Filed Under:  Arts & Culture, Local, News

Kuumba Summer Program at Ashé

3rd June 2013   ·   0 Comments

By Kelly Parker
Contributing Writer

Right on the heels of the end of the school year comes the summer camp season, and in Central City; it’s all about culture and creativity.

Ashé Cultural Arts Center an­nounced its seven-week summer program, the Kuumba Institute Summer Program, beginning June 3 for youth ages six to 16. The program; which runs until July 19th, will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Ashé Cultural Arts center, 1724 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.

Tuition for the summer program is $250 for one child, $350 for a family of two children, and $450 for a family of three. Registration is $40 per child.

The Kuumba Institute was funded in January 2009, by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. After an initial planning period, the Institute enrolled youth participants in May 2009. Designed for children in the New Orleans area between the ages of 6 and 16 years, the Kuumba Youth Program provides rich experiences in the cultural arts. Created as a conduit for the artistic expression, growth and survival in a recovering community, the program encourages the power of artistic expression in building relationships in community and the world. The concept for the name of the program was inspired by one of the seven principles of Kwanza. The Kuumba principle teaches us to “always do as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our communities more beautiful and beneficial than when we inherited it”.

Over the past four years, the Kuumba Institute has provided children in Greater New Orleans with cultural education through the performing and visual arts – Poetry, Story Telling, Stepping, African Dance, Creative Movement, Film, and Photography, Arts and Crafts, D-Jing, African Drumming, Yoga, Spanish, Capoeira, Martial Arts, Voice, Community and cultural awareness.

This cultural enrichment program aims to inspire students to use culture and the arts to help develop their power of expression. Further, it encourages the building of relationships within the community and throughout the world. Emphasis is placed on the importance of developing communities with culture and creativity in mind.

“Additionally, we educate students in principles of self love, sharing, community, unity, self determination, faith and creativity while exposing them to ways of eating a healthy diet and living healthy as lifestyle choices,” says program coordinator Kesha McKey. “Students have been able to learn and present their artistic accomplishments to the community in several performance events throughout the city giving them a sense of self pride and confidence. We have created a full functioning program serving youth in Central City as well as the Greater New Orleans area and giving them the opportunity to use art as a means of creative expression as well as a tool for growing.”

McKey also told the Louisiana Weekly that program results have been measured through student and parent feedback surveys.

“Sixty percent agreed their children’s academic performance had changed. Over 97% of those indicated improved study habits, interest in school and grades,” she stated.

This article originally published in the June 3, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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