Bobby Digi, Executive Director of the Canvas Institute, a Tompkinsville, Staten Island, New York, United States -based art gallery and not-for-profit organization with the goal of empowering youngsters, wants to help students rebound from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
For this reason, he is launching the 2021 Canvas Hub Summer Program to help pre-teens and teenagers adjust to the changes brought on by the global pandemic.
“People and the media are talking about how post-pandemic mental health needs are going to skyrocket,” said Digi. “This [COVID] is impacting our kids. …So, I’m really concerned about our young population, especially with the uptick with violence. That’s why I feel that we need to create these types of spaces.”
And to make sure the program is free for all students who sign up, Digi has organized a fundraiser, with the goal of raising $10,000.
The idea for the summer program arose out of the Canvas Institute’s first virtual edition of the Youth Empowerment Summit in February, which addressed mental well-being, careers in the arts and climate change in the age of COVID-19.
The program is open to students in grades six through 12, said Digi.
The program will include the following classes: film making and photo journalism; spoken word and poetry; yoga and mindfulness and a Climate Crisis Action Team.
“At the end of the summer program, the students will have learned how to use a climate change simulator, software that the White House uses,” said Digi. “We’re also going to be doing mindfulness yoga, so the students can check their well being.”
ABOUT THE CANVAS INSTITUTE
The Canvas Institute is located at 150 Victory Boulevard, Tompkinsville, Staten Island, New York, United States.
Digi launched the Canvas Institute about five years ago.
“We opened as a space for our nonprofit to provide arts, cultural and civic engagement initiatives and resources to the community. …We’re also an art gallery — the only Black-owned art gallery on Staten Island,” he said. “And we have the largest collection of books on African-American and Caribbean history.”
The Institute formulates partnerships with schools to empower youngsters and provide an “alternative to violence,” said Digi.
“Canvas is a hub where schools bring their students, and we were doing very well before the pandemic, because people became very interested in our art exhibits,” he added, noting the Canvas Institute’s space is also available for rent by community groups.
He noted that when the Canvas Institute was completely shuttered by the pandemic, organizers used the time to help senior citizens in need of food and resources during the health crisis.
To sign up for the 2021 Canvas Hub Summer Program, visit: www.canvasinstitute.org/summer-program. To donate to the program, click here.