Venice Arts is an incredible local charity that we support. We spoke with Elysa, the associate director, and she shared how we as a community could help.
If you could pick one way that the Venice community could help Venice Arts what would you ask of us?
“For over two decades, Venice Arts has helped impoverished young people discover the power of creativity and storytelling through free, media-based workshops that challenge, inspire, and expand each young person’s sense of possibility for his or her life. Ninety-five percent (95%) of participants receive full scholarships, and over 50% come from families living in poverty. Venice Arts is one of the few places in the city that provides such highly enriched arts instruction completely free of charge.
This year, Venice Arts had to wait-list over 150 youth, and is calling on the Venice community to help raise scholarship funds for 24 more young people to participate in transformative art mentoring workshops in photography, film-making, and multimedia. Donations to support scholarships to the Art Mentoring program can be made here.”
We know you probably have many, but tell us a quick success story of a student from your program:
“Over the past 22 years, Venice Arts has expanded opportunities and a sense of possibility for thousands of poor and low-income youth. One such student is Angela, who started taking classes at Venice Arts as a high school freshman in 2011. She was drawn to photography as a way to seek perspective on herself and the world around her, bravely exploring the breakup of her immediate family through her camera’s lens.
Venice Arts became Angela’s safe haven and to participate she had to travel 10 miles, each way, from her modest mid-city home where she lived with her very-low income mom. Angela’s commitment to her own creative path, supported by close mentoring by Venice Arts’ staff, resulted in a transformational change in Angela’s life: by her senior year in high school, her photography was winning significant awards, including the National Young Arts Foundation Gold Award, the Music Center’s Spotlight Grand Prize, and the Scholastic Gold Portfolio Key Award, among others. As a crowning achievement, she was named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts (one of only 20, nationwide).
Angela credits her artist-mentors at Venice Arts with guiding and supporting her. She says, “Without Venice Arts and the help of all of my mentors, I wouldn’t be in the place that I’m at today, going to my school of choice and having my work recognized. I got to go the White House! I met the First Lady because of the work that I did at Venice Arts.”
Angela is currently studying photojournalism at Boston University on a full scholarship.