Media literacy is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and create media. Media literate youth and adults can better understand the complex messages received from television, radio, Internet, newspapers, magazines, books, billboards, video games, music, and other media forms. ML is crucial in our world today; our ML programs allow participants to create and debate in fun, creative ways, giving them the critical skills to question sources and become conscious consumers of media.
The arts bring us joy, help us express our values, and build bridges between culture, class, race, gender, and sexual orientation. The arts are a fundamental component of a healthy community—strengthening them socially, educationally, and economically—benefits persist even in difficult social and economic times. The Arts improve individual well-being while supporting social connections alleviating loneliness and isolation. Our programs build leadership skills, foster agency, and a sense of community belonging.
Photovoice puts cameras directly in the hands of communities and asks them to document aspects of their lives on a specific issue or theme. Their photographs/videos become the catalyst to frame the narrative that they want to tell about their lives and community while providing essential awareness of the needs and strengths of communities. Photovoice has proven to be successful in engaging and elevating the voices of communities that are typically silenced or ignored.
LGBTQIA Youth often experience ongoing bullying and discrimination, leading to high rates of addiction and suicidal ideation.
The Trevor Project estimates that over 1.8 million LGBTQ youth in the United States seriously consider suicide each year.
Through community-based art, individuals can experience safe spaces that foster creative, healing outlets that celebrate their stories and lived experiences, which can be lifesaving for LGBTQIA people and other minority communities.
Art can raise critical consciousness by raising awareness of social issues and unconscious biases. Art can expose people to new ideas, stories, or images. This is important in social justice-oriented work/research that reveals power dynamics and builds alliances across groups. Art introduces new ways of understanding the world around us while inviting us to see the world through the experiences of others.
Individuals Recovering from addiction and trauma benefit from finding creative ways to express and process feelings. Research has shown art to be effective in supporting relapse prevention. Traumatic experiences send us into flight freeze mode. Artist expression/creative movement has proven to benefit and elevate PTSD symptoms. Creative expression calms the mind, fosters positive feelings, and increases self-esteem. Art also helps to reduce stress, anxiety, and other emotional triggers.
Art has the power to amplify the voices of underrepresented communities, reaching the hearts and minds of a larger society. Art can make visible plus show an accurate representation of the individual and collective experiences while dismantling dominant narratives. This happens by creating opportunities for underrepresented communities to create their own counter-narratives that more accurately represent their lives.