Julia Velez, a student at Brooklyn's Millennium High School, celebrates outside MTV in Times Square.
In October, Starting Artists, Inc., a nonprofit arts center that benefits middle and high school students through hands-on training in the media arts and entrepreneurship, won the grand prize for the Why Arts Matter Video Contest sponsored by Americans for the Arts. The grand prize for the winning video included a new Flip UtraHD video camera and a one-week stream of the video live on MTV's massive screen in Times Square.
"We're so proud of our creative and entrepreneurial students," says Marisa Catalina Casey, Starting Artists' executive director. "Creating the video was a communal creative process."
Challenged to answer the question, "Why do arts matter to you?," the after-school students brainstormed words they associated with the arts, which they then used to write a prose poem. The poem's words were matched to New York City photographs taken by Casey, and an intern composed the soundtrack before the final product was edited.