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Teaching Self-Worth: artVentures

“I was the shy kid who got bullied by 8th graders every day. I was the kid without a father who was insecure. I was the kid who dropped her Irish accent to fit in. Now I am the “Creative Woman” who embraces her past and loves herself” ~AIR Participant

Arts In Reach is a program which supports underprivileged teen girls by providing them with cost-free arts enrichment workshops and experiences. The program seeks to offer the girls space to flex their creative muscles while developing confidence, critical thinking skills and a sense of self-worth.

In the summer of 2013, Arts In Reach launched artVentures, a multi-disciplinary arts program led by two professional visual artists and an art therapist. Over the course of two consecutive three-week programs, participants collaborated with the artists and with each other to develop a multi-disciplinary portfolio showcasing their work.

Throughout the course of the program, participants visited several cultural and historical sites including Rye Beach, Hackmatack Theatre and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

AIR also forged a successful partnership with the Seacoast Repertory Theatre, allowing the girls to enjoy a free showing of You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, in addition to workshops and personal time with the cast.

Each session of artVentures culminated in a showcase performance of the girls’ work.

This project was coordinated by Executive Director Virginia Skevington, Program Director Shannon Marshall, and Americorp VISTA member Rebecca Romanoski.

The 2013 summer program was made possible by numerous financial contributions, including a Youth Arts Project Grant from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts.

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Further testimonials:

“Before I came to AIR my life was hectic, full of drama and I didn’t know how to get out of it. After being in AIR there is no drama, I am going to use everything I learned at AIR”

~AIR Participant

Taken from one participant's poetic work: "In a crowd, I cannot breathe, all I can do is shake and I just want to leave. I am all alone without support, I hate my life and am reaching my last resort. [Now] my breathing isn’t too shallow and my shaking has stopped. I’m starting to see the light, and my bubble has been popped. I’m not alone and I have support, now I rarely think of my last resort”


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