Arts in Public Programs
When a community seeks to develop comprehensive appreciation of the arts, it must afford equal access and appreciation of the diversity and practicality of artistic endeavors by its youngest members. Recognizing the importance of the public arts in the advancement of civic pride and cultural appreciation, the City of Scottsdale began partnering with the APPLE Corps Grants Program in the summer of 1995..
Over the course of 12 months the program has enjoyed extraordinary success. Over 400 young people have been introduced to a variety of artisans working in visual and literary mediums. Three community events involving over 1,500 residents have demonstrated the benefits of well ordered and successful art projects.
The project's first venture involved the Paiute area, an economically disadvantaged neighborhood with particularly high unemployment and racial tension. To address cultural tensions in the area, the City of Scottsdale and the APPLE Corps Grants Program employed a mural artisan to produce an art piece to symbolize the area and the successes to be realized once the community -- both long-time neighbors and new families -- came together to address its economic and social problems. The activity enlisted assistance from the entire community and was the first community outreach project in which participants truly reflected the surrounding community. The mural produced stands as a testament to the strength of the community realized through the diversity of its members.
Scottsdale's second effort is an on-going project to introduce the arts to children in the less affluent areas of our community. An Artist in Residence Program has been established and serves youth in a highly structured afterschool program. The goal is to advance literary skills through projects that tap the writing potential of participants six to 12 years of age. Artists have completed two projects through which children's works were developed. The first project included a 12-week session in which children worked with an artist twice a week. The collection, "A Hummingbird Sings in a Blueberry Bush," was showcased in a community unveiling. Two hundred copies of the book were printed and sold to raise proceeds to fund additional art projects. The second project resulted in an anthology of the work of more than 25 young artists. This piece, "The Story of Eight," was again showcased at a community event where families, teachers, city staff and other community members celebrated the successes of the program participants.
Scottsdale has been a community that has relished the arts since its beginnings in the late 1800's. Through this program, the residents of Scottsdale have been empowered to continue this appreciation for future generations, and concurrently have taught their youngest community members that artists are creators, teachers, parents, friends and family members. The participants themselves are creative persons who now share a responsibility to enrich their community through their own artistic prowess. At this time, when our young people are more at risk of destructive behavior than ever before, a strong appreciation for the arts and personal artistic ability will serve them in developing a strong base of leisure skills to occupy idle time.
Contact: Jason LaPointe, (602) 994-2331
Lifelong Education at Neighborhood Center
Take an old school campus and turn it into a school again, a school of lifelong learning for a whole neighborhood. This was the vision of the residents of the Paiute neighborhood of Scottsdale, as they partnered with the city, businesses and public agencies to plan a neighborhood center to meet the needs of their community and to act as a bridge between the young families and seniors, the Hispanics and Anglos, the new and long-time residents of the community.
The City of Scottsdale purchased the old Paiute Elementary School, 10 buildings on a large campus connected by concrete pathways and surrounded by large grassy areas and ample parking. A survey of Paiute residents reflected a strong interest in computer training and a desire for a strong education component at the Center.
To address the many needs of the community, financial support was of the utmost importance. The private sector stepped up to the plate and put their weight behind this new concept of community center. Five organizations adopted individual buildings on the old school campus in the first year. The Motorola Building consists of a computer center, including 20 IBM and Macintosh computers, printers, desks, and software, a community room, a Head Start pre-school classroom and reservable classroom space. The Scottsdale Association of Realtors, Salt River Project, the Scottsdale Progress Tribune, and the Scottsdale Soroptimist Club similarly sponsored the renovation of individual buildings which are being used as multi-purpose rooms, a kitchen for cooking classes and food programs such as Meals on Wheels, a teen center, arts and crafts room, a mini-theater, and a day care training program and center. The North Scottsdale Lions Club, the Arizona Community Foundation, Target, and Norwest Bank also provided assistance and have expressed a desire to continue their participation in the future.
This partnership philosophy extends to city and county departments and social service agencies working together to provide programs aimed at positive outcomes for children and families in the community. Headstart, YMCA, EMPACT, the Scottsdale Prevention Institute, the Boys and Girls Club, the Scottsdale Public School District and the Parks and Recreation Department coordinate educational and cultural programs for all ages. Some of the programs offered include preschool, parenting classes, after-school tutoring and recreation, English as a Second Language, conversational Spanish, nutrition, job skills training, senior fitness and bilingual counseling. The Handle Bar program offers residents the opportunity to earn a bicycle of their own by working community service hours at a City of Scottsdale facility. Maricopa County will partner with the City of Scottsdale to design and construct a primary health care clinic. Norwest Bank offers financial education and a special mortgage plan for low and moderate income families.
Volunteers are vital to the success of the partnership effort. Residents have taken ownership of the program. With only two full-time staff, the operation of the facility requires up to 100 volunteers, and the volunteer program is being coordinated by a volunteer.
Contact: Alma Estefano, (602) 994-2597, or Bob McNair, (602) 994-7681
The United States Conference of Mayors
J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
Copyright ©1996, U.S. Conference of Mayors, All rights reserved.