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Paterson Youth Explore Their Talents Through Summer Arts Program

Paterson Youth Explore Their Talents Through Summer Arts Program

August 8, 2023

Access to quality and impactful arts programming is essential to a well-rounded education. Participating in the arts gives youth opportunities to express themselves, collaborate with peers, and creatively solve problems. Arts education is also linked to improvements in student motivation and attitudes in school. However, many students do not have access to quality arts education, especially during the summer—and especially in low-income cities like Paterson.

In response to the lack of arts education in schools, NJCDC launched our Youth Arts Program in 2014 to provide free arts programming to Paterson youth. Over the past nine years, the program has served hundreds of K-12 students, with classes covering a range of artistic disciplines including sketching, guitar, piano, photography, dance, skateboard design, and more.

This year, NJCDC's Summer Youth Arts Program provided four weeks of free arts programming to 70 Paterson youth entering grades 1-5. Every morning, students gathered at our Great Falls Youth Center to explore different artistic disciplines. Students got active by participating in hula-hooping and learning dance choreography. They also learned how to make music, getting experience with both bucket drumming and playing on drum sets. Thanks to the support of Nana's Gift, who donated books to the Great Falls Youth Center, our students also got excited about reading!

Throughout the program, there were also plenty of opportunities for students to share their creativity through arts and crafts projects. Students had the chance to create coloring books, design masks, and build kites. With the help of program staff, students also got to make fun tie-dyed shirts! Other art projects included creating abstract art, sculpting with clay, and doing a color-by-numbers activity.

On the last day of the program, the students went on a field trip to the Crayola Factory in Pennsylvania, where they got to experience even more colorful and hands-on creative activities.

I loved your Saturday Arts Program," said Lourdes Angeles, a parent of two students in this year's Summer Youth Arts Program. "That is why I left another program to bring both of my children back to the summer program, because we love everything you do.

Her daughter, Daphne, said "I love the program so much! I don't want it to end," while another student, Gabriel, said "I love the arts program! If it was longer, I would stay."

"NJCDC had the pleasure to work with many wonderful students this summer in the Youth Arts Program," said Mahbuba Uddin, NJCDC's Program Associate, who developed the program. "Planning the program this summer provided a first-hand glance of how much joy the art program brought to both students and staff. I look forward to next summer, and all the amazing creations of Paterson youth."

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