This summer, Arts for Learning (A4L) launched its newest initiative “ArtWorks” made possible through a recent $75,000.00 grant awarded by UBS, the global financial services firm. ArtWorks is a paid internship program in the arts for high school students who live in the surrounding neighborhoods of Miami’s Wynwood Arts District, namely, Overtown, Wynwood, Little Haiti, and Liberty City. tudents must apply and be interviewed to qualify for this six-week program housed at the Bakehouse Art Complex in Wynwood.
Tagged “Hired to Create. Inspired to Succeed,” ArtWorks is designed to engage students in the art-making process while providing meaningful employment as they develop an understanding and appreciation of the arts. Excursions to Wynwood Art District businesses as well as workshops with visiting guest speakers, such as a UBS-hosted financial literacy workshop, allow the students to learn about the impact of the arts on a community’s social and economic bottom line.
Sheila Womble, A4L’s Executive Director, says that the key to a student’s success is the development of strong communication and presentation skills as well as knowing how to effectively work as a team. She explains, “We want the ArtWorks participants to not only understand what it takes to work as a professional artist, but also gain the skills necessary to be successful in any endeavor. College and career readiness are also important program components.” At the end of the internship, each student leaves with both a resume and a portfolio.
“The arts are woven into the fabric of this great city,” adds Marsha Askins, Chief Communications Officer for UBS Group Americas. “As part of UBS’s steadfast commitment to improving every community where we have a presence, we are proud to support ArtWorks and help provide young people in Miami with a unique learning experience.”
For the pilot initiative this summer, 20 students from Miami Northwestern Senior High are divided into a team of 8 to 10 students called a “co-op.” A co-op focuses on a specific art form such as dance, theatre, printmaking/painting, graphic design, fashion, film, photography, creative writing, music, sculpture, animation, or architecture. Each ArtWorks co-op is responsible for creating works of art, organizing an open house event, marketing, and producing a culminating performance/exhibition.
Teaching Artist Carlos Noguera leads and facilitates the visual art co-op. Noguera has a BFA from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA, an Ed.M from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and has been the lead art teacher at Miami Edison Senior High School since 2009. His art has been exhibited in Boston, Holland and Miami. “I am happy to come back to Arts for Learning for a second summer and excited to pilot the ArtWorks program,” Noguera comments. “ArtWorks is helping to fill some of the gaps that exist between content and the applications of knowledge. This program provides students the opportunity to apply the concepts and skills learned in school’s studio art classes in a challenging and nurturing work environment.”
Alejandro Bahia, professional dancer and General Manager of Miami Contemporary Dance, leads and facilitates the performing art co-op.
A4L’s goal is to hire 40 students next summer. “We would like to focus on students from Miami Northwestern, Edison, and Booker T. Washington Senior High,” says Womble. “However, long-term, we see this as an opportunity for all high school students.”
Inquiries about ArtWorks can be directed to Ivy Bennett, Program Director at email@example.com. Program updates and information about A4L’s teaching artists can be found at www. a4lmiami.wordpress.com.