This summer, Jersey City youth beat the heat (and COVID-19) with Jersey City-based non-profits Kismet of Kings and Nimbus Dance’s new partnership with the Jersey City Housing Authority.
Through a grant by the Jersey City Economic Development Corporation, the two organizations and the Housing Authority have teamed up to offer a free arts camp to students ages 4-11 residing at Booker T. Washington and Curries Woods Neighborhoods.
Through August, students will spend the morning at Nimbus Dance’s virtual camp: JC SummerArts, learning acting, dance, music and visual arts, with professional teaching artists, working towards a themed virtual performance each Friday. Youth also spend two afternoons a week in a socially distanced, in-person class, developing teamwork, communication, self-awareness, confidence, and leadership skills through dance and other activities.
The program reaches even further, employing young men and women, ages 14-18, from the community as Leaders In Training, providing valuable leadership and job skills training during a time when summer employment opportunities are scarce for teens.
Nimbus Dance, founded by Artistic Director Samuel Pott in 2005, bridges the gap between world-class performances and community engagement by presenting work that challenges, speaks to, and elevates the core beliefs of its diverse audience.
In September 2020, Nimbus Dance and the School of Nimbus Dance will move into 15,000 square ft. Arts Center in the Powerhouse Arts District. In celebration, Nimbus has pledged $100,000 in scholarships to youth across Jersey City, making access to dance classes and the arts available regardless of financial circumstance.
Kismet of Kings, founded by Executive Director, Lewis Spears, grounds itself in providing a consistent, safe learning environment for young men to bring about positive change to themselves, their community and the world, impacting 135 young men, since the organization’s conception in 2013.
The program marks the beginning of a larger collaboration: Nimbus and Kismet of Kings will offer year-round programming for youth who reside in the Jersey City Housing Authority, bringing the two organizations’ unique programmatic offerings to young people who often lack access to ongoing arts programs.
Says Nimbus Dance, Founding Artistic Director Samuel Pott, “As Nimbus moves into the new Nimbus Arts Center at the Lively, we aim to simultaneously extend our reach to serve talented young people throughout the community who may not have access to the life-changing impacts that the arts provide. These turbulent times call for a renewal of investment in our communities and young people, and we are grateful to partner with organizations like the Jersey City Housing Authority and Kismet of Kings to bring about positive change.”
Lewis Spears, Executive Director of Kismet of Kings stated, “At a time where our young men are devalued by society, we have committed ourselves to edifying the Kismet of Kings young men through character and leadership development. They- in turn- will use their skills as Leaders In Training to support the young people in the JCHA communities. I am particularly excited to work with the residents of Booker T. because I was raised there and going back brings awesome childhood memories. We are delighted to have collaborated with Nimbus and JCHA as we teach life skills through expressive dance. The possibilities for lasting, positive encounters are going to be endless! I’m so excited I can hardly contain myself.”
Vivian Brady-Phillips, Executive Director of the Jersey City Housing Authority said, “The Arts have the ability to unlock the potential of young people and make a lasting impact on their lives – their educational outcomes, their interpersonal relationships, their physical and mental health and their sense of self worth. The Jersey City Housing Authority is pleased to partner with Nimbus and Kismet of Kings in bringing new dance programming to our residents, especially as our community responds to the financial and health impact of COVID-19.”