| Dec 4, 2014 |
White House honors Publicolor's design-focused kids' programs
Boh staff
By Staff

Publicolor, an organization that offers painting and design programs meant to keep youth inspired to stay in school, has been honored with the 2014 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, the highest honor the United States bestows on out-of-school-time programs.

At the White House, First Lady Michelle Obama presented the award to Publicolor on behalf of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. The award was accepted by Publicolor’s founder and president Ruth Lande Shuman and high school student Elisha Almonte from the Bronx.

Michelle Obama, Elisha Almonte, Ruth Lande Shuman

“We are all very honored by this award, which deepens our resolve to use design-based programming to empower low-performing students,” Shuman said. “We must all work together to ensure their success.”

Publicolor aims to counter dropout rates by engaging “at-risk” students in design-based clubs and academic support. Publicolor students volunteer to paint schools, playgrounds and community sites, making bleak (some may say prison-like) structures vibrant and engaging. A programming breakdown is below:

At Paint Club, participants transform their own schools and nearby community facilities by painting them vibrant colors.

Once each Paint Club school transformation is complete, Publicolor inducts students into Color Club, providing a rigorous weekly menu of academic tutoring, career exposure, and life-skills workshops.

Students involved in Publicolor program

As part of the Next Steps program, Publicolor hosts weekly workshops, tutoring and Saturday painting, all of which aim to help students achieve their college and career goals.

For the Fresh Coat club, the team paints museum and gallery spaces, not-for-profit offices, and health clinics.

At the Summer Design Studio, teens learn about product design, as well as take SAT prep courses. Both workshops are held on Pratt Institute’s campus, so students can get a taste of college life.

Students involved in Publicolor program

Publicolor also offers scholarships for community service, a program that helps cover the costs of college.

Publicolor helps New York students not only think and express themselves creatively, but also flex other life skills too, like teamwork and problem-solving.

In doing so, Publicolor was recognized as one of the country’s best creative youth development programs developed to increase academic achievement, graduation rates and college enrollment.

Students involved in Publicolor program

The award is presented in partnership with the National Endowment of the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum of Library Services.

To learn more about Publicolor and to find out how you can become involved, click here.

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