Kuumba Project


Kuumba Project/Creative Arts Academy

The Kuumba Project/Creative Arts Academy provides artistically gifted Syracuse city schoolchildren with opportunities to unlock their creative and human potential through free instruction in visual art, music, dance, theater, and the literary arts. Founded as the Kuumba Project, the program was conceived, implemented, and managed by the South Side Initiative its first two years. In keeping with the original intent, it now is managed by the Community Folk Art Center under the new name Creative Arts Academy.

The pre-professional arts education program, developed by professional artists and Syracuse University faculty, offers daily after-school instruction to qualified middle-school students whose parents cannot afford private instruction. Children between the ages of 11 and 13 audition for inclusion in the program and may remain in it through high school.

Children who participate in the program not only develop their artistic potential; they also learn the value of setting goals and striving for excellence, and the power of the arts to enrich their lives personally and professionally. In the process, they also:


  • Sharpen their skills and talents in ways that foster self-esteem
  • Develop or enhance their portfolios
  • Recognize their unique gifts as artists
  • Form supportive mentor and peer group relationships
  • Enjoy performance opportunities and safe havens
  • Broaden their horizons by enhancing their preparation for college study and for careers as professional artists