About the Community Art Center
Founded in 1932, the Community Art Center has established an excellent track record of youth development with a diverse population of under-resourced children and teens dedicated to propelling Area 4 youth to develop themselves artistically, academically, and socially.
The Community Art Center has been a cornerstone institution for Cambridge residents since it was founded in 1932 by a group of local parents. In 1938, the Community art Center moved to Newtowne Court, the new housing development in Area 4. By 1980, the art Center received its first state contract and childcare license, allowing us to improve services and expand our reach. Then, in 1999, with the help of the Cambridge Housing Authority, we moved into a facility across the street from Newtowne Court, which offers a health clinic and other community services. In 2000, we completed a successful capital campaign that raised $145,000 to build-out a specialized editing studio, darkroom, computer lab, and pottery studio.
Generations of families have passed through our classrooms, drawing, writing, and dancing, as well as learning photography, pottery, and video. Our dedicated staff and volunteers, some of whom grew up at the Art Center, serve our youth as a family network, knowing the hurdles they must master first hand. Now, we are boosting traditional art forms with 21st century technology with our media and design computer labs. During the most dangerous hours in a child's day, the Community Art Center offers not only safe care, but a vibrant, creative learning environment. The world that CAC children will inhabit demands citizens who are more flexible, inventive, and globally aware than ever before. We are preparing them to be responsible citizens and to achieve personal and professional success. CAC children tell us they would be "at home bored, doing nothing" or "on the streets" if we did not exist.
CAC offers two complimentary programs serving 100 youth annually: the School Age Child Care Program (SACC), ages 5-12, and the Teen Media Program (TMP), ages 13-19. SACC offers classes in visual, performing, computer, and media arts. The TMP focuses on giving teens the opportunity to explore self-expression and new avenues of thought through a media arts curriculum. Another 700 youth and adults participate as audience members for our public performances. Our signature public event is the 11-year-old "Do It Your Damn Self!" National Youth Video and Film Festival, the oldest youth-curated film festival in the nation. We have a strong record of retaining youth in our programs over several years, even over lifetimes, with many returning as staff, parents, or board members.
The Community Art Center is a neighborhood institution committed to our mission to cultivate an engaged community of youth whose powerful artistic voices transform their lives, their neighborhoods, and their worlds.