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Community Voices: Arts Conservatory for Teens headed to Chautauqua, New York

Alex Harris



Catalyst Community Voices delivers insight from community leaders and thinkers from all parts of our great city. Visit the Community Voices page for more. 

It has been a decade, and I continue to be amazed by the intellectual, creative talent that resides in our bay area communities among our youth and teens. I am honored and humbled that the Arts Conservatory for Teens (ACT) continues to be at the helm of holistic, creative cultivation with our youth and teens, particularly among the underserved and “high risk” population of our communities. 

With a mission to Educate, Empower, and Enrich the lives of youth and teens through arts education – including, but not limited to, Art of Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Financial Literacy and Healthy Living – our organization seeks to provide exposure and access to global connections that our students would generally not have the opportunity to experience otherwise. To this end, we have partnered with some of the most highly-valued opportunities throughout the country and abroad in order to ensure that we realize our mission at the highest level of performance. 

One of the most recent partnership opportunities to which our organization has been privileged to provide exposure and accessibility is the historic and prestigious Chautauqua Institute, in Chautauqua, New York. The Chautauqua Institution is a 145 year old, not-for-profit cultural and educational institution, and one of the world’s preeminent destinations for lifelong learning. The nine-week summer season offered by the institution attracts more than 100,000 community members from around the U.S. and the globe for immersion in programs that include a theme-based lecture series, fine and performing arts academies and a vibrant literary arts program. 

ACT was chosen to deliver a presentation in the historic outdoor Hall of Philosophy, outlining and demonstrating the very distinct and unique work ACT does for youth and teen development, a program that began seven years ago on the south side of St. Petersburg. The audience for these presentations usually numbers 400 to 800 distinguished thought leaders and influencers from around the world.

Subsequently, ACT auditioned for and was selected to perform for Chautauqua’s Family Entertainment Series, the last in the season during Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center Week at Chautauqua in late August. This is truly a very high honor and commitment for our organization. 

This will be a once in a lifetime experience in which ACT is afforded the opportunity to share the significant impact our own St. Petersburg has had on all its residents, regardless of socioeconomic status, but I need your help. 

Chautauqua Institution, along with the African American Heritage House (AAHH), has thankfully offered us a small honorarium that will provide for food and lodging during Week Nine at Chautauqua Institution. We still, however, are in need of an additional $10,000 in order to ensure that our ACT contingency can take full advantage of this opportunity and participate in this prestigious event. 


If you would like to support this opportunity for ACT, please make checks payable to : 

Arts Conservatory for Teens

℅: Trip to Chautauqua Institute 2019

222 2nd Street N. 


St. Petersburg, FL 33701


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