In Collaboration with Mecklenburg County 26th Judicial District Court’s Arts & Science Collaborative Initiative, The Arts Empowerment Project (TAEP) is announcing the official launch of their initial Pilot Program to place 25 court-involved youths into existing arts programs in Charlotte. TAEP will screen the at-risk teens coming through the court system, match them with an Art program and fund their tuition and transportation. The Honorable Louis A. Trosch, Jr., founded the court’s Arts & Science Collaborative Initiative, and believes “TAEP has the power to change the course of the lives of at-risk young people. Since we began involving juveniles with arts and science programs, we have seen dramatic improvements in their outlook, both toward themselves, and their place in the community. We believe this will be a long and fruitful partnership between the courts and TAEP.”
The Arts Empowerment Project is a non-profit organization, founded by Natalie Frazier Allen, an attorney who prosecuted domestic violence and child abuse cases in Washington DC. Natalie witnessed vulnerable children first hand, juveniles who were abused in their own homes or at the hands of relatives, or victims of community violence. As an art lover and artist herself, Natalie recognized the transformative power of the arts and decided to create an organization to provide Charlotte court-involved juveniles access to Charlotte Arts Programs, and The Arts Empowerment Project was established.
TAEP has had two successful fundraising events, and is prepared to initially fund 25 Mecklenburg District Court teens from the Department of Youth and Family Services, the Department of Juvenile Justice and the Guardian Ad Litem Program, into Charlotte Arts Programs. TAEP has partnered with Carolina Actors Studio, Charlotte Ballet, Charlotte Hornets, Children’s Theatre, Clayworks, Community School of the Arts, CPCC Culinary Arts Program, Mint Museum, NASCAR Technical Institute, NC Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, Oneaka Dance Company, Opera Carolina, Studio 345, and the Harvey B. Gantt Center.
Beginning on May 22, 2014 TAEP began placing at-risk youths, ages 13-17 years, in the above programs, and will monitor their success and participation.