By: Charity Hester
WASHINGTON – Project Create has a mission to make arts education accessible to promote positive development in children who are homeless or poverty-stricken.
This non-profit organization was started in 1994 by Reverend John W. Wimberly, Jr., the pastor of Western Presbyterian Church in Northwest, Washington, D.C. Wimberly brought art into his community when he noticed a lack of art being taught in the public schools.
Under the direction of Reverend Wimberly, Project Create began providing art classes to help local children in impoverished communities and neighborhoods. The program first started out visiting local public schools in the Southeast neighborhood of D.C. and teaching free art classes to give children a break from everyday life and an opportunity to express themselves.
“The program gives children and families , of the community, a chance to express themselves and a time to relax, as well as do homework. With all the gentrification going on in neighborhoods, Project Create has become a safe haven for most,” said Lindsey, an Art Therapist. Project Create is not only a safe haven for youth, but the program also helps them discover hidden talents and potential careers.
“I like to do art and write. I want to become an illustrator and maybe a writer when I grow up, and coming here helps me with that,” said 8-year-old Jaelynn.
Project Create became so successful that in 2003, it became an independent nonprofit in order to fulfill its new mission: “to enrich and transform the lives of at-risk children in Washington, D.C. by providing them with professionally-led arts experiences.” Wimberly found a small building in SE D.C. in Anacostia and transformed it into an art themed classroom. Since Project Create began serving the community, they have left a tremendous impact on the families they serve.
“I first met Project Create on a field trip to the Art Museum and it sounded like something I’d be interested in. The program has given me a space to develop as an artist, which is something I would like to do in the future,” said 18-year-old Jada Batts, who is a 2017 high school graduate.
Project Create provides more than art education to the youth, they are invested in the well being and future on their students. They do this by, “ providing a safe haven for the youth: snacks, security, and love,” said Renee Charlow, an intern that has been with the non-profit since the summer. The program has now added improv, digital media, and dance, such as cabaret. Every day Project Create is working towards expanding resources in communities that may have been forgotten about or overlooked. Their team strives towards changing the community by developing one artist at a time.
If you or anyone you know are interested in volunteering or participating at Project Create stop by:
Project Create – Anacostia Art Studio
(Second Floor – Entrance on V Street SE)
Studio Phone: (202) 889-0655
Hours: Monday – Friday 12:00pm – 7:30pm
Walk-ins are welcome!
(Select Saturdays for Community Events)