By Cara Williams,
Special to the AFRO
The Society is a national non-profit organization for women in the arts – and has used their skill, talents and connections to support the arts – creating more artful communities and schools. The Harbor City Maryland Chapter has been creating communities that are more artful since 2017.
The Society chooses youth from sixth- to 11th-grades and “ensures the youth of our community are provided with opportunities to develop skills and appreciate the arts through the programming events supported by the chapter member,” according to Debra Mahone, Ed. D, president of the Harbor City Maryland Chapter since 2020.
The mentoring program is called ARTS, or Assisting and Recruiting Talented Students.
The program is designed for students under 18 and not only exposes the youth to art but also prepares students interested in the arts to apply for scholarships when they become seniors.
They also offer a scholarship to youth who intend to continue their education.
The Harbor City Chapter of the Society recently completed their most rewarding collaboration of the year with the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System. The Society handpicked eight local youth and displayed their artwork in the Prince George’s County Library, the new Hyattsville branch.
The exhibit, “Expressing Your Superpower Through the Arts,” details artwork in brilliant colors and bold expressions of strength.
“Nefertiti’s Legacy” by Trinity Prout, a seventh-grader at Thomas G. Pullen Creative & Performing Arts Academy, was inspired by Black excellence presented by Vice President Kamala Harris and Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman Supreme Court Justice of the United States.
“The Colors of My Black Heritage” by A’niyah Howard, an eleventh grader at Parkdale High School, is a digital piece that displays a contrast between white and black. The African-American greats above the head of the woman were figures A’niyah thought were essential to our history.
There are several more excellent pieces on exhibit at the library from June 1 to July 15. The work can also be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/thesocietyforthearts/mentions
The ARTS program is open to all youth from the DMV area from grades sixth- to 11.
“We do not turn anyone away,” Mahone said.
Mahone has another objective which is to reach the youth in underserved communities that would not otherwise benefit from attending professional performances.
In that vein, Mahone’s ties with the Coalition of African Americans in the Performing Arts give the youth that opportunity.
The coalition introduces the arts in the form of opera. They will be giving a concert, “Opera from a Sistah’s Point of View,” at the Center for the Performing Arts, Prince George’s Community College on June 25. The youth are free with a paying adult.
The Society has taken youth to The Dance Theater of Harlem at the Kennedy Center and plans to expand its Prince George’s County youth partnerships by connecting with students at Prince George’s County Community College and Bowie State University.
The Society, Harbor City Maryland Chapter is succeeding in its goal to expose youth in Prince George’s County and across the DMV to high-quality experiences and opportunities in the arts.
As their collaborations grow, they will light many pathways for the youth to follow and open their eyes to diversity in the arts.
The Society goes on hiatus at the end of June and will reconvene in the Fall.
If you know of a promising young person in the arts who would benefit from exposure to the artistic community represented by The Society, contact them at Harbor City Socety@gmail.com
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