ICA Teen Arts Program Honored at White House


Article Courtesy of:  Institute of Contemporary Art

ICA Institute Contemporary Art Boston - Fan Pier Boston MA

ICA Institute Contemporary Art Boston – Fan Pier Boston MA

Eighteen-year-old Hyde Park resident Romario Accime and Jill Medvedow,  Ellen Matilda Poss Director of the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (ICA) were at the White House today, Monday, November 19, 2012, to receive the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program award from First Lady Michelle Obama.

The ICA was recognized for its effectiveness in developing leadership and life skills in teens by engaging them in a broad range of arts education programming.

Chosen from a pool of more than 350 nominations and 50 finalists, the ICA was one of 12 after-school and out-of-school programs across the country to receive the award, which is the highest honor such programs can receive in the United States.

“It is so critical that we preserve arts education in our schools—because we know how important it is for our children’s development,” said Mrs. Obama. “Because we know that ultimately, arts education doesn’t just teach our children valuable skills, it doesn’t just give them an important forum for self-expression and self-reflection…it also helps to shape their character.”

The awards are administered by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH), in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The award honors community-based arts and humanities programs that make a marked difference in the lives of their participants by improving academic scores and graduation rates, enhancing life skills, developing positive relationships with peers and adults, and enabling them to express themselves creatively. Louis Vuitton is the corporate sponsor of the 2012 award program, and Fox Audience Strategy is the national media sponsor.

“In spite of all the challenges and obstacles our young people face, in spite of all their fears and doubts, you teach them to make art anyway,” said Mrs. Obama addressing the awardees. “You teach them that no matter what life throws their way, if they draw on their own talent, creativity, and courage…if they’re persistent and tenacious and bold…then they can truly make something extraordinary out of their lives.”

Teen arts education is central to the ICA’s mission. Since building an expanded waterfront museum in 2006, the ICA has seen an exponential increase in teen-focused programs and the number of teens the museum serves. In the past year the ICA has worked with approximately 7,000 teens through its broad spectrum of offerings and events.

“Teens are the artists, leaders, audiences and electorate of the future,” said Jill Medvedow. “Teens grapple with the challenges of forming their own definitions of identity, gender, political consciousness, and social responsibility. Many of the works of art in our galleries and theater echo and explore similar themes, and provide a rich opportunity for teens to develop their creative thinking, as they form their own identities as citizens in a broad world.”

“I am proud that the ICA, one of Boston’s great art museums, has been nationally recognized for their important work and congratulate Jill Medvedow, the ICA teens, and staff on this impressive achievement,” said Mayor Thomas M. Menino. “The City of Boston is committed to ensuring the arts play a vital role in our schools and communities, and the ICA Teen Arts Program is a shining example of how arts education enriches our lives and empowers Boston’s young people to dream big and think creatively.”

When Romario Accime joined the ICA Teen Arts Council two years ago, he knew it would be an exciting opportunity, but never dreamed the program would one day take him to the White House. Today, Accime stood in the East Room of the White House to accept the 2012 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from Mrs. Obama.

“Having the chance to represent my peers in accepting this award from the First Lady of the United States in the White House was an experience that I’ll never forget,” said Accime. “The power of programs like the ICA’s can change kids’ lives. It has changed mine and I am grateful that programs like this are recognized and valued. I wish and encourage other institutions to invest in more teen programs as we represent the future.”

The award was celebrated by a number of its long-time partners and supporters, including John Hancock Financial Services:

“The ICA’s innovative teen education programs engage and inspire young people to think differently about their lives and their community,” said Craig Bromley, president, John Hancock Financial. “As a proud neighbor in the Seaport District, John Hancock is privileged to support the ICA, and we congratulate them on receiving this national honor.”

In addition to the national recognition bestowed by receipt of the prestigious award, the ICA will also receive $10,000 to support its programming and engage more young people from the community.

“We hope this award will draw attention to the fact that programs like ours are essential investments in the lives and education of our young people, as well as in our community,” said Monica Garza, Director of Education at the ICA. “We’re incredibly proud of this achievement and of the young people, supporters, board and staff who make it possible.”

Institute of Contemporary Art - Fan Pier Boston - Seaport District

Institute of Contemporary Art – Fan Pier Boston – Seaport District

About the NAHYP
The National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award is the nation’s highest honor for after-school arts and humanities programs. The awards recognize and support outstanding programs that lay new pathways to creativity, expression, and achievement outside of the regular school day. These programs excite and engage a range of students, cultivating imagination, collaboration, discipline, and academic success with demonstrable results. They also provide safe harbors after school, on weekends, and evenings for children and youth in some of our country’s most at-risk urban and rural settings. For more information, visit pcah.gov.

About the ICA
An influential museum for contemporary culture, the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston has been at the leading edge of art in Boston for 75 years. The ICA’s core institutional values are focused on fostering the knowledge, creativity, and curiosity that we believe are enriched by a sustained engagement with the art of our time. Housed in an iconic Diller Scofidio + Renfro building on Boston’s waterfront, the ICA’s exhibitions and programs provide access to contemporary art, artists, and the creative process, inviting audiences of all ages and backgrounds to participate in the excitement of new art and ideas.

The ICA, located at 100 Northern Avenue, Boston, is open Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 am–5 pm; Thursday and Friday, 10 am–9 pm; and Saturday and Sunday, 10 am–5 pm. Admission is $15 adults, $13 seniors and $10 students, and free for members and children 17 and under.  Free admission on ICA Free Thursday Nights, 5–9 pm.

Free admission for families at ICA Play Dates (2 adults and children 12 and under) on the last Saturday of the month.

For more information, call 617-478-3100 or visit icaboston.org.

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