Pérez Art Museum Miami’s Brick x Brick Program Recognized by Federal Arts and Culture Agencies with Nation’s Top Honor

Cited as one of the best creative youth development programs in the country

Two girls looking at art
LEFT: Students at an end of the year showcase 

MIAMI November 9, 2017 – Student Balthazar Cordova, 17, of Miami, Florida was in the Nation’s capital today to receive an award from all three federal arts and culture agencies on behalf of Pérez Art Museum Miami’s (PAMM) Brick x Brick community outreach program. The program was recognized for its effectiveness in promoting learning and life skills in young people by engaging them through creative youth development programs. The after-school program received the 2017 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, the nation’s highest honor for these programs.

The award recognizes the country’s best creative youth development programs for using engagement in the arts and the humanities to generate a wide range of positive outcomes, such as increases in academic achievement, graduation rates, and college enrollment. The awardees—chosen from a pool of 350 nominations and 50 finalists—were also recognized for improving literacy and language abilities, communication and performance skills, and cultural awareness.

First presented in 1998, the 2017 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award were presented through a partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), in cooperation with the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA).

“I’m proud to represent my peers in accepting this award for PAMM,” said Brick x Brick student Balthazar Cordova. “A lot of people think that arts education just prepares you to become an artist, but it doesn’t. Arts education can be applied to all different kinds of disciplines – giving the tools to kids like me to change lives and communities.”

PAMM is the largest provider of art education outside of Miami-Dade County School District. Its Brick x Brick program was created to reach teens in underserved communities throughout Miami-Dade County and transform lives through art. Since its founding in 2007, the program has engaged more than 600 students with art and design learning activities to discover the power of their creativity to change their circumstances and communities. In the program, students learn problem-solving skills, how to collaborate in a team, and critical thinking. The powerful impact of the program is illustrated by the many teens who find their voice, passions, and confidence through the program to change their lives and the world around them.

"These 12 creative youth development programs represent the best of the best," said Pam Breaux, president and chief executive officer of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies. "They are living proof of the power of the arts and the humanities to build the skills young people need to succeed in school and in life."

The award was celebrated by long-time partners and supporters of PAMM, including Michael Spring, director of Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, National Endowment for the Arts, The Prentice Foundation, Nordstrom, Allied Universal Security Services, and Irene and Irv Barr.

“By engaging and inspiring young people, Brick x Brick gives students not just the vision but the practical skills to apply lessons learned with arts-based learning, into their lives, families and communities,” said PAMM Director Franklin Sirmans. “Led by working artists, Brick x Brick illustrates the transformative power of the arts by facilitating engagement with diverse projects tied to connecting people with their community. Hats off to Kerry Keeler for spearheading this program’s incredible growth and impact over the last decade.”

In addition to the national recognition bestowed by receipt of the prestigious award, Brick x Brick will also receive $10,000 to support its programming and engage more young people from the community.

“We hope this award will draw attention to the fact that programs like ours are essential investments, not just in the lives of our young people, but in our community,” said PAMM Deputy Director for Education Adrienne Chadwick.  “We’re incredibly proud of this achievement and of our students, artist mentors, supporters, board and staff who made it possible.”

Launched with generous funding from the Heckscher Foundation for Children, Brick x Brick has been made possible by endowed funds granted by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to underwrite the museum's broad portfolio of education programs, and by gifts from additional program supporters including the National Endowment for the Arts, Barr Management Ltd, Educational Foundation of America, The Prentice Foundation, Western Union, JP Morgan Chase, Nordstrom, Best Buy and Allied Universal. Together with leadership support from Miami-Dade County, these funders enable the museum to transform the lives of young people in our community through our art education programs.

For more information about Brick x Brick, please visit pamm.org/brickxbrick. For more information about the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards, visit nahyp.org.

Photos and photo captions from the Washington ceremony will be available for download via Flickr by 8 pm ET on November 9, 2017. To access the photo album, use this link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pcah_nahyp/albums

A video about the program and the award, with interviews of the PAMM representatives at the ceremony, will be available upon request.

About Pérez Art Museum Miami
Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) promotes artistic expression and the exchange of ideas, advancing public knowledge and appreciation of art, architecture and design, and reflecting the diverse community of its pivotal geographic location at the crossroads of the Americas. A nearly 35-year-old South Florida institution formerly known as Miami Art Museum (MAM), Pérez Art Museum Miami opened a new building, designed by world-renowned architects Herzog & de Meuron, in Downtown Miami’s Museum Park on December 4, 2013. The facility is a state-of-the-art model for sustainable museum design and progressive programming and features 200,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor program space with flexible galleries; shaded outdoor verandas; a waterfront restaurant and bar; a museum shop; and an education center with a library, media lab and classroom spaces. For more information, please visit www.pamm.org, find us on Facebook (facebook.com/perezartmuseummiami), or follow us on Twitter/Instagram (@pamm).


Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) is sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. Support is provided by the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners. Additional support is provided by the City of Miami and the Miami OMNI Community Redevelopment Agency (OMNI CRA). Pérez Art Museum Miami is an accessible facility. All contents ©Pérez Art Museum Miami. All rights reserved.

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