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The Drum Awards Michelle Obama Wieden+Kennedy

Wieden-founded arts organization, Caldera, honored by White House & Michelle Obama


By Doug Zanger | Americas Editor

November 18, 2015 | 3 min read

Caldera, the Oregon-based youth arts organization founded by Wieden+Kennedy co-founder Dan Wieden, was one of 12 honorees of the 2015 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program (NAHYP) Award, presented at The White House in Washington DC by First Lady Michelle Obama.

The first Oregon organization to ever receive the award, and one of 285 nominees, the NAHYP Award is the nation’s highest honor for creative youth programs, recognizing the country’s best programs as well as highlighting the positive role that arts and humanities play in youth academic achievement, graduation rates and college enrollment.

Caldera Executive Director, Tricia Snell, was joined by high school senior Alena Nore of Sisters, Oregon at the White House ceremony.

“The chance to represent my peers in accepting this award from the First Lady of the United States in the White House is an experience I’ll never forget,” said Nore. “My experience with Caldera has been life-changing. It’s exciting to see that programs like this are recognized and valued, because I know there are many more young people who need the kind of mentoring I benefitted from.”

Added Snell, “This award inspires all of us at Caldera—youth, staff, board, volunteers, supporters—to reach for new heights in our work. We are in this work for the long term, and we are excited to learn about and from the other awardees. We are so proud of this recognition, not only for how it reflects on Caldera youth and all the folks who have supported Caldera in the past, but for what it portends for our long-term ability to mentor underserved youth through the arts.”

Founded in 1996, Caldera partners with six Portland-area schools and six schools in Central Oregon to provide mentoring through arts and environmental programming. About 75 percent of the roughly 435 students Caldera serves in a year qualify for free and reduced meals at school, said Executive Director Tricia Snell. Roughly 60 percent are students of color.

Caldera mentors work with students year-round for seven years, starting in middle school and continuing through high school graduation, Snell said. The program places artists in schools for weekly classes, hosts weekend camps and runs a summer arts camp in Sisters, which introduces students to photography and film. About 90 percent of the program's seniors graduated last year, Snell said.

First presented in 1998, the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award is the signature program of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH). The awards are presented annually in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

The Drum Awards Michelle Obama Wieden+Kennedy

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