CITY OF WASHINGTON, DC
Life Pieces To Masterpieces, Inc.'s
LPTM, is a non-profit, arts, community-based organization committed to turning around this trend. Founded in 1997 by visual artist, Larry B. Quick, a graduate of the Corcoran School of Art who grew up in Washington, D.C.'s public housing neighborhoods, LPTM provides a consistent atmosphere of love, security and expression for African-American males, ages 5-21, living in the district's low-income and public housing communities. Within this nurturing environment, LPTM Apprentices are guided through an intensive three-part process, Connecting, Creating and Contributing.
They are engaged in this process, 6 - 7 days per week, 4-8 hours per day, after-school, in the summer and on holidays. LPTM Apprentices and their families are coached in the application of an innovative decision-making tool (Generation LPTM Shield of Faith). This octagon-shaped, shield is color-coded similar to the standard color wheel; however, LPTM Apprentices were creative and added brown and black. Each side of this octagon represents the eight core values of Life Pieces. This tool is Life Pieces' secret weapon in combating substance abuse; violence; teen-pregnancy; child -abuse/neglect; the spread of HIV and other STD's.
With love, security and expression'. LPTM's simple three part process and innovative decision-making tool. Life Pieces' participants are connected to their own life experiences and the experiences of others. They are developing self-expression through visual art, poetry, storytelling, dance and drumming. LPTM Apprentices are building leadership skills as tenured participants share what they have learned with newer and younger apprentices. Our creative approach enables our participants to contribute to their own families, neighborhoods and diverse communities through Community Arts Experiences' which LPTM Apprentices unveil their vibrant, sewn, acrylic paint on canvas, collage creations and share their stories through poetry, prose, rap, stepping and drumming.
A final ingredient in Life Pieces To Masterpieces' program design is LPTM Enterprises and Galleries. This is our fund - raising initiative in which we partnered with a professional printer. Adamson Editions, the Eugene & Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, the Q.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts to produce our first print portfolio. These prints are currently being purchased by corporations, foundations and individuals who appreciate "finer art". LPTM Enterprises and Galleries' scheduled to begin the production of posters and post cards in February, 2000. The revenue generated from this initiative will benefit our apprentices and the organization.
In its short life-time, Life Pieces has conducted over 140 Community Arts Experiences' the b.C. Metro area and nationally, with a total audience population exceeding 20,000 people. Life Pieces made history at the National Academy of Sciences for being the first group of children and youth artists invited by Arts in the Academy to exhibit (See video tape in Supplemental Materials). We have presented at several national conferences and forums such as the National Crime Prevention Council Conference, Neighborhood Reinvestment Institute, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, U.S. department of Justice and the President's Committee on Arts and Humanities. LPTM Apprentices reached their artistic goal for 1997-1999, to complete 100 paintings and have already exceeded their artistic goal of 25 paintings for 1999. Life Pieces' celebrates a 95% retention rate of its participants since 1997, with over 80% demonstrating marked improvements in school attendance, academic performance, family and peer relationships and a broader vision of possibilities for their futures. Note that all LPTM participants literally walk in from the streets. Word of mouth. Community Arts Experiences and exhibits have been the primary sources of recruitment.
Today, Life Pieces has a waiting list of over 300 children and youth who have either contacted us directly or have been referred by counselors, clergy or adult family members. There is no special criteria for recruitment other than coming in willing to learn and hungry for something more than what the streets have to offer. Lastly, LPTM has been featured in several local and national publications including The Chronicle of Philanthropy. The Washing ton Post and Fox 5 Morning News.
Mayor Williams has provided us with tremendous support by pointing us in the direction of potential partnerships that could aid us in fulfilling our mission. D.C. Commission on Arts and Humanities provided Life Pieces with two grants that have facilitated our securing professional, organization management assistance and supported one of our special, summer projects.
Currently, most of Life Pieces's revenue is generated from grants awarded by private foundations and corporations; contributions and honorariums.
Sign of the Times
The students successfully completed the mural project under the tutelage of professional muralists. Two of the muralists, Mike Easton and Desmond Howard are both Howard University alumni where they received their MFA's. Their work has been exhibited and published locally and as far away as Jamaica. The students were guided by these and other highly qualified muralists with the designs, research and rendering of the mural from conception. The students were able to see the comprehensive development of the project, step by step with the guidance of these muralists. The students were very receptive to learn and then apply their knowledge. The muralists were mentors for the students and taught them how to deal with changes in the conditions of the project, adversity within those changes and how to prepare for and meet deadlines.
The Multi-Cultural American Journey theme was established because of the location of the mural at 12th and Constitution to reflect and represent the various cultures of the nation's capitol. The students were expected to decide which cultures would be included in the first phase and to then research those cultures. Next, the students gather an assortment of shapes, symbols, textures, foods, religions and elements particular to that culture. After researching the various cultures, the students then select and assemble these elements into a design. Once the design is finalized, the students then begin the process of creating the mural. This includes perspective, color theory and equipment safety and care. The final step is the unveiling of the mural to the public, here the students celebrate all of their hard work and efforts at seeing the finished product.
There are many ways in which Sign of the Times encourages students to participate in the mural program. We collaborate with the local and public school principals and art teachers in order to recruit prospective and qualified students. The students and administrators are given a detailed presentation about our history, some of our previous mural projects and the positions available if they choose to participate. The students have the potential to earn wages through the DC Summerworks Program and
others are awarded scholarships for participation. The students primarily work outdoors in the metropolitan DC area. Sign of the Times provides a unique situation for these students and their peers to work, learn and create together. The city is a canvas that will allow the students to display their work for many spectators to view in a highly visible cultural area throughout the year. In addition, the students receive publicity from the media, getting the recognition that they deserve and may not otherwise receive.
In the beginning, there is an orientation period that the students must learn to understand issues of teamwork, to follow specific guidelines and to meet rigid deadlines. Sign of the Times requires that the students honor the conditions, policies and goals of the program. The students are provided with social awareness and development with the support of many organizations and government programs. The DC Partnerships Prevention Program provides students with preventative literature and speakers about drug and alcohol prevention. The Marshall Heights Community Development Organization provides community based support services for development and economic funding. The public schools provide resources and an opportunity for the students to be exposed to and involved with cultural events and
projects within the DC area through collaboration with Sign of the Times. Safe Summers, a federal program, offers funding to ensure that the students have a safe, supportive and enriching summer environment. These are some of the programs that Sign of the Times is involved with to give the students a well rounded and informative environment where they can learn and enable themselves to live safe and productive lives.
Overall, we see the program making a positive impact on the students attitudes in their participation with the program. The students learn every step of the way and become more invested in the project through each learning experience. This augments their pride and the value of their work as well as their working relationships with peers and instructors. The principles and teachers have observed the students enthusiasm and dedication to the project. The positive impact on the students has motivated administrators to endorse the program and to encourage students to participate with the program.
Investigating Where We Live
Investigating Where We Live is the National Building Museum's summer Outreach Program. This five-week, two days-per-week program serves up to 25 at-risk middle and high school students from the District of Columbia public schools. Although teachers and administrators in the District of Columbia public schools are committed to providing positive role models and a supportive school environment, limited resources often hamper their efforts. The schools offer little or no arts education, the drop-out rate is discouraging, many students do not pursue post-secondary education, and classes are overcrowded. Through Investigating Where We Live, the Museum offers students enjoyable and challenging activities that broaden their horizons and expose them to opportunities for positive change.
Program Design and Curriculum
Since 1995, the Museum has used Investigating Where We Live to introduce students to photography as a means of describing and understanding communities. The Museum staff provide a program that is relevant, effective, and exciting. Investigating Where We Live provides intensive one-on-one instruction for participants. The program typically involves a minimum of four full-time Museum education staff, along with three professional mentors, and five undergraduate or graduate interns. The mentors and interns represent a variety of fields, including photography, architecture, art, and education. The Museum makes every effort to recruit African American professionals and interns to offer the participants multi cultural role models.
Each of the ten six-hour sessions includes time spent both at the Museum and in the field. The program culminates in a student-designed exhibition shown at the National Building Museum. The students learn how to create and display this exhibition, displayed on three-by-five foot boards. Each design must include: a theme (idea or subject); a thesis (opinion or statement) about the theme; and a graphic design (layout, including color, text, and images) that reinforces the theme and the thesis.
All participants are given a 35 mm camera to use for the program and to keep, and they retain control of their negatives at the end of the program. Lunch and transportation to all field trip sites are provided to each student, as well as all materials required to complete the program. Students are required to attend each session on time and participate in the activities outlined.
Curriculum Outline Session Description
Discuss culture and identity in the built environment. Identify how students define self and others. Identify parts of the built environment that communicate culture. First day of photography. Field trip: Malcolm X/Meridian Hill Park Review photo proof sheets. Explore the physical aspects of house versus the emotional aspects of home. Creative writing assignment: discuss the lyrics of popular songs about house and home. Photograph community sites and interview local residents. Field trip: visit local residents and tour All Souls Unitarian Church.
Analyze photos for composition, lighting, and mood. Explore how DC is represented in the media. Review publications for neighborhoods used to represent the city as a whole and if students' home communities are included. Create a collage of images describing Washington. Visit the "famous" neighborhoods in the city.
Review photo proof sheets. Visit and evaluate exhibits at the Museum. Visit other galleries and museums. Field trips: Exhibit Design Dept. at the National Gallery of Art; the Museum of American Art; (1999) Charles & Ray Earnes exhibit at the Library of Congress. Review photo proof sheets. Examine graphic design and organizing elements of an exhibit. Introduction to GIS mapping software.
Review photo proof sheets. Visit Washingtonian Collection at Martin Luther King, Jr. Library or the Historical Society of Washington, DC. Plan design of exhibit. Review photo proof sheets. Exhibit preparation. Field trips: Processing centers for Penn Camera, District Photo, or photo lab of Corcoran School of Art.
Exhibit preparation. Finish exhibition and mount materials Discuss project with reporters. Install exhibit furniture and mount exhibit panels. Attend reception.
For the first time, this year the Museum formed a partnership with the Municipal Art Society of New York to offer Investigating Where We Live in New York City. The exhibition featuring the work of both District of Columbia and New York City students was displayed first at the National Building Museum beginning August 12 and then in New York City at the Municipal Arts Society from October 12 through October 30. Investigating Where We Live is the first youth education program ever sponsored by the Municipal Arts Society.
The Museum has received several inquiries from institutions interested in the Investigating Where We Live curriculum. The Museum in the process of creating a replicable curriculum and will be working with several of these institutions to help them implement the program next summer. The National Building Museum has created an ongoing interest in design among participants. Students form relationships with Museum staff and volunteers, and return for other programs. Thus, Investigating Where We Live is part of a continuum of hands-on design programs at the National Building Museum. The Museum also offers CityVision, a 14-week design program for middle school students available each semester during the school year. Also available to students is the Shaw EcoVillage Summer Internship in Sustainability. The Museum has entered into a partnership with the Shaw EcoVillage Project to teach high school student basic skills of architecture and urban design with critical thinking and problem-solving skills on issues of sustainable development.
Community Involvement and Financial Support On Monday, October 25th, the National Building Museum received the Mayor's Arts Award for an Outstanding Contribution to Arts Education for our youth education programs. Now in its 15th year, the Mayor's Arts Awards celebrate the District of Columbia's cultural vitality, acknowledging individuals and organizations that contribute to the city's cultural life.
We are pleased that The Honorable Anthony A. Williams, Mayor of Washington, DC, and the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities have chosen to recognize the efforts of National Building Museum. Generous support specifically for Investigating Where We Live was provided this year from DC Weed and Seed Safe Summer 1999; District Photo, Inc.; Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc.; Penn Camera, Inc.; the Polaroid Foundation; and Ritz Camera Centers. Support is also provided through funding of our School and Outreach Programs as a whole.
Andrew Cacho African Drummers & Dancers, Inc.
Since 1969 the Andrew Cacho African Drummers & Dancers, Inc., (ACADD) has offered in depth cultural performing arts training in the under served community of Southeast Anacostia in Washington, DC. ACADD introduces students to the cultural and artistic significance of African and Caribbean drumming, and dancing as an essential element of their education and heritage. In addition, will culturally enhance the Southeast community, and the city.
ACADD has dedicated three decades of service to children and teens providing competent, professional instruction and training to those seeking an artistic experience is an important mission of ACADD. Located East of the River at the Church of the Holy Communion 3640 Martin Luther King Av SE on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 5-8 p.m. and Saturday from 12-3 p.m.. This project operates year round by offering a summer job to youth ages 14-19 years partially under the auspices of the Department of Employment Services (DOES).
Our project emphasizes the cultural artistic knowledge gained through active participation in the drumming, dancing, stilt walking, masquerades, songs, and chants utilizing the classical and traditional forms of dance. The ACADD teaches creative expressions of African dance, employing various culturally rooted techniques. The drummers learn drills, and rudiments necessary for learning to play several African instruments to which the ACADD exposes young children. ACADD teaches young children to play the djembe drum by hand, and the djun-jun drum played with sticks, accompanied by African associate percussion instruments. The masquerades are instructed in a variety of ways in fact one method calls for the use of stilt legs. These stilt legs are tied tightly to the participants legs while they learn the intricate task of balancing one's self on stilts and simultaneously moving with the poly rhythmic African beats.
All of these artistic disciplines allows all youth, especially at risk children the opportunity to discover and explore these cultural artistic skills. The total project addresses the core issue of meaningful artistic exposure while providing organized, constructive artistic performing arts activities during the year to children and youth. Focusing on youth development allows ACADD instructors to educate children with dance and artistic skills prevalent in the African culture. Furthermore, emphasizing youth as a central educational focus also teaches life skills that prove socially and personally invaluable.
Socially ACADD allows interaction not only between child and instructor, but between child and child. Individually they acquired knowledge and skills of the dance art complementing the "standard" education and thus enhancing self image, inspiring self-esteem, social relationships and confidence in a respectful competent manner.
ACADD strives for children to accomplish the following: 1) Apply critical elements of basic motor skills to dance and social settings. Intricate dance combinations are built from elementary steps with the readiness to respond most thoughtfully. Gain the ability to perceive details of style and choreographic structure, and the opportunity to reflect upon communicated information, ACADD attempts to refine in its students; 2) Demonstrate the following movement skills in addition to explaining those principles and allowing children the opportunity to perform them: alignment, balance, initiation of movement, articulation of isolated body parts, weight shift, fall, and recovery; 3) Analyze internal and external factors that influence the performance of motor skills: 4) Touch and apply rudimentary scientific elements and biochemical principles that enhance dance: 5) Cultivate cooperative learning skills during the choreographic process in addition to: 6) Making connections between dance and healthful living.
The impact this project will have on student achievement is measured through their ability to concentrate and focus on new material, as well as their ability to interact with others. Furthermore, artistic disciplines inherently provide a structured way of carrying oneself physically, and psychologically. Once participants realizes their abilities, positive self perceptions are developed, which inherently leads to self-confidence and increased productivity.
Many of our youth participants academic standing, behavior, and attendance improve as they acquire the principles of focused concentration, and subsequently a better understanding of themselves; elements accomplished through instruction and training from a performing arts discipline. Our students positively respond to a creative, energetic, and talented environment that encourages and cultivates their individual excellence. Our program deters and prevents children and youth from harmful activities through culturally oriented programs using music and dance as the stimulus. The ACADD permits the children and youth to display their special qualities through performance presentations in traditional costumes made in Africa. The improvements in the lives of the at risk youth are from the nurturing environment, structured activity, in addition to the demands for excellence as a result of the artistic discipline. Over the years 85% of our past participants and alumni have entered universities, obtained their Bachelor's degree, have become Medical Doctors, professional performing artists, teachers, overall positive contributors to society who raise their families, who some have since become our next generation of students and performers.
ACADD attempts to infuse a high level of self-esteem in students as well as a serious and responsible outlook on life that fortifies a foundation from which to exercise proper decisions. The cultural performing arts principally presents possibilities for dialogue not only dance , but also about sensitive issues such as HIV and AIDS, (and the other adverse elements that plague the SE/Anacostia community in Wards 6 & 8 such as:) drug abuse, teen pregnancy, felony violence, alcohol, and sexual abuse. These socially critical topics are addressed at informal settings following certain workshops, and performances.
City government agency support such as the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities (DCCAH), the Department of Recreation & Parks Services (DRPS), and the Department of Employment Services (DOES) help us provide service to the youth and the community at large. Additionally, the role of the Mayor lends active advocacy towards the promotion of the arts as an essential communications tool between youth and education. Scheduled city-wide events that benefit the youth and community such as Future Fest, Summer Programs, etc. whereby the Mayor's involvement is present, demonstrates to the youth that the Mayor is sensitive to their artistic interests, and concerns.
The Friends of the Carter Barren Foundation of the Performing Arts
The Quality of Instruction and Participant Performance.
The range of student experience levels covers novice, semi-skilled, and skilled (Duke Ellington) students. All Friends' instructors are highly qualified. Most have advanced degrees and possess many years of teaching experience. Several of them are certified teachers who work in the DC Public Schools, including the Duke Ellington Senior High School for the Performing Arts. The curriculum includes: music, drama, dance, scenography, videography, and costume design.
From 1993 through 1999, over a seven-year period, more than seven hundred and fifty (750) District high school students have been trained in various aspects of the performing arts. In addition, they have actually performed in seven (7) original musical productions at the historic Carter Barren Amphitheater. The Friends instructional staff has made painstaking efforts to effectively link the Friends program curriculum to the DC Public Schools educational requirements. Please see Resumes of key staff, a sample curriculum, and a Pre-Test attached.
The Program Design and Creative Content.
The program is designed to maximize the potential for the attainment of artistic and academic excellence through establishing functional linkages between the DCPS standard curriculum and the Friends' program of arts and humanities education, training and live performances. The youth participants help create and design the various aspects of the productions. Training entails prevocational, career apprenticeship, and stresses the important links between attaining academic excellence and excellence in the arts and the humanities.
The Creativity of the Program's Approach to Engaging Youth Participants.
A phalanx of District government agencies join together each year to attract, maximize and maintain student interest and involvement. These include: a) the Department of Recreation and Parks, b) the Department of Employment Services, c) the Public Schools, d) the Department of Human Services, e) the Commission of the Arts and Humanities, and f) the Office of the Mayor. To further illustrate this approach, participants develop an appreciation for the concept of ''edu-tainment" and the principles of participatory learning. Also, talent searches sponsored by the Friends of the Carter Barren Foundation of the Performing Arts, are held periodically at various neighborhood activity centers, schools or churches strategically located in each of the four quadrants of the city. In addition, the Friends measure each individual youth's potential for exploring a career in one or more of the various disciplines of the Arts. Finally, field trips to art galleries, museums, and historical sites, followed by debriefing workshops, enrich the lives of the young participants. Intensive study workshops are held for students who excel in a given area of the Arts. As an example, the Friends plans to hold a series of field trips and workshops at Howard University with its School of Communications, Graduate Student Film Association, on the subject of Cinematography, during the first quarter of 2000.
The integration of support services, prevention strategies, and child development components with arts/performing arts programming.
The above city agencies coalesce on an annual basis to create a social services support network and Information Exchange for the benefit of the student participants. The Social Services Support Network consists of the Department of Employment Services, the Department of Human Services, the Child and Family Services Agency, and the DC Public School System. It inventories the broad range of educational, pre-employment, and human service needs of the participants. The Information exchange shares information concerning participant training, recreational, and educational events and cultural enrichment opportunities in which these youth can engage in.
Evidence that the program is making a positive impact on the attitudes and development of children and youth through improved school grades, improved school attendance, increased knowledge regarding at-risk behaviors, etc.
Project test results show improvement in participant personal development attitudes and knowledge levels. Observations of instructors and staff indicate that the program overall is making a positive difference. Also, please see attached letters of support from academic, community, government leaders, parents and students themselves. This November, the Friends of the Carter Barron Foundation of the Performing Arts will produce a four (4) day winter holiday festival of the arts on behalf of the District of Columbia, and rehearsed at Howard University and Banneker Recreation Center performed at Howard University.
Role of the Mayor and City Government in this Program.
Mayor Williams has been directly involved in supporting the Friends efforts as a goal champion. Through the office of his chief of staff, he has marshaled the resources of the city's Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Departments of Employment Services, Parks and Recreation, Human Services. They have also worked with DC Public Schools executive officials to pool their collective resources on behalf of strengthening its programs and activities. Additionally, several city councilpersons serve as honorary members of its Board of Directors. See attached letters of support.
Demonstration of Community-wide Support And/or Involvement.
The Friends has received substantial assistance from these neighborhood and community groups in cosponsoring educational field trips. The direct involvement of participant-parent volunteers has proved to be instrumental in its projects successes.
J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
1620 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Telephone (202) 293-7330, FAX (202) 293-2352