Dot arts program hailed at White House

Federated Dorchester Neighborhood Houses (FDNH) received the Coming Up Taller Award for its Art a la Carte program at a ceremony hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House last week. FDNH CEO Mark Culliton and Art a la Carte student Liana Rae Farmer, above, were greeted by the first Lady at the ceremony in Washington. Photo courtesy FDNH.

Federated Dorchester Neighborhood Houses (FDNH) received the Coming Up Taller Award for its Art a la Carte program at a ceremony hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House. FDNH CEO Mark Culliton and Art a la Carte student Liana Rae Farmer attended the White House ceremony as one of 15 youth arts and humanities programs from across the country to receive this prestigious honor. Coming Up Taller is a national initiative that recognizes and supports outstanding out-of-school and after-school arts and humanities programs for children, especially those with great potential, but limited outlets for creative expression. Art a la Carte is a teen art program directed by Debbie Aspen of FDNH that links area youth with Boston’s local cultural community through classes, internships, work experiences and field trips. Teens learn the creative process, develop portfolios for Advanced Placement credit and college applications, and gain practical skills in gallery exhibition and museum work. In addition to providing quality arts instruction, the program is designed to equip students with the skills they need to gain acceptance to, and succeed in, college.

During the official White House ceremony, Mrs. Obama commended Art a la Carte and all of the award winners by stating, “Ultimately, each of your programs is using achievement in the arts as a bridge to achievement in life.” She continued, “You ask our young people to dream, and you give them the tools to fulfill those dreams. You affirm that their contributions are valuable, and their success matters to all of us. You help them see beyond the circumstances of their lives to the world of possibility that awaits them. And for that, we honor you.”

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