Artist Martin Figuera leads teens in an Urban Artist appreciation session highlighting Keith Haring. Courtesy photo.
The Medford Club of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Middlesex County (BGCMC) received funding from the Medford Arts Council to facilitate an Urban Art program to middle school students at the Medford Boys and Girls Club.
Through BGCMC’s Urban Art Program, youth will be exposed to arts education activities and encouraged to develop new skills, express themselves, and to expand individual creativity. Youth will meet weekly to learn and gain an appreciation for community art, art history, mixed mediums and critiquing. After participants create individual pieces, a collective graffiti mural will be unveiled at an art show, at a date to be determined later this year. Pieces from the program will also be on “loan” throughout different parts of the community to raise awareness of arts programming and provide recognition for Urban Art participants.
Program staff will recruit current 6th, 7th and 8th grade members to participate in the program and increase their engagement in productive afterschool activities. Additionally, the program will provide an opportunity for Club staff to use interest based programs to create substantive relationships with participants to support pro social development.
“The arts offer opportunities to building resiliency in youth. Arts education teaches problem solving, decision making, higher-order thinking, cooperation, leadership and communication,” said Chile Eng, Executive Director. “Research shows youth participating in art are more likely to stay in school and avoid harmful behaviors. We are honored to receive funding to engage an older demographic in arts based programming.”
Piloted at BGCMC’s Everett Clubhouse in 2009, the Urban Art program was created as a diversion tactic for taggers in collaboration with the Everett Police and District Attorney’s office. Urban and graffiti art attracted club members, previously disinterested in art, and engaged them in structured programming.
The Urban Art program is supported in part by the Medford Arts Council, a local agency supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of Middlesex County
Boys & Girls Clubs of Middlesex County‘s (BGCMC) mission is to help young people, especially those who need us most, realize their full potential as responsible citizens and leaders. We do this by providing: a safe haven filled with hope and opportunity, ongoing relationships with caring adults, and life-enhancing programs. Through four Clubs in Cambridge, Medford, Somerville and Everett trained and professional staff serve more than 2,000 youth (ages 6-18) daily through programs that foster academic success, healthy lifestyles and character and leadership development. BGCMC is open during the critical non-school hours of 2:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. during the school year and 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the summer. To effectively serve those who need us most, BGCMC asks families to pay annual membership dues of only $30 per child and no child is turned away due to inability to pay. For more information, please visit www.kidsclubs.org.
About the Medford Arts Council
The Medford Arts Council is a city-appointed agency of volunteers working to promote excellence, access, education, and diversity in the arts and humanities in order to improve the quality of life for all Medford citizens and foster a sense of community.
We offer grants to artists and organizations in Medford, and we work to support the growth of the arts and the arts community in Medford. Each year we provide funds to support numerous public activities in Medford in the areas of arts and culture, including concerts, festivals, performances, classes, and school field trips. The funds we distribute are an annual allocation from the Massachusetts Cultural Council through their Local Cultural Council (LCC) program.
– Submitted by Dana Benjamin, Director of Operations and Programs, Boys and Girls Clubs of Middlesex County.