What is the project and what are you trying to accomplish?: Walks of ART Inc. is an organization that was created to fill the void between urban youth and the arts. Giving them the forum to showcase and build upon their talents and interest in an environment that is counter to the stereotypes and stigma that Baltimore’s more impoverished neighbors are based upon. The organization, which as of yet is not 501(c) 3 certified but operates as a nonprofit, was founded in 2011. Walks of ART Inc. is missioned upon implanting the relevance of self-expression and individualism in the minds of our urban youth by way of art. We have a two-fold agenda, one geared towards youth, k-12, and another for more tenured artist who would like the platform to showcase their talents throughout the community. We use art as the forum to build upon the cognitive, social and emotional aspects of the lives of Baltimore's youth. Our goal is to positively impact the lives of African American youth by providing a forum for them to express their interest in the arts, whether it be through drawing, painting, dancing, writing short stories, or any other art genre the organization is able to provide workshops in: while at the same time adding to a positive image of self. For tenured artist, we hold community events in which they are able showcase their artistic talents in poetry, dance, visual artistry, or another art genre of their expertise.
We have hopes to formally become a 501(c) 3 certified entity; allowing us the ability to partner with more organizations and provide our services to a larger spectrum of participants. But more importantly, our goal is to positively influence the life of at least one black youth. We aspire to serve as a deterrent to the negative consequences more often than not connected to the plight of black urban life.
Who will benefit from this project and how will the project engage others in the community? Baltimore City’s African American community comprises over 60% of the population. Black youth are underperforming in schools, being victimized by a judicial system that is not egalitarian when it comes to incarceration rates and more often than not become victims of circumstance. According to the Maryland State Department of Education, African American students had the lowest SAT scores of ANY racial group within the state and across the nation. Baltimore City has the highest dropout rate in the state of Maryland at 4.1% (Maryland State Department of Education, 2012) and according to research done by The Open Society Institute, 76% of black males in Baltimore City do not graduate high school. African American youth comprise nearly 100% or youth in detention centers, make up 88% of juvenile arrests and have a 80% recidivism rate (National Council on Crime and Delinquency, Bed Space Forecast for Baltimore Youth Detention Facility, 2011). Within our Baltimore city neighborhoods, black youth are exposed to criminal activity, drug use and distribution, and are absent of positively mentoring opportunities.
ART based recreation and education builds upon the cognitive, social and emotional aspects of youth, which may not be found or readily available in the home or community. ART has been proven to increase scholastic achievement and interest in school, by improving problem solving, writing, and creativity amongst other benefits. ART benefits youth in social and emotional facets by building upon self-imagery, perception of relationships and interpersonal communication (NGA Center for Best Practices). African American youth who have been or have the possibility to be subjected to the unfortunate realities of inner city life will be the beneficiaries of these workshops and programs.
The community at large has the opportunity to participate and engage in an endeavor such as this. Individuals who instruct the youth are artist who have come from similar backgrounds and can relate on a personal level to the struggles apparent in the lives of the participants. This in turn may allow for positive mentoring to happen. Institutions such as schools or recreation centers are utilized to house the workshops, which in turn show a responsibility for civic engagement on their behalf. Performance series events engage people in all genres of art to be celebrated for their skills and accomplishments in a setting that brings about community awareness and festivity.
How does the project involve other people and organizations to achieve its goals? Please describe any partnerships: Walks of ART Inc. has been building relationships with people and organizations since its inception. Beginning with partnering and working with the city wide Black Male Achievement campaign, which was run through the now disbanded Art on Purpose nonprofit organization, Walks of Art has utilized its resources to be a positive catalyst for change within Baltimore city. We have worked with YO Baltimore to facilitate mentoring and entrepreneurial workshops, partnered with the Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks to facilitate art based workshops around the positive aspects of Baltimore city life and contracted local young adult artist to facilitate workshops and mentor our youth on the possibilities that art can bring to one’s life. Walks of ART was also contracted to teach art you elementary and middle school children at Harlem Park Elementary through the BELL Enrichment program. The performance series events that have been held or hosted by Walks of ART have allowed the opportunity for local visual or performing artists to showcase their talents. Whether it is through having their art on exhibition at the Eubie Blake Center, having the opportunity to perform spoken word poetry in Hopkins Plaza, located in downtown Baltimore or having clothing designs showcased in a fashion show production. Walks of ART is set on providing youth and adults alike the opportunity to build upon themselves and community either through our own programming or partnering with outside organizations to further their causes.
What is your estimated budget for completing this project? How will you use BMe funding? Your best guess is acceptable : The ART based workshops and Performance series events are programs provided by Walks of ART to positively impact and affect the community.
The ART based workshops will consist of 12 workshop sessions given in 6 week intervals during the Summer and Spring. There will be 3 ART based workshops for black youth in various community based locations throughout Baltimore City. The budget for these workshops consists of all things needed to provide effective and impactful programming.
There will also be 2 performance series events given to spotlight and showcase the abilities of local artists who would like to be seen and recognized for their talents.
The estimated total budget for this project is $17, 100
Workshop venue rental- $4500 ($750 per venue, 6 venues)
Instructors - $3600 ($600 per instructor, $100 a week x 6 weeks, $1800 for Summer, $1800 for Spring)
Materials- $1800 ($300 per workshop)
Liability Insurance- $900 (Per fiscal year)
End of workshop recogniton events- $2500 (2 events, $1250 per event)
Performance series events- $2500 (2 events, $1250 per event)
Marketing- $800 (design, print, social platforms)