (New Orleans)
- Maine: A Company of Girls, East End Children's Workshop (Portland)
- New York: Arts in Education Program in Architecture & Design/Community Studies, Henry Street Settlement (New York City)
- New York: Museum Team Afterschool Program, Brooklyn Children's Museum, Inc. (Brooklyn)
- North Carolina: Youth Document Durham, Center for Documentary Studies (Durham)
- North Dakota: STudents At Risk - STAR, Trollwood Performing Arts School (Fargo)
- Texas: SAY Si, San Antonio Youth YES! (San Antonio)
Factory of Arts and Crafts of the East (Iztapalapa, Mexico City)
Cultural Workshops in Underserved Areas Program, Municipal Center for the Arts (Mazatlan, Sinaloa)
Descriptions of the projects are listed at the end of this press release.
The awards ceremony includes performances and presentations representing several of this year's winners: the DC Youth Orchestra; Los Cenzontles, a company of musicians and dancers; and Zakiya Jemott, a fifth grader in the Museum Team program of the Brooklyn Children's Museum. On this fifth anniversary occasion, the ceremony will close with a performance by Kendall Gladen, a young singer from the St. Louis Opera Artist-in-Training program, which won a Coming Up Taller Award in 2001.
Eileen B. Mason, Senior Deputy Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, said, "The arts engage our children in unique and profound ways. Whether through dancing, painting, or writing, young people not only gain competence in a specific art form, but have the opportunity to learn valuable life and job skills that can help them succeed in school, at work and in their communities."
Bruce Cole, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, stated, "These programs offer outstanding opportunities for children to learn about the humanities through oral histories, urban design and the visual arts. It is a pleasure to recognize the programs for nurturing the talents of our young people."
Robert Martin, Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, indicated, "Throughout our lives, libraries and museums make it possible for us to choose to learn; they are centers of community engagement and intergenerational learning. We at IMLS are proud of this award, which underscores that learning doesn't begin or end at the school house door."
"We firmly believe in the importance of the arts and humanities in children's and young people's essential development. These awards promote excellence in the programs dedicated to making the arts a valuable tool, which will stimulate their creativity. Interaction with colleagues from another country plants the seeds of mutual knowledge, understanding, collaboration and good will among young people from both nations," said Horacio Lecona, Director of Cultural Contact, The U.S.-Mexico Fund for Culture.
Along with today's 13 Coming Up Taller awardees, the PCAH, NEA, NEH and IMLS also are paying tribute to 39 semifinalists for their work in providing arts and humanities programming for young people. There were 368 nominations from 47 states and the District of Columbia for this year's awards, which were reviewed by a national jury of experts. Cultural Contact/The U.S.-Mexico Fund for Culture identified the Mexican winners.
During the program's first five years, more than 1,800 nominations have been submitted from every state in the country. In all, 165 organizations have been recognized for their excellence as semi-finalists and 53 have received $10,000 awards for their achievements with children.
In addition to the NEA, NEH and IMLS, supporters of the Coming Up Taller Awards include Beth Singer Design; Cranium Inc.; FranklinCovey; GMAC Financial Services; Green Family Foundation; The Harman Family Foundation, Jane and Sidney Harman; Institute for Civil Society; JoAnn McGrath; MetLife Foundation; and Surdna Foundation. Support from Cultural Contact, The U.S.-Mexico Fund for Culture is provided with assistance from Mr. Eugenio Lopez Alonso.
The President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities bridges the interests of federal agencies and the private sector, supports special projects that increase participation, and helps to incorporate the humanities and the arts into White House objectives.
The National Endowment for the Arts provides national recognition and support to significant projects of artistic excellence, thus preserving and enhancing our nation's diverse cultural heritage.
The National Endowment for the Humanities is an independent grantmaking agency of the U.S. Government dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation and public programs in the humanities.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is an independent federal agency that promotes leadership, innovation and a lifetime of learning by supporting the nation's museums and libraries.
For additional information, please visit the following Web sites:
Coming Up Taller: www.cominguptaller.org 
President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities: www.pcah.gov 
National Endowment for the Arts: www.arts.gov 
National Endowment for the Humanities: www.neh.gov 
Institute of Museum and Library Services: www.imls.gov 
2002 COMING UP TALLER AWARDEES
Community Heritage Project
Los Cenzontles Mexican Arts Center
San Pablo, CA
This school of the arts gives young people from the Mexican and Mexican immigrant community in West Contra Costa County an opportunity to learn about and develop their interest in dance and music, train with masters of various Mexican traditions, participate in educational trips and exchanges with Veracruz, Mexico, and tour music festivals to perform. LCMAC also trains and mentors youth to serve in administrative positions at the Center.
Young Artists at Work
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
San Francisco, CA
Through Young Artists at Work, accomplished practicing artists are linked to inner-city high school youth to encourage the creation of art, cultivate artistic literacy, and develop job and life skills through a one-year paid training and residency program. This year, participants worked with a cartoon artist, a filmmaker, and a West African dance expert. In addition, they sign and agreement to practice such practical life skills as punctuality, respect, and self-discipline. A partnership with the San Francisco School District's Regional Occupation Program/Career and Technical Education Office, Young Artists young people also are linked to cultural organizations in the city, such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Jewish Museum of San Francisco, and The Cartoon Museum.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
DC Youth Orchestra Program
Using no audition process, this 40 year-old youth orchestra takes children from all walks of life and gives them the opportunity to become successful musicians. A special outreach effort recruits children from lower-income neighborhoods. The program has three objectives: to maintain a center for affordable, high quality instruction in instrumental music for children; to develop a youth orchestra capable of competing successfully at the national and international levels; and to instill in children the discipline and focus to succeed academically as well as musically. Students in the program are given opportunities that many would not otherwise have imagined: performing at the White House or traveling on tour in South Africa.
Dance - The Next Generation
Sarasota Ballet of Florida, Inc.
This after-school, seven-year full scholarship program for disadvantaged children provides structured dance classes and daily assistance with homework, nutrition, social etiquette, public speaking, and, when necessary, counseling. Some graduates receive four-year college scholarships to one of the partner institutions: University of South Florida, Sarasota Campus, and Manatee Community College.
NORD/NOBA Center for Dance
New Orleans Recreation Department/New Orleans Ballet Association
New Orleans, LA
This cultural partnership between the New Orleans Recreation Department and the New Orleans Ballet Association infuses the everyday lives of inner-city students with the arts, especially dance. In addition to rigorous classes in ballet and modern dance, participants keep dance journals, study dance history, take cultural field trips, benefit from dance residencies by well-known artists, and participate in a work/study program and career workshops with their parents to plan for the future.
A Company of Girls
East End Children's Workshop
A safe haven and multi-faceted program for predominantly low-income, pre-adolescent girls, many of whom have been abused, A Company of Girls provides an innovative and effective way to learn about the arts -- theater production, creative writing, dance, and the visual arts -- and to develop life skills. King Lear is transformed into Queen Lear, an all-girl production that gives its cast members a chance to explore familial relationships as well as learn the craft of theater. Lord of the Flies is rewritten for an all-girl "gang" and a vehicle for an exploration of bullying.
Arts in Education Program in Architecture & Design/Community Studies
Henry Street Settlement
New York, NY
Henry Street Settlement, a venerable arts and social services agency, is the home of this ten year-old comprehensive architecture, design and community studies project for children ages 7-13. It integrates the humanities with design studies in both in-school and extended day and weekend activities at the Abrons Arts Center, and in schools. Through neighborhood walks, visits to architects' studios and lessons in design, urban planning and local histories, participants learn about their neighborhoods and architecture and design. They then apply their new skills to a specific project, such as researching the history of a tenement building, constructing scale models of a local synagogue, creating murals or designing bridges.
Museum Team Afterschool Program
Brooklyn Children's Museum, Inc.
In its 15th year of operation, the Museum Team stands as one of the Brooklyn Children's Museum's greatest programming accomplishments. A free, tiered, year-round humanities, community involvement, and arts program for children, mostly from the Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhoods, Museum Team lets children come on a drop-in basis for after-school, weekend, school holiday and summertime activities. They learn about the museum's resources, including its collections, greenhouse, library, live animals, and computer technology. They visit other area museums and shadow Brooklyn Museum staff or work as interns. They learn about different careers and team up with museum mentors from the arts, science or technology. It is the only institution in the neighborhood providing formal cultural programming and the only one open on weekends and offering volunteer positions and paid internships to give older children an introduction to work.
Youth Document Durham
Center for Documentary Studies
A summer and after-school program, led by a culturally diverse Youth Advisory Board, Youth Document Durham provides instruction and experience in oral history interviewing, visual arts, photography, research, and writing to middle-school age children. As the Director of Programs of the North Carolina Humanities Council writes, this program "guides young people, ages 12-15, in using the humanities and the arts to explore their own understanding and vision of how they can participate as leaders in and resources for their local community."
Students At Risk - STAR
Trollwood Performing Arts School
This youth development and performing arts organization started 24 years ago as a partnership of the public schools and local park district. Today, it also works with the court system, immigration service providers, and social services agencies through its Students At Risk - STAR program to provide additional structure, mentoring, and transportation services to special needs students so they can more successfully participate in the arts education and community entertainment opportunities at Trollwood.
SAY Si, San Antonio Youth YES!
San Antonio, TX
A year-round, community arts and youth development organization for urban high school and middle school students, SAY SI gives underserved young people the chance to use their creative talents, as well as marketing and entrepreneurial skills, in preparation for higher educational advancement and professional careers. Operating in two studios, high school students study drawing, painting, sculpture, book arts, and art history, and respond to commissions for their work. Other sessions focus on technology-based skills, including Web site development, animation, filmmaking, digital photography, and graphic design.
Centro Municipale Artes - Municipal Center for the Arts
Located in the port city of Mazatlan on the west coast of Mexico, the Centro Municipale Artes is known for the breadth and depth of its offerings in the arts to all, including those young people living in rural communities where arts learning opportunities are minimal. Through its Cultural Workshops in Marginalized Zones program, these children participate in workshops in literature, visual arts and theater offered by top area artist-teachers. In addition, the center also offers scholarships to children with artistic potential.
Fabrica de Artes y Oficios/Faro de Oriente - Factory of Arts and Crafts of the East
Iztapalapa, Mexico City
In a dramatic building that reflects its mission as a cultural oasis, this cultural center offers free exhibitions, concerts, theatrical performances and films. It also has a school of arts and crafts that offers a range of workshops in everything from sculpture to paper-maché, dance, toy making, theater and music to children and young adults who live in one of the most impoverished communities in Mexico City.