STATEN ISLAND, NY – Bobby Digi, Executive Director of Institute of the Web – a Tompkinsville-based art gallery and non-profit organization with the aim of empowering young people – wants to help students recover from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
For this reason, it is launching the 2021 Canvas Hub summer program to help pre-teens and teens adjust to the changes brought on by the global pandemic.
âPeople and the media are talking about how post-pandemic mental health needs are going to skyrocket,â Digi said. “This [COVID] has an impact on our children. … So I’m really concerned about our young population, especially the rise in violence. That’s why I think we need to create these kinds of spaces.
And to make sure the program is free for all students who register, Digi has organized a Fundraising, in order to raise $ 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 focused on mental wellness, careers in the arts and climate change in the age of COVID- 19.
The program is open to students in grades six to 12, Digi said.
The program will include the following courses: filmmaking and photojournalism; speech and poetry; yoga and mindfulness and a climate crisis action team.
âBy the end of the summer program, students will have learned how to use a climate change simulator, software used by the White House,â Digi said. “We will also be doing mindful yoga, so that the students can check their well-being.”
For a list of instructors participating in the program, Click here.
ABOUT THE CANVAS INSTITUTE
Digi started the Canvas Institute about five years ago.
âWe opened our doors as a space for our non-profit organization to provide artistic, cultural and civic engagement initiatives and resources to the community. … We are also an art gallery – the only black owned art gallery on Staten Island, âhe said. “And we have the largest collection of books on African American and Caribbean history.”
The Institute is formulating partnerships with schools to empower young people and provide an “alternative to violence,” Digi said.
âCanvas is a hub where schools bring their students, and we were doing really well before the pandemic because people became very interested in our art exhibitions,â he added, noting that the Canvas Institute space is also available for rent through community groups.
He noted that when the Canvas Institute was completely shut down by the pandemic, organizers used the time to help older people in need of food and resources during the health crisis.