Laura Bush, President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, and Three Federal Cultural Agencies Honor 18 Youth Arts and Humanities Programs For Excellence

WASHINGTON, (November 3, 2003)

2003 Coming Up Taller Awards Presented in White House Ceremony

Laura Bush presented the 2003 Coming Up Taller Awards to 18 nonprofit organizations from the U.S. and Mexico in a White House ceremony today. The awards are conferred annually by 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) and recognize the recipients for their outstanding work with underserved youth. Each organization received $10,000. Descriptions of the winning projects are available at The awards ceremony featured performances by exceptionally talented young dancers and singers from two of the winning organizations: the Celebration Team from the National Dance Institute in New York and COCA-Center of Creative Arts in St. Louis.

Laura Bush, Honorary Chair of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, said, "I congratulate this year's Coming Up Taller Award recipients for the exemplary work they are doing in their communities to enrich the lives of young people."

The Coming Up Taller Awards recognize and support outstanding community arts and humanities programs that celebrate the creativity of America's young people, provide them with new learning opportunities, and chances to contribute to their communities. The awards also highlight the contributions that historians, scholars, librarians, and visual and performing artists make to families and communities by mentoring and teaching children.

The Coming Up Taller Awards are made possible by the NEA, NEH, IMLS, and individual, corporate and foundation contributors. The Mexican awards are sponsored by CULTURAL CONTACT/The US-Mexico Foundation for Culture, based in Mexico City.

2003 Coming Up Taller Recipients

United States


  • ARTSTARS, LACER Afterschool Programs (Hollywood)
  • Will Power toYouth, Shakespeare Festival/LA (Los Angeles)
  • Project YIELD, Museum of Children's Art (Oakland)
  • Saint Joseph Ballet (Santa Ana)


  • Hard Cover, Community Television Network (Chicago)
  • Marwen (Chicago)
  • Radio Arte WRTE 90.5 FM, Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum (Chicago)


  • Youth Guide Development Program, Multicultural Tour of What's Now (MYTOWN) (Boston)
  • Project Image, Teen Images and The Place Where I Live, Boston Photo Collaborative, Inc. (Jamaica Plain)


  • AileyCamp, Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey (Kansas City)
  • Pre-Professional Dance Program, COCA‹Center of Creative Arts (St. Louis)


  • Orphan Girl Theatre, Butte Center for the Performing Arts (Butte)

New York:

  • SWAT Team, Celebration Team and Summer Institute, National Dance Institute, Inc. (New York City)
  • Life Lines Community Arts Project, Center for Family Life, St. Christopher-Ottilie, Inc. (Brooklyn)

North Carolina:

  • Community Music School, Inc. (Raleigh)


  • ACES‹Achievement Through Community Service, Education and Skill Building, Please Touch Museum (Philadelphia)



  • MECED-Chimalli Choirs, Tamaulipas Institute for Culture and the Arts (Ciudad Victoria)


  • Community Workshops in the Eight Regions of Our State, Rufino Tamayo Plastic Arts Workshop, Oaxaca Culture Institute (Oaxaca City)

The Partners

Dana Gioia, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, said, "These programs challenge our youth to find the best of themselves through artistic creativity and self-expression. Arts participation, whether in music, dance, theater, visual arts, media arts, or literature, gives children the tools needed to succeed both inside and outside the classroom. I'm proud to recognize these organizations that have contributed so much to their communities."

Bruce Cole, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, said, "The humanities fuel curiosity about the world, inviting a sense of wonder and possibilities. Learning about the history and cultures of the world introduces kids to the ideas that shape who we are and what we hope to be. The NEH is proud to honor those programs that are investing in America's most precious resource -- the hearts and minds of our children."

Robert Martin, Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, said, "Very often a child's first exposure to art and literature occurs at a museum or the local library. IMLS is proud of the after school resources these institutions offer and of the Coming Up Taller programs we award today. Together, we are making a difference in many children's lives."

According to Horacio Lecona, Director of CULTURAL CONTACT/The US-Mexico Foundation for Culture, "The arts and the humanities are essential to civilization, as they uplift our vision of mankind´s higher capabilities and sensibilities. The programs from Mexico who received the Coming Up Taller Award have reported an enormous growth in positive input, interest, support, and recognition, not only within their communities, but on a national scale as well."

The Program

The 18 Coming Up Taller awardees represent an increase in the number of organizations being honored, up from 13 last year, due to growth in the number of exceptional youth arts and humanities programs. Along with today's awardees, the PCAH, NEA, NEH and IMLS also are paying tribute to 34 semi-finalists for their work in providing arts and humanities programming for young people. The list of semifinalists is available at There were 375 nominations from 48 states and the District of Columbia for this year's awards, which were reviewed by a national jury of experts. CULTURAL CONTACT/The US-Mexico Foundation for Culture identified the Mexican winners.

During the program's first six years, more than 2,000 nominations have been submitted from every state in the country. In all, 187 organizations have been recognized for their excellence as semifinalists and 71 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; Cherner Automotive, Arlene and Harvey Cherner; Cranium, Inc.; CULTURAL CONTACT/The US­Mexico Foundation for Culture; GMAC Financial Services; Green Family Foundation; H.E. Butt Grocery Company; The Harman Family Foundation, Jane and Sidney Harman; MetLife Foundation; Miller and Long Companies; John and Lucia Mudd; Caren H. Prothro; The Ruth C. and Charles S. Sharp Foundation, Inc.; Surdna Foundation, Inc.; and the Vin and Caren Prothro Foundation. The Coming Up Taller program is coordinated in collaboration with the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies.

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 exists to foster, preserve, and promote excellence in the arts, to bring art to all Americans, and to provide leadership in arts education.

The National Endowment for the Humanities, an independent grantmaking agency of the U.S. Government, supports learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is an independent Federal grantmaking agency dedicated to creating and sustaining a nation of learners.

For additional information, please visit the following Web sites:
Coming Up Taller:
President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities:
National Endowment for the Arts:
National Endowment for the Humanities:
Institute of Museum and Library Services:

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