Washington based photographer Kariba Jack was concerned about cuts to arts funding. She was inspired to start a not-for-profit to support arts education for children. Here we present a brief Q&A with Ms. Jack as she explains all about the DAWA Project.
BFP: What is the DAWA Project?
KJ: The DAWA Project is a non-profit organization that aims to empower our young people and help teach the values of self-worth, honesty, confidence, artistic ability, and compassion while supporting community involvement. DAWA stands for Developing Artistic Women’s Awareness. We are currently based in Washington State but we have plans to expand nationally.
BFP: What inspired you to start the DAWA Project?
KJ: My niece inspired me to create the DAWA Project. She has a strong connection to the arts in various forms and knowing that so many arts programs were being cut out of public schools, she was worried about the future of our young people. Providing another source to educate and support the youth is what drove me to start this organization.
BFP: What does the organization do?
KJ: We have started an after school program, where young people can meet with mentors in various artistic fields. They get hands on experience learning and participating in projects with those mentors. From painting classes, sculpting, dance and so many others. The mentors cycle through and the kids are provided monthly schedules which keep them informed of what type of after school program will be held each week.
BFP: Why the arts? Why not sports or technology or some other area? Why are the arts so special?
KJ: So glad this question was asked. Why the arts? I grew up surrounded by the arts and they have always been something near and dear to me. Playing the piano for 17 years and the violin for 8 years has shaped the person I am today. I truly believe that! I want to introduce and expose our youth to the various forms of the arts and hopefully cultivate a deep interest in the arts.
BFP: What problem are you trying to solve or what issue is the DAWA Project trying to address?
KJ: The DAWA Project is not trying to solve problems or resolve any particular issues. What the DAWA Project strives to do is to help each young person by being a support system in their quests to find more information and knowledge. We have enlisted the help of Ambassadors who come from different walks of the ‘art’ life. They are mentors, the go-to individuals the youth can turn to for questions and possible internships within their respective areas of interests.
BFP: What role does the art of photography play in the DAWA Project?
KJ: My love! Photography plays a huge role in the DAWA Project. I have had the opportunity to teach an after school program for high school students interested in photography. This has led to me being invited back for the upcoming school year to teach more after school programs. This is exactly what the DAWA Project is all about! We are also creating a photo book from the photographs from our last trip to Africa.
BFP: On the DAWA video, most of the young ladies mentioned career goals that are not related to the arts. How does participation in the arts at a young age lead to better doctors or teachers or lawyers?
KJ: Having a healthy balance is the key to success. The young ladies in the video are simply super stars in my eyes. Each of them have been exposed and given the opportunity to engage and participate in the arts in various forms. The arts help build a foundation for them. Participation in the arts at a young age helps to develop great social skills which are needed in any career field.
BFP: How can young people get involved with the DAWA Project?
KJ: Young people or their parents can send an email to Help@dawaproject.org. A member of our team will respond and answer any questions.
BFP: How can people support the DAWA Project?
KJ: There are multiple ways to support the DAWA Project. You can tweet about news concerning the arts community to @DawaProject. You can financially support us by donating funds to help support our seminars, workshops and expansion goals. Those interested can also consider becoming an Ambassador and support the youth in their various communities. For more information, please email: Help@dawaproject.org.
For more information on the DAWA Project, visit their site at www.dawaproject.org