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Uplifting Communities Through Youth at Jubilee Arts

Uplifting Communities Through Youth at Jubilee Arts

MAY 9, 2016

by Danae Bell

I’ll bet money that I am probably having the most fun out of all the other fellows. My fellowship experience at the cultural art institution Jubilee Arts has been challenging yet exciting. At the beginning of my placement at Jubilee Arts I was simply told I would be working on a transportation project to assist in transporting youth participants from school to Jubilee Arts and from Jubilee Arts to their homes, but some days I walk into Jubilee Arts I am doing various other tasks. Not only am I gaining experience in project management, grant writing, and community research, I am also assistant teaching, disciplining children, and encouraging people to vote in the primary presidential election to get Jubilee Arts founder, Elder Harris, off the roof of the building. As unpredictable Jubilee Arts is, I am happy I was placed here. Jubilee Arts has helped me see the various ways I can use my skills in anthropological research, communication, and media to assist communities.

This transportation project I have been dedicating my time to has been a very interesting project. At first the project was hard for me to relate. Where I am from, the suburbs of Maryland, if a child attends an after school program outside of their school then it is their parent’s responsibility to pick them up from school, take them to the program, and pick them up from the program when it has ended. Transportation was never an issue of concern in the suburbs of Maryland but at Jubilee Arts it is a major problem. According to my observations at Jubilee Arts, not all the children have stay at home parents and/or parents with regular working hours to rely on to pick them from school and/or take them to and from after school programs. To support this observation, in line with survey data I collected from youth participants parents, the children that attend Jubilee Arts the most are the children that are picked up by Jubilee Art staff from school compared to the children that are dropped off by a family member or take public transportation. From this piece of evidence you can see, Jubilee Arts needs a transportation service to maintain participation in their youth programs.

On the other side of this transportation project, Jubilee Arts has also given me the opportunity to network around Baltimore art scene and assist with other non-profit roles. The volunteer coordinator and community project manager at Jubilee Arts allows me to assist with their tasks and learn more about their responsibilities. What I am enjoying the most from my experience at Jubilee Arts is establishing a relationship with the Sandtown-Winchester community and the participants of Jubilee Arts programs. I have gone to a gallery in support of the Jubilee Arts youth business activities and have become good acquaintances with Intersection of Change, a community-based nonprofit focused on community development in west Baltimore. Furthermore, I have been introduced to various artists around Baltimore City and have met many reporters from newspapers and new channels and a producer from HBO.

During the beginning of this placement, I did not predict that I would be experiencing such diversity during my time at Jubilee Arts but as unpredictable as Jubilee Arts is, I am delighted I was placed here. It has enlighten me about how much I enjoy working with youth and how my skills and knowledge can be utilized to uplift communities by helping any individual explore their creative endeavors in the arts. In addition, it has reassured me that working in non-profit communities is the right environment for me.

#GreaterBalitmoreCulturalAlliance #UrbanArtsLeadershipProgramFellowship #JubileeArts #Community #Transportation #IntersectionofChange

Danae Bell is a senior at the University of Maryland Baltimore County working toward an undergraduate degree in Media and Communications and Cultural Anthropology. She has worked as a research assistance at Towson University and is currently volunteering for Bmore Than Dance. In both roles, Ms. Bell has used her skills and knowledge in photography, digital media, and anthropological research methodology to conduct social research on various communities in Baltimore and has displayed her findings and observations in a visual manner.

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