Mrs. Obama honors 13 youth arts programs
Calling a group of artistic youth the "next generation of fabulous," Michelle Obama presented national arts and humanities awards to 12 after-school programs. They were chosen from across the country and one international program from Honduras.
Honorees included a musical theater program. It was co-created by comedian Rosie O'Donnell. The program serves low-income students in New York City.
The first lady presented the awards to recognize the nation's best youth programs that use arts and humanities to develop skills and increase academic success. She honored programs that teach ceramics, dance, music, writing, science and more. Each of the U.S. programs will receive $10,000.
The annual White House ceremony included a live performance from the winning program, A Commitment to Excellence, or ACTE II. The New York group performed a song and dance medley. It included, "I Got Rhythm," "Girls Just Want to Have Fun," and "Empire State of Mind."
"Wow...that wasn't singing. That was 'sanging,'" Mrs. Obama quipped, referring to the group. She predicted that it is destined for Broadway.
Mrs. Obama urged continued funding and support for arts and humanities programs. She said the programs also teach students problem solving, teamwork and discipline.
"There are millions of kids like these with talent all over the place. And it's hidden and it's untapped and that's why these programs are so important," Mrs. Obama said. "We wouldn't know that all this existed without any of these programs. And that would be a shame."
The 2015 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards are hosted by the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. It is in partnership with three national cultural agencies.
The 13 programs recognized with a National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award during the White House ceremony are:
- A Commitment to Excellence (ACTE II), New York.
- Action Arts and Science Program, Sioux Falls, S.D.
- Art High, Pasadena, Calif.
- CityDance DREAM Program, Washington.
- Spy Hop Productions, Salt Lake City.
- Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee.
- Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Inc., New Orleans.
- VSA Indiana, Inc., Indianapolis.
- The Center for Urban Pedagogy, Inc., Brooklyn, N.Y.
- Deep Center, Inc., Savannah, Ga.
- The Telling Room, Portland, Maine.
- Caldera, Portland, Oregon.
- Organization for Youth Empowerment (OYE), El Progreso, Honduras.
CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why are the arts important for young people?
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