The Orange County Arts Alliance (OCAA), the non-profit arm of the Orange County Arts Commission (OCAC), has been approved for a $30,000 Grant for Education & Youth for 2024-2025 to support operating expenses for “Studio Be,” a new space in the Eno Arts Mill in Hillsborough dedicated to providing programming for marginalized and at-risk youth. The OCAA is among fifteen organizations across the Triangle that were selected to receive this funding.
“Studio Be” intends to fill a critical gap in our community for marginalized young people by providing a safe space and judgment-free zone where they can feel supported and respected for exactly who they are. “Studio Be” will provide therapeutic groups and arts programming for LGBTQ+, BIPOC, and at-risk youth. It will also offer program providers a centralized place to collaborate, plan and prep, facilitate small groups, and expand their programs.
“The arts serve as an accepting space for people who don’t feel accepted in other parts of our community, and nowhere is this feeling of belonging more critical than with our youth. I’ve personally witnessed countless children and teens enter arts programs and in the process of exploring their creativity, finally find the community where they fit in and belong. These experiences positively impact their academic success, their mental and physical health, and their families. ‘Studio Be’ will be expand upon the life-changing programming the Eno Arts Mill provides for our local youth,” states Katie Murray, director of the OCAC/OCAA.
The OCAC/OCAA’s work in this area is timely, as concerns around youth mental health and wellness are growing while access to mental health support is declining, especially during after-school hours. A sense of community, connection and belonging, opportunities for creative expression, and identity development are critical needs for at-risk youth. “Studio Be” will launch in Spring 2024 and offer programs after school, in the evening, on weekends, during school breaks, and during weekdays for the growing homeschool community.
For more information on other grant opportunities and Triangle Community Foundation operations, visit https://trianglecf.org.
For more information on the Orange County Arts Commission and Arts Alliance, visit www.artsorange.org.