This community-based foundation was formed in 2013 when two longtime friends, Wilfredo Morel and Lee Balter, put their energy and passion for the arts and applied it to address the lack of inclusion of low and middle income resident minority children in the arts. Arts 10566 is the result of each of the founder’s own experiences with finding art and culture as a pathway out of poverty and towards a healthy, fulfilled life.
Through a caring network of artists with community ties to Peekskill, this program began by serving 20 children in 2013 through the generosity of a small grant made by the founding director to the Garrison Arts Center. Within 3 years, the program has grown to provide arts education to over 100 children, ages 6 through 18, in safe and accessible spaces every day.
In a city struggling with the social problems of poverty, substance abuse, violence and struggling schools, the arts provide tools for children to cope with the day –to- day realities of their own lives through the exposure to and the excitement of creating and experiencing art in their own neighborhood.
The reaction of students and families and the desire for local artists to get involved with our efforts has inspired Arts 10566 to solidify and expand the presence and availability of this program. Our initial program provided children with instruction in visual arts and music appreciation. We have since added dance, drama and voice. When children engage in activities, guided and mentored by working artists, we provide them with an opportunity to think differently about the world and the possibilities around them.