Bailey’s summer program is a free arts-based rites/rights of passage program for young people ages 9 to 19 years of age. The program offers participants the opportunity to explore the idea of a Rites/Rights of Passage-what this concept means at different times in our lives following the belief that we are always in transition; and to become familiar with the traditions of manhood/womanhood that have informed the practices of different cultures as they create an understanding of their own passage for themselves. Using a variety of artistic practices as a platform for self-expression, our participants spend the six-weeks focused on a specific artistic discipline taught by a professional artist of color who has grown up in, for the most part, in communities not unlike those of the young people. we do this in a variety of ways: through African Dance, creative writing, gender specific and whole group discussions and inter-generational mentoring with elders in our community. At orientation, each participant chooses an artistic discipline to focus on for the six weeks of the program so that they can begin to develop a sense of self as a creative individual, capable of great things. Along with these activities comes exposure to a variety of opportunities and experiences that will help them understand the world and themselves. The program culminates in a performance, which every participant helps to create and give expression to his/her rite of passage at this moment in their development.
Our summer program has been growing steadily, since our first summer in 2012, with many members returning as well as spreading the word among their family and friends. Summer 2017, we had 50 participants, our largest group to date and expect as many this summer.