The arts are a fundamental part of every child's growth. Arts stimulate the mind and ignite the imagination. They are a significant part of healthy mental and creative development.
Studies have shown that children involved in the arts gain self-esteem, do better in school and are in touch with their creative expression. Today, children and youth are exposed to myriad forms of art every day, predominately in the form of media. They are surrounded by music, television, movies and radio, constantly on the receiving end of a barrage of creative messaging. But what happens when the kids take control and begin creating media for themselves, using the arts to address what matters to them most? They become empowered to be active, articulate and educated stewards of our future.
Located in the heart of Poughkeepsie, Children's Media Project has been empowering youth for the past 16 years, giving the power of media to those who intrinsically use it most — kids! The group provides artists and youth in the community the chance to explore their talents, develop their skills and express themselves on a new level. It is a media arts education organization that has a large array of tools and skills to offer the community. Children's Media Project teaches zine-making, film-making, editing, graphic design, sound production and animation as part of its core programming.
Children's Media Project has reached thousands of youth through after-school and school-based residency programs. It offers vibrant after-school programs for middle and high school-aged youth at the Poughkeepsie location.
This fall, high school youth can attend a free after-school program to learn how to produce video content that would air in season seven of DROP TV (Direct Revolution of Programming), an award-winning magazine style-television show, made by youth for youth, that broadcasts internationally on public-access stations. Through DROP TV, youth learn technical, artistic, communication and workforce skills as they complete their video projects, under the mentorship of professional filmmakers, and submit their works to film festivals and youth media competitions globally.
After school, students can also attend workshops to produce radio content for Radio Uprising, an hour-long program that airs weekly on WVKR (91.3 FM), each Thursday at 4 p.m. They create narrative audio pieces, journalistic works, self-recorded music and round-table discussions. These programs help students gain an understanding and appreciation of the media arts as a new way to express themselves. The youth producers learn valuable skills, such as teamwork, leadership and positive risk-taking.
Children's Media Project also aims to bring arts and media education well beyond its doors and into schools, arts centers and libraries.
The media artists/ educators take their talents to areas throughout the Hudson Valley to host workshops for children in community centers, as well as work with teachers to help infuse their standards-based curriculum with the media arts.
We are planning workshops for the coming year and working with teachers in local schools that are interested in bringing media arts into their classrooms. Take a look at Children's Media Project's website, childrensmediaproject.org, or call 845- 485-4480 for more information on how you can get involved.
Nicole Fenichel-Hewitt is the executive director of Children's Media Project.