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The Picture House Education Programs: Going back to school with creativity, self-expression, and connection in mind

by Francile Albright

This summer The Picture House was pleased to host summer camps in our theaters once again. It was a welcome sight to see busy students exercising their creativity and making films together after a year away. Campers in our Movie Making program wrote, acted in, and directed The Prince, the Princess, and the Portals, an original short film filled with magic and adventure. And students in our Documentary Intensive for High School Students worked with filmmaker Jeff Watkins to create a short documentary for Youth Community Outreach Program (Y-COP) in Mt. Vernon. We are looking forward to seeing these films and more on the big screen at our Student Film Showcase on October 23rd.

We are also excited to once again see our students at the Boys and Girls Clubs of New Rochelle, and at elementary, middle, and high schools throughout lower Westchester. We have missed bringing the joy of film and filmmaking into after-school programs and classrooms in-person, and are ready to offer new opportunities for students to tell their stories and express themselves during these challenging times.

Of course, it’s not just school-age students who benefit from connections found through the magic of film. We are once again offering film studies classes for adults, covering new German cinema in October, and celebrating Native American Heritage Month in November with N. Bird Runningwater and Adam Piron from the Sundance Institute.

Education through the art of film is crucial to our mission at The Picture House, but on a personal note, to me, arts education is a key to our ability to reach our full potential. Former educator and congresswoman Barbara Jones says it best, “The arts are not a frill. The arts are a response to our individuality and our nature, and help to shape our identity. What is there that can transcend deep differences and stubborn divisions? The arts. They have a wonderful universality. Art has the potential to unify. It can speak in many languages without a translator. The arts do not discriminate. The arts lift us up.”

I can’t wait to see our students in person and online in the coming months!