ProjectArt, an NYC-based arts education nonprofit that provides weekly art classes at Brooklyn Public Library, was joined by actor Malik Yoba, a long-time supporter of the local arts and friend of the organization, as well as program participants and teachers on Friday to celebrate a $100,000 grant awarded from the Genesis Motor America Foundation.

The funding will allow ProjectArt to expand its art programs to provide hundreds of Brooklyn children access tuition-free classes.

“This grant to ProjectArt is one of the ways we as a company can support society,” said Erwin Raphael, COO of Genesis Motor America. “We believe if you educate a child, you will change their life. But, if you inspire a child, you will change the world. We took grant applications from many organizations across America and ProjectArt, we felt, was the most efficient at deploying this vision, especially here in Brooklyn, which is so full of culture and art.”

Project Art Executive Director Diana Buckley Muchmore. Photo credit: A. Leonhardt for BK Reader

ProjectArt, which first launched in partnership with Brooklyn Public Library and local artists in 2013, offers visual arts classes during the school year, taught by local, culturally-responsive resident artists in small groups with up to 15 participants. Aside from providing high-quality arts education, the program also equips students with the tools they need to overcome social barriers as they grow into empowered young adults, said Diane Buckley Muchmore, ProjectArt’s executive director.

“We teach kids in our after-school programs during the hours when they really need that special attention and positive creative outlet,” said Buckley Muchmore. “Oftentimes, our teaching artists are from the local communities, who can really identify with the area’s cultural heritage, and who create their lessons around the local cultural landscape and identity. We don’t just talk about Picasso and Monet, but we teach a curriculum that the children can identify with.”

Shane, an enthusiastic ProjectArt student. Photo credit: A. Leonhardt for BK Reader

Currently, ProjectArt offers classes for children age 4 – 12 at eight BPL branches in Brownsville, Bushwick, Crown Heights, East New York, Flatbush, as well as Canarsie and Red Hook — and it’s a lot of fun, as 10-year-old Shane, a student artist, attested.

“It’s been really great doing ProjectArt because I’ve been interacting with a lot of people. We inspire each other,” said Shane, who wants to continue making art and encourages other kids to join the program, too — even if it’s not always easy. “I would advise them to just do what they like, even if it’s hard to do. Just keep doing it.”

ProjectArt is now opening up enrollment for the next round of classes slated to begin in September. To learn more about the programs, go here. 

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Andrea Leonhardt

“Made in Germany,” Andrea Leonhardt is the managing editor for BK Reader. Andrea holds a bachelor’s degree in political science, with minors in American studies and education, and a master’s...

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