Category Archives: Amplify

Through the Eyes of Photographer James E. Reed

Apprentices at Reeds show
High School apprentices and Christina Turner (Director of Apprentices & Interns) pose with James E. Reed’s great-granddaughter, Carol at the opening of the exhibition.

High school apprentices at the New Bedford Whaling Museum created an exhibition focusing on New Bedford’s first black photographer, James E. Reed.

Reed, a prominent African-American photographer born and raised in the New Bedford area, captured the city’s landscape and influential citizens over the course of his 34-year photography career.

Studying the history of New Bedford and photography as well as the business of the discipline, apprentices gained insight into Reed’s aesthetic and artistic style.

New Bedford Superior Courthouse Past New Bedford Superior Courthouse Present

New Bedford Superior Courthouse: Past and Present (recreated by Joshua).

Reed’s Grace Episcopal Church Destiny’s modern day recreation of Reeds Grace Episcopal Church

Reed’s Grace Episcopal Church and Destiny’s modern day recreation.

They explored the history of New Bedford through the eyes of the photographer, gaining inspiration for their project; honoring Reed’s legacy by recreating his work with modern-day influential community members (selected by the group) and local landmarks depicted in his pieces. Through this project, youth also showcased the shift in photography over the years.

Hanging Reeds show Apprentices develop photos

Recipients of Mass Cultural Council’s 2018 Amplify grant, Reed’s Modern Studio exhibition was on display in the museum’s San Francisco room in the Summer of 2018.

Visualizing ‘What Music Means to Me’

As part of their 2018 Amplify grant, the Boston City Singers Tour Choir created visual art works reflecting on the theme “What Music Means to Me”.

Using various mediums –  paint, chalk, water colors, crayons, glitter and other materials – the choir stepped outside of their musical comfort-zone to showcase their love for their craft. Each member of the choir presented their pieces to the rest of the group and selected their top 12 favorites.

Works were photographed and made into a banner which was displayed at the Dorchester Public Library, local area cafes, and the Strand Theatre throughout the summer.

Bold colors, distinct patterns, and powerful words centered around themes of unity, acceptance, love, and hope made up the final collection of pieces. Here are a few:

Drawing by Meredith, Boston City Singers Tour Choir

“I drew a tree with leaves that are flags, and wind blowing the leaves. The tree represents the world, and the leaves are the countries in it. The wind blowing the leaves represent music, because no matter where we come from, music is something we all have in common. The flags I used for leaves are all the countries I have sung songs from in Boston City Singers. Because of Boston City Singers and the music we sing, I feel more connected to the rest of the world.”
– Meredith, Boston City Singers Tour Choir

 

Drawing by Gita, Boston City Singers Tour Choir

“Music continuously evolves but what was before never disappears. Like the stems and branches of a tree, music is growing from the earliest prehistoric times to modern popular and alternative music. It grows and grows”
– Gita, Boston City Singers Tour Choir

 

Drawing by Kristen, Boston City Singers Tour Choir

“My drawing represents what music means to me because it shows that music is a universal language. I drew the people around the world being connected with lots of colorful music notes. While I was in South Africa, I saw firsthand how music connects people regardless of where they are from. At some of the schools we visited the kids did not speak English very well. One of the schools was for blind children. Despite the differences between us, we were able to bond over our common love of music.”
– Kristen, Boston City Singers Tour Choir

 

Drawing by Brooks, Boston City Singers Tour Choir

“The idea was simple: a heart made of sheet music surrounded by colorful melted wax to show how music can bring love and hope and beauty in this crazy, busy, and intricate world. Few things went as planned. The crayons kept rolling off of the page. The melted wax went everywhere. But as soon as my fellow choir members saw me struggling, they pitched in. They helped me hold the crayons and the hair dryer to keep the wax from spraying everywhere. Music, and all forms of art, help bring people together, and that made my piece stronger than I could have ever hoped.”
– Brooks, Boston City Singers Tour Choir

 

Drawing by Emmie, Boston City Singers Tour Choir

“The Tree of Dreams & Song – I painted this while I was listening to the song “A Million Dreams” from The Greatest Showman, and it is what music means to me. A million opportunities, a million songs, a million dreams. Every song that I listen to or sing holds a special place in my heart. This tree represents all the songs and all the dreams I’ve experienced  and ever will experience. A song is a magical thing. It can trigger so many emotions and hopes and dreams, that it’s almost impossible to comprehend. This is what music means to me.”
– Emmie, Boston City Singers Tour Choir

Announcing 2019 Amplify Grants

Groundwork Lawrence's Green Team at Den Rock Park Hike.Mass Cultural Council is proud to award 15 new Amplify grants for 2019 totaling $15,000. Directed to projects designed and executed by young people in programs receiving YouthReach or SerHacer funding, Amplify furthers the Commonwealth’s investment in youth leadership and empowerment.

The Amplify grant process incorporates youth voice throughout, including the participation of young professionals and program alums in the panel review. This unique approach ensures that the Amplify program continues to strive not just for the highest quality and innovation in programming, but to naturally and actively incorporate youth leadership in its rightful role in cultural provision across the state of Massachusetts.

Congratulations to this year’s Amplify recipients:

Ballet Rox (Boston)
Women’s Empowerment through Dance: To choreograph and perform a dance piece about  women’s’ rights and empowerment. The project will use music made by female artists, who advocate for women’s rights, and performed at the Wake Up the Earth and Dance for World Community festivals.

Books of  Hope  (Somerville)
To host a series of writing and community organizing workshops for a group of teens at the Mystic Learning Center led by Youth Artist Andrine Pierresaint. This program will culminate with Andrine sharing her own insights as a youth artist and organizer, and guiding the teens as they plan, host, and perform their own original work in Book of Hope’s annual Somerville Youth Arts Festival in June 2019.

Boston City Singers (Boston)
Combatting Loneliness with a Gift of Song: To create a forum to discuss the “epidemic of loneliness”. Boston City Singer’s Tour Choir will host and videotape interactive sing-a-long social events and discussions with nursing home residents and staff in Dorchester, and utilize it to encourage the creation of positive communities to assist with suicide and addiction prevention (common results of loneliness).

Elevated Thought (Lawrence)
Immunity: To create a film documenting the stories of various Lawrence community members and their families who were directly affected by the September 2018 gas explosions. The film will capture in a non-exploitive manner the resilience of the community in the aftermath of extreme adversity.

Enchanted Circle Theater (Holyoke)
Heroes Youth Truth Performance Ensemble: To create and present a youth performance focused on raising awareness of out-of- home-care experiences and stories. This work will be presented at regional Massachusetts Department of Children & Families meetings, classes for potential foster parents, and legislators, as well as the general public.

Express Yourself (Beverly)
The Bee Project: To promote constructive conversation and to destigmatize mental health in youth by creating an exhibition of linoleum Bees. Besides the exhibition, a video of this project will be featured in Express Yourself’s 25th Annual performance.

GreenRoots, Inc. (Chelsea)
Environmental Chelsea Organizers (ECO): To design and paint Chelsea storm drains to raise awareness about storm-water runoff through the means of public art.

Groundwork Lawrence (Lawrence)
Green Team recycling art and awareness project: To collectively create a piece of artwork using a piece of recycled pipe from the recent gas explosions in Lawrence. This piece will represent the strength of the Lawrence community in the face of adversity. The art piece will be revealed to the community at the Lawrence S.A.L.S.A (Supporting Active Lifestyles for All) Festival.

Hyde Square Task Force (Boston)
Ritmo en Acción Showcase: To collectively choreograph a showcase of 11 different Afro Latin dances, and perform them for the community in a public event.

New Bedford Whaling Museum (New Bedford)
Once upon a teenager: a storytelling project: To record each of NBWM’s Youth Apprentice’s life stories and showcase them in an exhibition for the community,  as well as the 10th anniversary celebration of NBWM’s Apprenticeship Program.

New England Aquarium (Boston)
Prompting Youth Action: It’s our time: To create an educational video in collaboration with Zumix. This  video will be shown at four public events to educate and inspire young people in the pursuit of  community and state action to promote an ecologically aware legislature.

Sociedad Latina (Boston)
Raices open mic series:  To design and lead a monthly open mic series titled “Raices” featuring guest artists and youth performers. These sessions will be open to the community to discover new artists of different backgrounds whilst providing a safe place for all.

The Clubhouse Network (Boston)
Digital illustration with Paintool SAI: To offer a series of youth-led digital illustration workshops for the community and Clubhouse members. The product of these workshops will be presented in exhibitions around the community to promote youth engagement and productivity.

Worcester Public Schools (Worcester)
Unites Master Class Project: To design and deliver a series of high school student-led master classes for elementary school students in seven different Worcester public elementary schools.

Worcester Youth Center (Worcester)
YouthSpeak!: Talent Show: To design and host a series of monthly talent shows, January 2019 to June 2019; with Performers recruited from current Worcester Youth Center participants, as well as youth from the City of Worcester and beyond. This program will allow talent show participants an opportunity to showcase creative talents whilst creating more events for the local community.

Amplify Grantees Honored at State House

Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez speaking at Amplify reception in the State HouseOn May 3, Mass Cultural Council partnered with 15 organizations across the state to bring youth voice to the Massachusetts State House, and celebrate the young leaders who are recipients of this year’s Amplify grants.

Framed by Andrine Pierre-Saint’s thrilling spoken word piece and introspective chamber music performance by Neighborhood Strings, the day brought Representatives Christine Barber, Paul Donato, and Jeffrey Sánchez to celebrate culture’s capacity to empower, elevate, and connect, magnified tenfold by the young performers, activists,  and leaders present.

Amongst congratulations and applause, Rep. Sánchez said, ”To see you here and to see the power of what Mass Cultural Council is doing with state resources is dramatic to me… I see what it’s doing, it’s giving all of you a voice.”

Información del evento de ‘Amplify’ en Español.

Join Us – Amplify Reception on May 3

Mass Cultural Council invites you to join us for a reception to celebrate Amplify, a grant program that invests directly in young people whose leadership and creative expression is driving social change in communities across the Commonwealth.

The event will take place on Thursday, May 3 at 4pm at the Massachusetts State House, Room 350. We will be joined by State Representative Jeffrey Sánchez, Chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means, other legislators, education and cultural nonprofit leaders.

Amplify grants support work by young people in the arts, sciences, or humanities that demonstrates their capacity to use creative expression to develop safe and thriving neighborhoods and communities.

Register now

Announcing 2018 Amplify Grants

For the third year in a row, Mass Cultural Council is proud to award 15 Amplify grants totaling $15,000 to projects designed and executed by young people in programs receiving YouthReach or SerHacer funding, furthering the Commonwealth’s investment in youth leadership and empowerment.

This year the Amplify process not only encouraged young people to design and lead their own projects for their communities’ benefit, but also included young people and program alums into the evaluation panel. This unique panel worked with impeccable professionalism to ensure that proposed projects had the right balance of quality, innovation, and youth involvement, and thrived in the opportunity to have a voice in how these funds are helping programs across the state.

2018 Amplify panelists: (Left to right) Gladys Hidalgo, Raw Art Works; Rachel Cummings, Express Yourself; Corey DePina, Zumix; Raquel Navarro, Sociedad Latina; and Marquis Victor, Elevated Thought. With Shaneez Tyndall, Mass Cultural Council.Thanks to our 2018 Amplify panelists: (Left to right) Gladys Hidalgo, Raw Art Works; Rachel Cummings, Express Yourself; Corey DePina, Zumix; Raquel Navarro, Sociedad Latina; and Marquis Victor, Elevated Thought. With Shaneez Tyndall, Mass Cultural Council.

2018 Amplify Grant Recipients

BALLET ROX
A conceptual dance project demonstrating and addressing social issues present among young teens such as bullying, body image, and cultural differences. The dance will be performed at the Wake up the Earth Festival and Dance for World community.

BIRD STREET COMMUNITY CENTER
Youth will experience a career exploration of the fashion field learning how to create and put on their own photo shoots, design and construct custom made clothing using fabric materials and equipment, and publish a magazine highlighting their efforts and successes throughout the year.

BOOKS OF HOPE
Teen facilitator Andrine will plan the curriculum through 2017-2018 and execute monthly lessons and a series of creative writing workshops for teens and preteens in coordination with Books of Hope and Mystic Learning Center staff and administration.

BOSTON CITY SINGERS
Through music and illustration, the tour choir will compose works of art that visualize ‘what music means to me.’ Members will use various mediums to personalize their work which will be presented to the choir, photographed and made into a banner which will be displayed at local cafes, Boston Public Library Dorchester, and the Strand Theater.

CLUBHOUSE NETWORK
Through a series of hands-on workshops, students will use Vocaloid – a software program which enables users to synthesize “singing” – to learn about vocal synthesis, music production, animation, and creative collaboration through the creation of original songs and music videos.

COMMUNITY ART CENTER
Students will create the Port Art blog to document stories, articles, videos, updates, and personal podcasts focusing on two community needs – the important role of arts in Cambridge and youth voice. The blog plans to engage 150 teen contributors.

ELEVATED THOUGHT
Falling under Elevated Thought’s ‘Nature of Home’ focus, the documentary project ‘Immigrant Narratives’ will capture immigration stories of members of the community. Stories will come to life through camera interviews, photography, and interpretation of these narratives through poetry.

ENCHANTED CIRCLE THEATER
Designed by leaders of the Youth Truth performance ensemble, ‘Sharing our Truth’ is an abbreviated performance of the Youth Truth script. The project will spread awareness of teens experiencing out of home care and teach peers how to support these students.

GROUNDWORK LAWRENCE
Using the Storytelling Project Curriculum created by Columbia University, students will learn about race and racism and consider how diverse stories can make a difference. Each student will share positive personal stories of living in Lawrence and redefine the media’s narrative on the Lawrence community through art, writing, and performance.

HYDE SQUARE TASK FORCE
Ritmo en Accion youth leaders will collaborate with the music and theatre youth teams to adapt Afro-Latin folktales into a public performance to share with the community. Students will work with project scholar Dr. Lorna Rivera and other content specific experts to ensure the authenticity and relevance of the dance to the folktale’s culture of origin.

KIDS 4 HARMONY
Students will perform original compositions along with accompanying visual and written components guided by the theme of “The Berkshires” in which students will explore a location, event, or feeling associated with living in the Berkshires.

NEW BEDFORD WHALING MUSEUM
Apprentices will create an exhibition at the Museum focusing on New Bedford’s first black photographer, James E. Reed. Students will explore who James was, learn about the history and business of photography and explore the history of the city of New Bedford through the eyes of the photographer. The final exhibition will showcase original work by the apprentices as well as provide access to materials in the Museum’s collection including the original cameras, backdrops and photographs of James E. Reed.

PROVINCETOWN ART ASSOCIATION & MUSEUM (PAAM)
Five workshops taught by 10 current Art Reach student-artists with focuses on dry point etching, painting, color theory, writing and character development, and life drawing will be presented to the public over the weekend of May 12-13, 2018. This is an intergenerational project allowing Art Reach students to showcase lessons from PAAM and an opportunity for adults to learn from the younger generation. The project will provide income to student teachers for curriculum planning and teaching/co-teaching as well as a platform for creative leadership in the community.

WORCESTER YOUTH CENTER
Students will work with an artist to explore social justice issues and design a mural for the WYC building in a 7-week creative expression program. A culminating event will be held in which youth and the community will paint the mural over a recently demolished portion of the WYC building.

WORCESTER CHAMBER MUSIC
Students will have the opportunity to work in a studio to record chamber music which can be streamed online and visit WCATV to talk about the program and perform live on television. This project will bring classical music to populations who don’t normally hear or have access to it (i.e. nursing homes).

Hyde Square Task Force Youth Writes Musical for Boston’s Latin Quarter

A young woman and young man sing and hold hands facing one another outside on a sunny day. Image by Mark Saperstein.

Couple is singing and holding hands to the left of the frame, while a crowd of mostly standing onlookers watches their performance on the right side of the frame. Image by Jessica Guzman.This year for the first time ever, and with support from Mass Cultural Council’s Amplify grant, Hyde Square Task Force (HSTF) youth and staff undertook the immense challenge of co-writing and co-producing an original musical.

What came out of that process was El Barrio: Boston’s Latin Quarter, an interactive show featuring the stories of countless immigrants and hard working families that have contributed to the fabric of the community in the Hyde/Jackson Square neighborhood of Jamaica Plain.

 

“My name is Orlando and I’ll try to say it slow

Puerto Rican boy and my flow runs this show

Raised without a father, just me and my brother and my mother

who every day just keep getting stronger.”

Orlando is a is one of the lead character  and was played by Victor, one of HSTF’s youth dancers.

In a true show of Amplify’s  spirit, Victor and his peers from HSTF’s Ritmo en Acción Afro-Latin dance team co-choreographed original pieces for the musical, derived from bachata, merengue, salsa, and Latin-infused hip-hop. For the first time, Ritmo dancers collaborated extensively with their peers on the Music and Theater teams to produce this musical, using their neighborhood as a moving stage. Ritmo dancers, working with Program Coordinator Audrey Guerrero and Resident Artist Angeline Egea, choreographed steps to original songs written and performed by youth musicians, and followed stage direction and cues from youth on the Theater team.

Young man singing in Hyde Square Task Force's El Barrio! musical. Photo by Jessica Guzman.Hundreds of community members took part in matinee and evening performances, traveling through the show with performers. Through dance and through the arts, this young group shared the history of their community, while growing outside of their primary artistic disciplines and leading this exuberant demonstration of the power of creative youth development. HSTF youth and staff eagerly await the next opportunity to showcase the stories, values, and potential that defines their community.

See more photos from El Barrio: Boston’s Latin Quarter Musical.

Youth Mentor Brings the SOUL

Artwork by Nic Bennett

Express Yourself mentor, Nic Bennett, has been hard at work completing his large scale exhibition funded by an Amplify Grant from the Mass Cultural Council.

Nic is an Express Yourself participant of 16 years and a long-time youth mentor –  the longest running participant in Express Yourself history. He is leading youth and junior mentors in creating two large panels inspired by the theme SOUL to be displayed outside Express Yourself’s studio. Using quilting patterns and a specific color palette, Nic designed a modular project to be individually painted by youth and then assembled into the final piece.

His project fosters youth leadership within the studio setting and brings public art to the Cummings Center in Beverly, MA. The exhibition will be presented during a studio reception and will be on full display in the Cummings Center after the show at the Boch Center Wang Theater on May 25.

This article originally appeared on Express Yourself’s site.

Youth Voice Amplified at State House Celebration

Last month, we gathered young people, educators, and leaders from creative youth development programs, and their legislators at the State House to celebrate our Amplify grant recipients.

Now in its second year, Amplify has funded 27 projects designed and executed by young people in programs currently supported by our YouthReach and SerHacer programs. The grants support the creation of work by young people in the arts, sciences, or humanities that demonstrates the capacity they have to be visible and audible participants in developing safe and thriving communities throughout the Commonwealth.​

A young filmmaker from the Actors’ Shakespeare Project, Xavier Harvey, described the experience of being an Amplify grantee as “innovation, inspiration, and motivation”:

Amplify grant recipient Boston City Singers shared their voice:

And Marquis Victor, President and Executive Director of Elevated Thought in Lawrence, spoke with passion and poetry.

Legislators were on hand to congratulate the youth leaders, including Senator Adam Hinds, Chair of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development.

“I’m so glad that you are stepping up in helping your communities, and I want you to know that in this building you’ve got a bunch of people who are going to get your back, and make sure that you can keep doing that,” he said.