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Raw Art Works
CONTACT:37 Central Square
Lynn, MA 01901
DESCRIPTION:Raw Art Works (est. 1988) is an arts program serving youth-at-risk in Lynn, a city with double the poverty and high school dropout rates, and among the highest crime and substance abuse rates, in the State. The Lynn school system has only eight school counselors available to serve nearly 15,000 students. Raw is not just good; it is one of the best such programs in the nation. It has won a "Coming Up Taller" Award from the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities; grants from the National Endowment for the Arts; a Federal HUD Community Achievement Award; and the Bravo Cable Network's "Arts for Change" Award. Why all these awards?
Every year, Raw serves over 375 highly diverse youths (ages 6-19), from mainly low-income African-American, Latino, Cambodian, Russian and Caucasian families. It offers hands-on programs in schools, housing developments, and Raw's own studios, inviting the young people to use the arts as a tool of creative inquiry, to examine their own lives, their connections with each other, and their roles in the larger community. Thus a group of adolescent girls constructs "House of Truth," an art installation that candidly explores their own collective experience of growing up female; a teenager is mentored by a working artist, and has a one-man show in a local gallery; and a child's art is displayed on a citywide billboard. These activities engage them in individual and collective, constructive, reflection, on their favorite subject — themselves— in relation to values. Raw deserves, and kids needs, broad public support.
(2001: CULTURE: Education: Informal: General)
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