Alum’s Program Wins National Arts & Humanities Award

Investigating Where We Live alumna Jasmine Marr and National Building Museum teen programs manager Andrew Costanzo, CCAS MA ’08, accept the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from Michelle Obama. Photo by Ralph Alswang, courtesy National Building Museum.

Andrew Costanzo, CCAS MA ’08, along with his colleagues at the National Building Museum (NBM), received the 2013 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award in Nov. 2013.

The National Building Museum was recognized for Investigating Where We Live, a program Costanzo developed at the Museum, where he is the manager of teen programs.

Investigating Where We Live was honored for its effectiveness in developing learning and life skills in young people by engaging them in the arts and humanities.

Chosen from a pool of more than 350 nominations and 50 finalists, Investigating Where We Live is one of only 12 after-school and out-of-school programs across the country to receive the award, which is the highest honor such programs can receive in the United States.

“The National Arts and Humanities Youth Program award is an incredible honor both for Investigating Where We Live and for the National Building Museum,” says Costanzo. “It recognizes the important work that the Museum has been doing with teens in the DC area for 20 years in developing the next generation of designers, engaged citizens, and creative problem solvers.”

The awards are administered by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH), in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

First Lady Michelle Obama presented the award on Nov. 22 at The White House.

“Through these programs, young people are discovering their creative voices, developing a stronger sense of who they are as individuals, and gaining a deeper understanding of the world around them,” wrote Mrs. Obama in the program for the award ceremony. “And, as young people navigate today’s challenges, the programs we are honoring offer safe harbors that cultivate enthusiasm for learning, support academic achievement, and promote college readiness.”

Created by the National Building Museum in 1996, Investigating Where We Live brings together middle school and high school students from across the DC metropolitan area. The program provides them with a forum where they can express their views of Washington, DC.

Participants learn to use photography, creative writing, and exhibition design as a means of understanding DC, and describing how the city’s buildings, neighborhoods, and culture changes over time. As the culmination of the program, participants plan, design, and install a museum exhibition that features their insights and work.

“All of our teen programs are multi-visit opportunities to learn about urban planning, architecture, fabrication, photography, and design,” Costanzo explains.  “Developing these longer term relationships with local youth and providing them a forum to express their views of the city, how it is changing, and how they want to see it change is the best part of the job. It proves that teens can accomplish amazing things if they are given the resources and the responsibility to do so.”

–Congratulations to Andrew Costanzo and his colleagues on this honor! To read the full press release about the award, visit NBM’s website.  Want to know more about Investigating Where We Live? Check out the program’s site!

Related posts

Leave a Reply