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Reception to Honor Georgia Okeeffe Museums Art and Leadership Program for Receiving White House Award
First Lady Laura Bush awarded local Georgia O’Keeffe Museum’s Art & Leadership Program the prestigious Coming Up Taller Award and $10,000 at a ceremony at the White House. Photo: Steven E. Purcell, courtesy of The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.

SANTA FE, NM.- The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum’s Art and Leadership Program, which supports and develops leadership qualities in Santa Fe area youth through arts activities, was nationally recognized as one of 19 youth arts and humanities programs to receive the prestigious 2008 Coming Up Taller Award. Youth and adult representatives of the program traveled to Washington, D.C., for a ceremony on November 14, where they accepted the award.

In recognition of this award, a public reception is being held on Sunday, November 23, 2008 from 2-4 PM at the Museum’s Education Annex, 123 Grant Avenue. Remarks will be made from 2:30 – 3:00 PM by Santa Fe Public Schools Superintendent, Bobbie J. Gutierrez, award representative, Shiann Gonzales, and the program director, Jackie M. To RSVP for the reception, please contact Shannon Bay, 505.946.1012.

The Coming Up Taller Awards recognize and support outstanding community arts and humanities programs that celebrate the creativity of America’s young people, and provide them with new learning opportunities and a chance to contribute to their communities. The awards also highlight the contributions that historians, scholars, librarians and visual and performing arts make to families and communities by mentoring children. More than 350 nominations were received by the program in 2008.

Leadership is often associated with politics or sports, but the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum launched the Art and Leadership Program in 1998 to nurture leadership skills in artistically inclined local children from low-income families facing at-risk challenges. For two weeks during the summer, young people attending the tuition-free program are immersed in theater games, role-playing exercises, drawing and portraiture. Leadership development exercises are woven into all of the activities, and help promote each student’s ability to set goals, make sound decisions and articulate needs.

Shiann Gonzales has participated in the Art and Leadership Program for the past two summers and was nominated for the program by her art teacher at Cesar Chavez Elementary School because she is very artistic and a great leader among her peers. She now attends Ortiz Middle School and is the captain of her basketball team there. Shiann loves to draw and says she has gained confidence from her time in the Art and Leadership Program.

“This has been an amazing opportunity that most kids don’t get. Going to the White House, I was most surprised at First Lady Laura Bush’s presence. She was so outgoing, and just like the rest of us women,” Said Shiann Gonzales, who is 13 and a 7th grader at Ortiz Middle School, after receiving the award.

Coming Up Taller is an initiative of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH). The President’s Committee partners with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to administer the program, which was founded in 1998.

The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities bridges the interests of federal agencies and the private sector, supports special projects that increase participation, and helps incorporate the humanities and the arts into White House objectives. The National Endowment for the Arts is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts, both new and established; bringing the arts to all Americans; and providing leadership in arts education. Because democracy demands wisdom, the National Endowment for the Humanities serves and strengthens our Republic by promoting excellence in the humanities and conveying the lessons of history to all Americans. The Institute of Museum and Library Services is an independent federal grant making agency dedicated to creating and sustaining a nation of learners.

For more information please visit the following Web sites:

Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Art and Leadership Program
Coming Up Taller:
President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities:
National Endowment for the Arts:
National Endowment for the Humanities:
Institute of Museum and Library Services:

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