New Brunswick, NJ – June 23, 2010 – Centered on a theme of “It Begins With Me: Self Respect, Inner Strength and Commitment” and featuring arts workshops that include dance, theater, photography and visual arts, the 14th annual Artists Mentoring Against Racism, Drugs and Violence (AMARD&V): Healing through the Arts Summer Camp is set to begin July 12 through August 13.
The Healing through the Arts Summer Camp began in 1996 through a partnership between the Rutgers University Center for Latino Arts and Culture (CLAC), the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Community Health Promotion Program, the Puerto Rican Action Board (PRAB), and the Suydam Street Reformed Church. According to CLAC director Carlos Fernandez, “the program was created in response to various community concerns, including changing demographics of the city; increased number of incidents of racial, ethnic or gang violence; and lack of accessible, safe and positive activities for at risk youth during summer months. Over the years the program has developed into a full day, five days per week program carefully designed to reduce bias and promote positive behaviors through a combination of arts education and health literacy curricula.
In 2007, the AMARD&V Summer Camp received a letter of commendation from the New Jersey Secretary of State as an exemplary model. Now on its 14th year, the program continues to engage a number of community based partners in the effort, including the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, the Puerto Rican Action Board, the New Brunswick Police Department and the City of New Brunswick.
The summer camp will be held on the Rutgers University Douglass Campus. The program will run Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, providing a full day of arts, health, and learning activities as well as recreation trips. Thanks to a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and support from its local partners, the program will accommodate 70 children at no cost to participants. All New Brunswick resident youth ages 10-16 are eligible to apply. Art workshops are taught by a team of professional artists that include Rutgers alumnae and community artists. Rutgers students serve as artist assistants and youth counselors, helping the kids throughout the day.
Directed by local artist and playwright Claudio Mir, this year’s camp will include daily workshops with Kingston-based photographer Oscar Insua, actor and playwright Vondell Richmond, Afro-Puerto Rican bomba artists Nelson Baez and Magda Luccioni Baez of the Cimarrones ensemble, mural artist Ricardo Coke, curator and art historian Jillian Hernandez, and visual artists Misti Asberry and Leticia Luevanos. This year’s educational programs will include an overnight stay at the Rutgers Nicholas Residence Hall on the Douglass Campus and weekly workshops on health and wellbeing, life-skills training and gang resistance, and career development. Weekly recreation trips will include a leadership and team-building ropes course, a visit to Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton NJ, a movie theatre visit, a full-day museum program in New York City, and a Mini Olympics program at Rutgers Gardens.
On Friday, August 13 the camp will showcase the work created by participating youth in a public program beginning at 4:00 pm with the public unveiling of a new community mural at the Puerto Rican Action Board, located at 90 Jersey Avenue in New Brunswick. The program will then continue at 6 pm at Cooper Dining Hall, located on 18 Jones Avenue on the Douglass Campus in New Brunswick. The evening program will feature an outdoor carnival parade, theater skits at Cabaret Theatre, music and dance performances, and an exhibition featuring the full range of artwork produced by youth during the camp.
For additional information, contact Carlos Fernandez at the Center for Latino Arts and Culture, 732-932-1263.