February 2017 - New York City - NeOnSM Arts, a program of the NYC Department of Probation in partnership with Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, a network of community organizations, local businesses and community residents, is focused on improving the lives of people on probation and has partnered with Publicolor on an innovative program to empower local communities through design for social change.

During a six-week period, NeOnSM Arts young people on probation, community members, and Publicolor’s students, themselves at-risk students, will work together, painting the transformation of two local community centers: Grace Baptist Church of Christ and Cypress Hills Community Center. These projects started on Saturday, January 14, 2017 and continued each Saturday until February 18.
The hope is that through this Publicolor-NeOnSM Arts partnership these young people on probation and community members will discover self-reliance, new confidence, and new friendships while giving back to their neighborhood. Throughout the project, Publicolor’s staff will evaluate the NeOnSM Arts participants. Those who exceed expectations are eligible for induction into Publicolor’s intensive multi-year continuum of programs offering life skills workshops, academic prep, a seven-week summer design program, SAT tutoring, college visits, and guidance through the college application process. These selected students will continue to engage in community service each Saturday, painting underfunded schools and community facilities. Upon entering college, they will receive Publicolor scholarships to help fund the gap between the financial aid that Publicolor helps them access and the real cost of college.
The project participants, ages 14 – 22, will all develop communication, teamwork, and work-readiness skills while mastering the art of commercial painting. This process ranges from planning and taping to understanding what kind of paint to use for different surfaces. They learn to measure spaces, calculate inventory needs, and properly maintain and clean equipment at the site.
Publicolor reinforces the concept of design thinking, which taps into creativity and inventiveness as an approach to education. Publicolor’s model also builds teamwork, morale and self-confidence, and encourages students that mistakes are opportunities to do better.
Publicolor will hold an Award Cermony on Feb.22nd at the Grace Baptist Church to celebrate the achievements of those involved in the transformation of Grace Baptist Church of Christ and Cypress Hills Community Center. Parents and families, local officials, City Council members, and the Borough President of the site will be invited to a blue-tape cutting ceremony with photo opportunities.
About Publicolor
Publicolor fights poverty by aggressively addressing the alarming dropout rate and low levels of educational attainment and youth employment in New York City. They do this by engaging high-risk, low-income students, ages 12-24, in a multi-year continuum of design-based programs that encourage academic achievement, college preparation, job readiness, and community service.
Their unique applied learning approach uses design as a vehicle to engage and inspire low-performing students in struggling middle and high schools, empowering them to achieve success in school, college, career, and life.
About NeON ArtsSM
NeOnSM Arts, a program of the NYC Department of Probation in partnership with Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, offers young people in New York City the chance to explore the arts through projects in a variety of disciplines, including dance, music, theater, visual arts, poetry, and digital media. Programming is available in seven communities that are served by the DOP’s Neighborhood Opportunity Networks (NeONs), which connect local residents to opportunities, resources, and services provided by businesses, community organizations, and government agencies in their neighborhoods.
Through a commitment to arts programming in justice settings and as an ongoing partner of the DOP, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute facilitates the grant-making process, coordinates citywide NeON ArtsSM events, and works with arts organizations and NeON stakeholders to ensure that the planning and implementation of each project are collaborations that benefit the entire community.
The seven NeON neighborhoods are Bedford-Stuyvesant (Brooklyn), Brownsville (Brooklyn), East New York (Brooklyn), Harlem (Manhattan), Jamaica (Queens), Staten Island, and the South Bronx.
The website for more information is: http://www.carnegiehall.org/NeONArts
Catherine Petree 
Director of Events & Marketing 
Jonathan Marder + Company 
750 Third Avenue, Floor 9
New York, NY 10017
Direct: 212.527.7531
Mobile: 917.856.2232