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For 80 years the Community Art Center (CAC) has provided a second home for children through culturally relevant after school arts and media programs. CAC programs capture the creative spirit of children who without us would be "at home bored, doing nothing" or "on the streets." Generations of families have passed through our classrooms by drawing, writing, dancing, and learning photography, pottery, and video from our dedicated staff and volunteers, some of whom themselves grew up at the Art Center. Now, we are boosting traditional art forms with 21st century technology in our computer lab and design studios. During the most dangerous hours in a child's day, the Community Art Center offers not only safe care, but a vibrant, creative learning environment. The CAC is a neighborhood institution that is committed to nurturing children and young adults with limited access to financial resources so they achieve personal and cultural growth, and have a positive impact on their world through joyful experiences in the arts. The world that CAC children will inhabit demands citizens who are more flexible, inventive, and globally aware than ever. We are preparing them to be equal players and to achieve personal and professional success.
We provide comprehensive, year-round after school programs for over 100 youth annually who live primarily in Washington Elms/Newtowne Court public housing. An additional 600 youth and adults participate as audience members at our public screenings and workshops every year. Our curriculum uses the arts as a tool for developing self-sufficiency and offers avenues for high achievement in a variety of artistic disciplines, as well as in academics, employment and social relationships. We have a strong record of retaining youth over several years, with many returning as staff, parents or board members. Our signature project is the "Do It Your Damn Self!!" National Youth Video and Film Festival, the first youth-produced film festival of its kind in the country.