Bringing the Arts to Communities in Need

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Photos by Spencer Lum

According to a 2005 Harris Survey Poll, more than 90% percent of the general public believes that consistent involvement in arts instruction leads to a well-rounded education.  Yet studies show that children from low-income neighborhoods are less likely to be involved in school-based arts activities. The Children's Aid Society believes that young people in our community schools and centers should have the opportunity to experience the arts. At Children’s Aid locations in the Bronx, East Harlem and Washington Heights, children can participate in visual arts, creative writing, dance, music and theater.

In December, I was lucky to sit in on a Ballet class at The Dunlevy Milbank Center. What a treat to see the girls, most in big pink tutus, rehearsing for an upcoming recital.

And in just a few months, Alvin Ailey Camp participants in Washington Heights and Staten Island will dance their way through the summer (see video below). Also coming soon is the annual Children's Aid Art Show. Beautiful artwork made by participants throughout the entire agency will be on display at The National Arts Club.

Exposure to arts instruction provides children with an avenue of self-expression and improves their self confidence. In a previous post, Marjorie Caparosa, Arts & Leadership Coordinator, East Harlem Center, Children’s Aid, weighed in on the topic:

"Providing programs that encourage children to express themselves through the arts is perhaps the most valuable gift we can offer our youth. Here at East Harlem Center our curriculum is designed to inspire creativity while allowing children to articulate their feelings in a safe and supportive environment. With our multidisciplinary approach to programming, participants flourish as they learn about different cultures, holidays, artists, literature, etc. through the arts. Visual arts, dance, music and drama promote teamwork and leadership skills as well providing an outlet for our youth to express themselves. East Harlem Center’s young artists celebrate their creativity and build self-esteem through their participation in arts programs at our site."

Additional Information: Click here to see a complete photo gallery of the Dunlevy Milbank Ballet Class.