Pelham Art Center Receives $20,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to Fund Youth Leadership & Engagement Program
Sade Jacobs (age 16) from Pelham Memorial High School, working on a sketchbook page during Teen Open Studios.
From left to right, Ghost Antelmi (age 17) from the Ursuline School and Nola Brooks (age 15) from New Rochelle High School working during their internship on Sundays.
Violet Cleary (age 17) from Denzel Washington School of the Arts working on her AP art portfolio during Teen Open Studios
Pelham Art Center (PAC) is pleased to announce that it has been approved by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to receive a Grants for Arts Projects award in the amount of $20,000. The grant will fund nearly 50% of PAC’s new Youth Leadership & Engagement Program through 2024. This exciting new initiative kicked off in September 2022 and is one of 1,251 awards totaling nearly $28.8 million that were announced by the NEA as part of its first round of fiscal year 2023 grants.
“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support arts projects in communities nationwide,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD. “Projects such as this one at Pelham Art Center strengthen arts and cultural ecosystems, provide equitable opportunities for arts participation and practice, and contribute to the health of our communities and our economy.”
Pelham Art Center’s Youth Leadership Program consists of free teen open studios, a teen artist council, and six-month student internships. from several local high schools (including New Rochelle High School, Denzel Washington School of the Arts and Pelham Memorial HS)
The teen open studios allow students to work on individual independent projects, join in the suggested project of the day, and work on cumulative public community art projects. The studios are led by artists and educators Susan Saas, Emlyn Taveras, and Charlotte Mouquin and are offered free of charge.
Members of the teen artist council are given the opportunity to play a leadership role in determining PAC’s programming. This includes selecting candidates to speak on a Careers in the Arts Panel series, curating a gallery exhibition, and leading public programs.
And through PAC’s six-month internships, students from Pelham Memorial High School, Denzel Washington School of the Arts, New Rochelle High School and other local schools are given the opportunity to collaborate on art programming. This includes leading and assisting with free public programs for youth and families at the Pelham Art Center.
“This is such a supportive environment with great people and great creative energy!” expressed Sade Jacobs, 10th grade, Pelham Memorial High School at the Teen Open Studio on February 17.
Violet Cleary, a senior at Denzel Washington School of the Arts said, “I love being able to meet other teens in the area! It helps me get out of my comfort zone and just chill with other people.”
“I walk in feeling gloom and doom and leave feeling uplifted! ALL LOVE!” said Emelyn Taveras.
Fiona Agababian has recently joined PAC in the newly-created role of Teen Engagement Coordinator, a grant-funded position. Fiona is an artist and educator with a passion for inspiring youth who will oversee the growth and leadership of these programs. “The teen programs at the Pelham Art Center are a great opportunity for high school students to gain experience in a gallery space, curating and working as a team through our teen artist council, open studio and internships. I’m very grateful to have the chance to be a part of this program and be able to share my passion for the arts with wonderful young creatives!”
“The PAC Teen Artist Council offers teen artists open studio space, time and opportunity to come together as creatives to express ideas and discuss their own identities, challenges, and creativity while learning and collaborating with each other,” says Emlyn Taveras, one of the teen open studio artist facilitators and a PAC Board Member. “Through this collaborative experience, art making, mentorship, and internship opportunities they are becoming leaders within their communities and within their own lives. It has been an amazing opportunity to work alongside these amazing young leaders.”
Executive Director Charlotte Mouquin shared: “This program has been incredibly meaningful. PAC aims to grow and sustain this program for years to come. We have had students come together from 6 different schools and several walk or take public transportation to get to the art studio on Friday afternoons.”
“There are so many great ways for teens to engage with and make art here. It has been amazing to help organize events that increase art’s exposure. I’ve even been able to be part of the process of curation,” said Nola Brokks, intern from New Rochelle High School, 10th grade.
To learn more about Pelham Art Center’s Youth Leadership & Engagement opportunities, made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts, visit pelhamartcenter.org.