NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The Artists Mentoring Against Racism, Drugs & Violence (AMARD&V) Healing Through the Arts Summer Program will celebrate its 23rd anniversary Friday with a showcase at the Paul Robeson Community School for the Arts.

The theme of this year’s showcase is “Schools that Prepare You, A Neighborhood That Empowers You, A City That Inspires You.”

The evening program is free to the public and will feature an outdoor carnival parade, theater skits, music and dance performances and an exhibition displaying the full range of artwork produced by the 60 youths who participated in this year’s summer program.

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The school is located at 199 Paul Robeson Blvd.

Each year, the camp enrolls 60 New Brunswick children, at no cost. The program’s goal is to reduce bias and promote positive behaviors through a combination of arts education, health literacy and life skills workshops and recreational activities.

The Healing through the Arts Summer Program began in 1996 through a partnership between the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Community Health Promotion Program, the Rutgers University Center for Latino Arts and Culture, the Puerto Rican Action Board, and the Suydam Street Reformed Church. The program’s goal is to provide a high-quality summer arts youth program to families residing in the City of New Brunswick.

Directed by local artist and playwright Claudio Mir, this year’s camp featured daily workshops in multi-media and digital photography, visual arts, theater, hip-hop dance and Afro-Puerto Rican cultural dance known as Bomba. All workshops are taught by Rutgers Masson Gross art students with assistance from New Brunswick High School students. In addition, 15 Rutgers students serve as youth counselors, helping the youths throughout the day.

This year’s program also included an overnight stay at the Rutgers Douglass Campus, workshops on health and wellbeing, life-skills training and gang resistance and career development as well as trips to the Grounds for Sculpture, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Ellis Island and the Statute of Liberty other places.

The program is sponsored by Puerto Rican Action Board, RWJUH’s Community Health Promotions Program, Suydam Street Reformed Church, New Brunswick Cultural Center and the Rutgers Collaborative Center for Community-Based Research and Service.