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May 19, 2008

Congresswoman Velázquez Presents $188,000 in Federal Funds to Brooklyn Arts Council for New Public School Programs

NEW YORK, NY – During a celebration of the arts held at Bushwick’s P.S. 257 elementary school, Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.) today presented the Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC) with a check in the amount of $188,000 from the U.S. Department of Justice. The federal funding will be used to expand arts education in six public schools in the Bushwick and Red Hook communities.

“High quality art programs are vital to a well-rounded education, and a sound investment in our children’s future,” said Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez. “Expanding after school arts activities, will give local students improved access to positive creative outlets and help them in becoming tomorrow’s innovative leaders.”

Research has shown that students who study the arts have significantly higher class attendance rates and are more successful on standardized tests such as the SATs. Despite this, funding cuts have threatened arts programs in schools across the City. The federal funds secured by Congresswoman Velazquez are designated for arts education workshops aimed at preventing juvenile delinquency and violence in New York City’s underserved communities. In addition to providing classes for students, BAC will train teachers at each school. Three Brooklyn schools will launch their programs in Fall 2008:

  • P.S. 257 John F. Hylan School, where BAC will work with 5th graders for a drama program focused on public speaking;
  • P.S. 145 Andrew Jackson School, where the 5th grade class will participate in a drama class focused on conflict resolution; and
  • P.S. 15 Patrick F. Daly School, where BAC will help 2nd and 5th graders restore and create murals at the school.

The following year, BAC will work with I.S. 347 School of Humanities; P.S. 274 Kosciusko School; and P.S. 377 Alejandrina B. De Gautier to develop arts programs tailored to the needs of their students.

“Brooklyn Arts Council is excited about this opportunity to provide a constructive outlet for at-risk youth in six deserving schools in the 12th district through its Arts in Education program. This grant will enable BAC to bring much-needed arts programming into schools, which will have a tremendous impact on student’s lives, both personally and academically and give them an opportunity to cultivate an interest in the arts that will last a lifetime,” said Ella J. Weiss, President of Brooklyn Arts Council.

The Brooklyn Arts Council was founded in 1966, providing services for Brooklyn’s cultural groups and individual artists working in the visual, performing, media and literary arts. Due to their efforts, thousands of people throughout Brooklyn have access to a variety of free arts programming each year. In addition, BAC conducts the Arts in Education program, providing a wide array of arts programming for students, teachers, parents and community members. Their collaborative approach allows for personalized workshops, enriching hands-on experiences, and positive interactions with the arts designed to be retained for a lifetime.