This month we kicked off our mastery-based arts initiative with a $500,000 grant to Cleveland Public Theatre (CPT), to expand their successful Brick City Theatre program for Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) kids. This new grant highlights our focus on providing access to mastery-based arts programs for underserved young people in the city of Cleveland.
Inside the Grant
Brick City is a 17-year-old program that guides students ages 5 to 14 through the creation and production of plays at two CMHA sites– Lakeview Terrace on the West Side and Woodhill Homes on the East Side. Over the next two years, our grant will triple the number of CMHA youth served from 300 to 1,000, and will add four additional public housing sites.
In addition, the grant will expand CPT’s summer Student Theatre Enrichment Program (STEP) to become year-round. STEP trains at-risk teens to write and perform plays throughout Cleveland.
“This infusion of support by the Cleveland Foundation is going to have a huge impact on youth in our community, providing powerful learning opportunities that address core academic skills, while also teaching core life skills of empathy, communication and team work,” said Raymond Bobgan, Executive Artistic Director, Cleveland Public Theatre.
Our latest grant is part of our vision for the arts in Cleveland. Last year, we held a Fred Talk at the Rainey Institute to convene community members as we explored the benefits of high-quality, immersive arts education programs. The event helped confirm the importance of mastery-based arts for neighborhoods in the city of Cleveland.
This grant now kicks off an initiative along those same lines. “It’s the first in our ongoing work to connect children with the incredible artistic talent we have in our community, to make Cleveland a place where the arts are an avenue for kids to become healthy, educated, happy, productive people,” said Lillian Kuri, our Program Director for Arts and Urban Design.
“The Cleveland Foundation’s new mastery-based arts initiative reflects our vision that children in every low-income neighborhood in Greater Cleveland should have the same access to high-quality arts education that their peers do,” said Ronn Richard, our President & CEO.
See Brick City in Action
Watch this compelling documentary short highlighting the Brick City Theatre program at Lakeview Terrace. PLAYGROUND, from StoryLens Pictures, features I’ll be there, a play created last year by Brick City students that focused on violence against youth in the city.
And check out this Plain Dealer article for more details on the grant and a slideshow of Brick City students in action.
Photo © Steve Wagner, students in a performance of “My Dream Revealed” at Lakeview Terrace, 2012