Express Yourself programs take place at our studio and at residential and inpatient facilities throughout the area. Our model provides a high staff-to-participant ratio, building trust and deepening connection. Exploring an annual theme, our programming is created through success-oriented activities. We believe deeply that everyone has something creative to contribute, and all of this creativity comes together in a grand performance at the Citi Performing Arts Center – Wang Theatre each May.
A Year-long Immersion in the Arts
The signature Express Yourself program provides a multi-disciplinary arts experience in collaboration with exciting visual and performing artists. Participation in the program encourages self-expression, uncovers individual strengths, and deepens connection.
Express Yourself Dancers
This high energy dance program challenges dancers to be their best. Youth-created movement and professional choreography blend together to create original performance pieces. Express Yourself Dancers learn from guest artists, including performers from STOMP London, STOMP national tour, and the Broadway stage. Contributing artists from the community include In the Mak’n, a step and dance group, as well as Native American, African, Indian, and Latin dancers.
Express Yourself Drummers
Express Yourself Drumming brings group and community participants together, resulting in an uplifting experience for all. The group is led by Mali Master Drummer Joh Camara and Co-Executive Director Stan Strickland. Our drummers have performed at many prestigious venues, including the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., as part of an awards presentation by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.
Each fall, young people and artists at Express Yourself collaborate on a dynamic set design that will be the backdrop for our grand performance in spring. The entire Express Yourself community then works together to create the finished set for our show.
Who Runs the World – Girls
These multi-disciplinary arts experiences for girls are designed to support them as they find their voice, discover their strengths, and build confidence.
Express Yourself Mentors
Candidates who have shown leadership qualities and a desire to give back to our community can apply for our mentoring program, which includes both paid and volunteer positions. Mentors to the younger participants in our programs have significant experience in Express Yourself programming and performance. They serve as part of our staff while they develop important skills like collaboration, networking, and expanding their artistic vision.
In the Community
Public art exhibitions celebrate the talents, strengths, and abilities of Express Yourself youth, shining a light on their positive contributions. Artworks created by our youth and artists are exhibited at the Express Yourself storefront art gallery, at Endicott and Montserrat Colleges in Beverly, and at other galleries and exhibition spaces throughout the area. Permanent exhibits are in place at the Department of Mental Health’s Central Office, the Executive Offices at the Citi Performing Arts Center, Boston Children’s Hospital North, and Union Hospital in Lynn. Past exhibits include the Cloud Foundation, Mass Cultural Council, Citi Performing Arts Center’s Grand Lobby, Logan International Airport, Massachusetts State House, 15 Walnut Street in South Hamilton, and Beverly Public Library.
Express Yourself Drummers and Dancers perform in the community, showcasing the vibrant quality of the art they create in collaboration with professional artists. Performances build connections in the greater community, de-stigmatize marginalized youth, and enhance self-esteem. Recent performances have included the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.; 100 Best Places to Work in Boston showcase, the Boston Better Business Bureau annual meeting, Citi Performing Arts Center celebrations; Shore Country Day School – Grand Arts Opening; Essex County Community Youth at Risk conferences; as well as performances at international and national events such as International Art Therapies Conference, the National Summit for Creative Youth Development, and conferences on the psychiatric rehabilitation substance abuse.
Express Yourself champions the arts in classrooms and in the community, and our message is clear: Everyone can contribute to the creative process. The arts provide avenues to learning in any number of disciplines – not just as enrichment activities, but as keys that unlock the learning styles of every student.
Our directors also teach courses at local colleges, develop residencies for schools, and provide professional development to primary and secondary school teachers with a focus on integrating arts in education.
Bring Express Yourself programs to your site — contact us for more information.