The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston will receive the nation’s highest honor for after-school arts and humanities programs, in recognition of its work with teens.
First lady Michelle Obama will present the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award on Monday at the White House to ICA director Jill Medvedow and to 18-year-old Romario Accime of Hyde Park, a member of the ICA Teen Arts Council. Chosen from more than 350 nominations and 50 finalists, the ICA’s teen initiative is among 12 after-school and out-of-school programs across the country to receive the award.
The ICA has increased its commitment to teens since opening its expanded museum in 2006, offering a spectrum of programs that encourage youth to engage with art and artists. These include digital media courses; Fast Forward, an after-school film program; the Teen Arts Council, which employs teens to act as ambassadors for the ICA in their schools and neighborhood; and the annual National Convening for Teens in the Arts, a forum for teens and educators to discuss the role of museums as resources and safe spaces for youth. Although all teens are welcome to participate, the museum concentrates its outreach in the low-income neighboring areas of Dorchester, Roxbury, and South Boston.
The ICA has emphasized teen programs because adolescents “are our future artists, audiences, and leaders,” said Medvedow. “There’s a limited number of ways that young people can forge a positive path. I think the military is one. Education is one. Community service is one, and sports, and religion. And the arts is one.”
The ICA’s award comes with a $10,000 grant.
“What can I say? I am really proud,” said Medvedow, “. . . and I can’t wait to be in the White House.”