On behalf of DreamYard Art Center in the Bronx, Robyn Walker Murphy, director of Out of School Programs, and 18-year-old Kristy Brito, a DreamYard Project alumna, accepted the National Arts and Humanities Youth Award at the White House on Nov. 19. Presented personally by first lady Michelle Obama, the award recognizes DreamYard for its effectiveness in developing learning and life skills in young people by
engaging them in the arts. This award is the equivalent of the Academy Awards for youth after-school arts programs.
Murphy was wearing a b Michael design from the designer’s America Red Dress collection that’s available at Macy’s nationwide. During the awards celebration at the White House, they were both honored to share in a photo with first lady Michelle Obama, honorary chairman of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.
Chosen from a pool of more than 350 nominations and 50 finalists, DreamYard was one of 12 after-school and out-of-school programs across the country to receive the award. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime honor and the highest honor such programs can receive in the United States.
“DreamYard is inspiration. It has sparked my mind and soul,” explained Brito. “As a participant in the ACTION project, whether I was using my art to fight for quality public education in New York City or to spread awareness about HIV to teens, I felt that my ideas were allowed to bloom, and I learned that with a pencil you can create a masterpiece.”