Shaping the future of our youth and community one art project at a time
Eighty-nine percent of Americans believe that arts education should have a place in schools; however, diminishing budgets and other factors continue to decrease the number of arts programs offered in both schools and communities. Culture Shapers, a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving young artists, works to reverse this trend by supporting local students who have a passion for the arts. From photography to film, and painting to singing, the organization aims to help young Houston artists through unique citywide visual and performing arts contests, namely the Visual Arts Contest and the Young Voices of Houston Contest.
On March 5, the last monthly semifinal contest will take place to determine which students will compete in the annual Young Voices of Houston final competition on April 9. Twelve vocalists, selected from hundreds of students to represent their high schools and school districts, will compete in the March semifinals by performing a song of their choice before a live audience. The contestants are judged by both the audience and a panel of three judges and are evaluated in the following five areas: vocal ability, interpretation, movement, stage presence and overall showmanship. The winner is automatically eligible to return and compete in the annual Young Voices of Houston final competition, where cash prizes total more than $5,000.
Motivated to positively impact the lives of high school students after the 1999 Columbine High School tragedy, a group of business and church leaders founded Culture Shapers with the mission to touch as many students’ lives as possible. During their preliminary research, the founders of Culture Shapers discovered that athletics and natural sciences receive far more attention and reward in school programs than do the social sciences and humanities. Committed to encouraging young men and women all over the Houston area to use their creative talents to affect their future in a positive way, they began sponsoring arts contests and paving the way for our next “culture shapers.”
Over the past seven years, Culture Shapers has awarded nearly $600,000 to young artists from counties all over Houston. Interested in helping the organization raise even more money to promote arts in the community? Take part in Birdies for Charity, a program held each year in conjunction with the Shell Houston Open PGA Tour event, March 26 — April 1, 2007 at Redstone Golf Club. Intrigued? Here’s how to play:
Visit www.cultureshapers.com, and complete the Birdies for Charity pledge form, which designates Culture Shapers to receive 100 percent of your pledge. You can pledge any amount — starting from a penny per birdie made Wednesday through Sunday. Then, guess how many total birdies will be made at this year’s Shell Houston Open. After the tournament, you will be billed by the Houston Golf Association for the amount of your pledge. (For instance, if the pros make 1,500 birdies and you pledged one penny, you will be billed for $15.00). Guess correctly, and you’ll also earn a chance to win a 2007 Buick Lucerne. (Hint: Last year’s winning number was 1,753!)