The White House has announced that East Boston’s premier popular music and performing arts program has been named a finalist for the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards.
Zumix, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building community through music and the arts, will be hosting “The House Party” at their facility on the corner of Sumner and Orleans Street on November 2 at 4:00 p.m. to announce if they are one of 12 winners. On that day, First Lady Michelle Obama will present the 2011 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards to representatives from 12 winning organizations, which will be recognized for their effectiveness in developing learning and life skills in young people by engaging them in the arts or humanities.
“We feel very confident about our chances and expect to have around 200 of our participants and family members in attendance, as well as several local politicians and members of the media,” said Zumix Founder and Director Madeleine Steczynski.
Chosen from a pool of more than 471 nominations, Zumix has been named as one of 38 finalists. The award is the highest honor that arts and humanities youth programs can receive in the United States. The awards are administered by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH), in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).
First Lady Obama will present the award to the winners in a ceremony to be broadcast live via streaming video from the East Room of the White House.
Zumix was founded in 1991 in response to the epidemic of violence plaguing Boston’s streets in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Since that time Zumix has offered programs in songwriting and performance, instrumental instruction, community radio, and creative technology for youth ages 7-18, as well as private instrumental lessons for all ages.
Zumix has a very good chance of winning a national award. Studies have shown that low-income youth engaged in arts programs are more likely to stay in school, to get good grades, to graduate, and to enroll in college, thereby addressing several critical challenges confronting youth and the community.