If it's October, it's a celebration of Arts and Humanities in Washington, D.C.
Where better to celebrate than at the White House with First Lady Michelle Obama (the honorary chair of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities)?
In the East Room of the White House artist awards were presented to the following after school programs from across the country:
After-School Playwriting Program/Young Playwrights’ Theater, Inc./Washington, D.C.; Brooklyn Cultural Adventures Program (BCAP)/Heart of Brooklyn Cultural Institutions, Inc./Brooklyn, N.Y.; Center for Community Arts Partnerships/Community Schools Initiative/Columbia College Chicago/Chicago, Ill.; Community MusicWorks/Providence, R.I.; FACT After–School Programs/Fine Arts for Children and Teens, Inc./Santa, Fe, N.M.;Girlstories Theatre Project and Workshops/Powerstories Theatre, Inc./Tampa, Fla.; New Directions YouthArts/City of Las Vegas Office of Cultural Affairs/Las Vegas, Nev./Project ALERTA/University of Massachusetts/Boston, Mass.; RiverzEdge Arts Project/Woonsocket, R.I.; San Francisco WritersCorps/Friends & Foundation of the San Francisco Public Library/San Francisco Arts Commission/San Francisco, Calif.; Scripps College Academy/Scripps College/Claremont, Calif.; The After School Program/ Mentors of Minorities in Education, Inc./Washington, D.C.; Artists Collective’s Transforming the Lives of High Risk Youth: Training in the Arts & Culture of the African Diaspora/Artists Collective, Inc./Hartford, Conn.; Urban Voices/Global Action Project, Inc./New York, N.Y.; YouthCAN/Wing Luke Asian Museum/Seattle, Wash.
The International Spotlight Award, presented by Mary Schmidt Campbell (PCAH Vice-Chairman), went to the Jean Baptiste Dessaix Music School in Jacmel, Haiti.
At the ceremony's end a performance by the Youth Jazz Ensemble, featuring Jackie McClain, played to a live tap dance performance.
Mrs. Obama said the students' experiences "will stick with them for the rest of their lives", and thanked the teachers, administrators, the directors, the artists - who against the odds - keep the after-school programs afloat. She crediting them for "teaching the young people how to become better artists or better musicians", and for "connecting them with mentors and college counselors."
"You’re helping them become better people. And you’re giving them skills that will help make their futures that much brighter", said Mrs. Obama.