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Ifetayo Cultural Arts Academy Recognized By White House

Brooklyn, New York – The holiday season is off to a great start for the Brooklyn-based Ifetayo Arts Cultural Academy recently honored by the White House as a recipient of the 2013 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, the highest honor offered in the United States for after-school programming.

Talented students of the Ifetayo Youth Ensemble had the opportunity to perform for First Lady Obama in Washington, DC. who indicated during the program that the award is a way to honor outstanding organizations that are using the arts to lift up our young people. The program was recognized for its effectiveness in developing learning and life skills in young people by engaging them in the arts or humanities.

First Lady Michelle Obama presented the award on behalf of the President’s Committee on the Arts on the Arts and the Humanities, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Ifetayo students were extremely excited to perform for First Lady Obama and esteemed partnership members with national acclaim.

Ifetayo, one of only 12 programs from across the country chosen from 350 nominations and 50 finalists for this White House distinction, is a cultural program which supports creative, educational and vocational development of youth of African descent in Brooklyn. Founded in 1989, the program has served over 20,000 students and families offering a wealth of programs in academic and literacy training, personal skills development, community engagement, cultural heritage classes, and socially responsible art making. The organization’s name stems from the West African Yoruba word “ifetayo” which means “love is enough for joy” capturing the spirit of the program’s nurturing philosophy to empower and redefine community development.

This nurturing approach was key for preparing the gifted youth recipients for their sojourn to DC to perform and receive the award at the White House. In preparation for their trip students engaged in intensive media training, prep on what-to-expect during their trip, extensive dance rehearsals and overall coaching. And the results reflected an exceptional performance followed by accolades and warm hugs from First Lady Obama.

While countless arts programs throughout the country face economic challenges, Ifetayo has survived the challenge building an arts program slated to celebrate their 25th anniversary in 2014. They have changed the culture of building a successful arts program as acknowledged by the White House.

Ifetayo’s students and staff say the award and opportunity to perform for First Lady Obama has proven to be a great way to commence the holiday season.

VIDEO: Ifetayo White House Performance:

After performance

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