RHAPSODY Hip-Hop Summer Arts Camp
Selected as 2016 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award Finalist

The RHAPSODY Hip-Hop Summer Arts Camp, a program of Progressive Arts Alliance, an organization that operates as an arts-integration lab serving the needs of students, teachers, artists, and the community, has been nationally recognized as an outstanding program for its work in providing excellent arts and humanities learning opportunities to young people. The RHAPSODY Hip-Hop Summer Arts Camp, celebrating its 15th year this summer, was selected by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, and its partner agencies – the Institute for Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities – as one of 50 finalists for the 2016 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards.

RHAPSODY Hip-Hop Summer Arts Camp: Recognizing Hip-Hop As a Powerful Source Of Development for Youth serves students from diverse backgrounds who come together for their shared interest in hip-hop. The camp’s activities are designed to build students’ 21st century skills in collaboration, leadership, and program solving through rigorous workshops in music, art, poetry and dance. Programming takes place in two parts. The “feeder” camp program introduces students to beginning skills in each art form. Camp instructors then select the most promising students from each feeder location to the featured annual camp held in Cleveland for two weeks in August.

“We are honored to be among such a stellar group of exceptional program providers,” said Santina Protopapa, founder and executive director, Progressive Arts Alliance. “The Hip-Hop Summer Arts Camp was the launch of Progressive Arts Alliance and has been a model of our unique programming and a key driver in our commitment to transforming how students are taught 21st century skills.” Leveraging 15 years of its Hip-Hop Arts Camp curriculum, Progressive Arts Alliance recently has entered into a partnership with the MIT Media Lab’s Scratch team on a National Science Foundation funded initiative that examines interest-based pathways into computational fluency. PAA is leading the content curation for the Dance, Dance, Dance, project that teaches kids how to code through creating a hip-hop dance animation.

RHAPSODY has received high marks from educators and parents since its first camp in 2002. Pre- and post-camp performance-based assessments based on Ohio Learning Standards are conducted each year of the program using a rubric that indicates students’ level of performance as advanced, proficient, novice, or not evident. Approximately 85 percent of the students who participate in the program move from novice to proficient based on indicators for their grade level/age by the conclusion of the program.

Post-program surveys of parents indicate that 90 percent observed growth in self-confidence and communication skills by their students as a result of participating in the program. “Through the hip-hop camp, my son learned to believe in himself as the artists at camp did. He now brings the confidence to every new undertaking, every class, every team, every performance, every social situation,” explained Joan Musarra, parent.

The National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards is an initiative of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH). The President’s Committee partners with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to administer the program.