2020 Summer Youth Arts Program
The West Palm Beach Center for Arts & Technology (WestPalmCAT) is an organization positioned to positively impact both youth and adults in West Palm Beach. This summer, WestPalmCAT in partnership with the Dreyfoos School of the Arts (DSOA), The Knight Foundation, and the Salvation Army launched the first “Summer Youth Arts Pilot Program” that engaged youth in digital and visual arts training. While the organization plans a world-class facility in the historic Northwest, WestPalmCAT was excited to offer this program.
The WestPalmCAT youth arts programs use the framework established and used for over 50 years at the Manchester Bidwell Corporation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. These youth arts programs are part of a proven educational model that has been replicated in 11 centers worldwide (10 across the United States, 1 in Israel). With an emphasis on mentorship, students are engaged in visual arts, surrounded by a culture of hope, and focused on the future.
The objectives of the program are to:
- Improve student retention and graduation rates
- Promote positive behaviors among teens
- Provide culturally relevant programming in a safe, healthy, and creative environment
- Connect students and programs to the diverse local community
- Introduce students to post-secondary possibilities and opportunities
The WestPalmCAT Youth Arts Summer Program took place in the Historic Northwest neighborhood of West Palm Beach at the Salvation Army Community Center, 600 North Rosemary Avenue. The Program was held between July 1 and July 22, with a public event on July 25. The program included the following components:
- Combination in-person and virtual program in visual arts. COVID-19 has created many disruptions to everyday life. Original plans for the pilot project shifted to a combination of in-person and virtual versions. Technology was provided for students who did not have access to the computers.
- The class had 12 students, primarily from Suncoast High School, Forest Hills High School and Palm Beach Lakes High School. Students met with artists and teachers at the Salvation Army Community Center each Wednesday for 3.5 hours per week for instruction and hands-on activities. Students were sent home with materials and assignments to be completed for the following week.
- Artist instructors virtually checked in with each student during the week.
- The students were provided with a sketch pad and art supplies upon completion of the program.
- A public event was attended by several dozen people, including the students, their families, WestPalmCAT board members and others. It consisted of a display of the work by the students as well as a ceremony in which the students were handed Certificates of Completion. Former Mayor Jeri Muoio, chair of the WestPalmCAT and others spoke to the assembled guests.
A survey of the students was conducted after the program was completed – 100% rated their experience at a 4 or 5 out of 5, and 90% believed their level of art knowledge had grown substantially. Judging from quantitative and qualitative feedback from the students and teachers, the program was deemed a success, with plans to develop more youth arts programming for the summer and fall of 2021.
Erica Prince is a multidisciplinary artist and designer whose work presents opportunities for exploration of potentialities within lifestyle design. Her works have been featured in T: New York Times Style Magazine, Architectural Digest, Design Sponge, Vice, Artsy, Wallpaper, and Canadian Art. Prince earned her BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art and her MFA from Tyler School of Art and Architecture. She has been awarded residencies at Banff Centre, The Vermont Studio Center, The Garrison Institute, and The Fabric Workshop and Museum. Recent projects and exhibitions include Lipstick and Load at Vox Populi Gallery in Philadelphia, a limited edition ceramics collaborations with Of a Kind, Osamu Kobayashi, and Erica Prince at Morgan Lehman Gallery in New York and The Transformational Makeover Salon as a commissioned project for PULSE Miami Beach. She has taught at Tyler School of Art and Architecture, University of The Arts, Arcadia University, and Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia. Prince recently relocated from Brooklyn NY to West Palm Beach FL to teach drawing and printmaking at A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts.
Genesis Allione has devoted her entire life to the Arts as a freelance artist and as an art educator and was a lifelong spectator to the Lake Worth Street Painting Festival in her hometown of Lake Worth, Florida since she was a child. Her first Chalk Art was as a Junior at A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts at the very same festival she loved attending. What started as a joyous avocation throughout the years since 2005, grew into a lifestyle she can't get enough of.
Genesis Now travels all over Florida, getting her toes wet in other states, sharing her unique, colorful style, and her ever-growing knowledge of Chalk Art with the community that she holds dear. She loves to experiment with her artistic 'Coil Effect' style techniques, surfaces, and mediums. When not at events you can find her painting and teaching at L.C. Swain Middle School