Community partnership allows students to work for social change with art

BALTIMORE - In Southwest Baltimore it's 3:15pm and school is out, but the learning continues with Access Art.  It's an After School Arts and Media Center that serves over 100 youths.

They use their artistic ability and understanding of the environment for social change.

"It's really fun and it's not like school. It's not boring.  They make everything fun.  It's fun to do and they make a lot of art to show us and we make art about us," said Jaela Paranilam, fourth grade student with Access Art.

On this day students are participating in a drawing exercise. Access Art serves low income youth from Morrell Park.  The program offers photography, video and other types of art.

It helps build confidence and keeps kids in school.

"It's very important to keep kids engaged.  I think art programs are specific ways to engage youth and keep them safe and keep them off the streets with at risk behavior," said Marshall Clarke, Executive Director with Access Art, Inc.

In honor of Rosenberg Martin Greenberg Law Firms' 25th anniversary, the law firm offered an endowment for education and a grant from the fund was awarded to Access Art, Inc.

"There is a real need for educational reform in Baltimore City. There is nothing a business that is located in Baltimore can invest in and gets a better long term payback than in education," said Barry Greenberg, Managing Partner with Rosenberg Martin and Greenberg LLP.

Students learn tools to help them in their journey towards success like social skills, problem solving techniques and a positive self image.

"I want to be a clothes designer and art is the key part because you want to design everything.  It's more important that you get it and start doing it while you are young," said Paranilam.

Access Art was founded in 2000.  More than 300 youth have gained artistic and media based skills from it. 

It is located on Washington Boulevard in the Morrell park area in Southwest Baltimore.

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