GIVING BACK: Creative Art Works
Since 1986, Creative Art Works (CAW) has been giving under-resourced neighborhoods the opportunity to empower kids through art. By providing the materials and direction to hone career-oriented skills, actualize creativity, and engage with the community, CAW is helping young people develop the confidence and connections they need to thrive. One of their most impactful programs pairs groups of kids with artists to create lasting murals in their community.
Structure Tone’s journey with CAW began 21 years ago. A client, Boston Properties, introduced the company to the cause and the Structure Tone team began donating office supplies, paint, brushes, ladders, and tarps to their budding summer program.
As the program has expanded, so has Structure Tone’s involvement. Paint is one of CAW’s biggest expenses, so Structure Tone executive vice president Scott Corneby worked with CAW’s board to connect them with Sherwin Williams, who now supplies their paint.
“At first we were helping coordinate the donations, but now CAW and Sherwin Williams have developed a direct relationship of their own,” says Corneby. “It’s gratifying to help in such a tangible way.”
Structure Tone employees also attend CAW’s annual benefit to help raise money and connect with the individuals behind the program and their vision.
Investing in local people and their communities is crucial to their survival. Murals created “by the community, for the community” are a way for kids to connect and engage with their neighborhood—but it’s more than that. The program instills skills and habits that serve them in both their personal and professional life. Kids who have attended programs like CAW have shown an increase in attendance and a decrease in behavioral issues at school. Their participation improves standardized testing, grades, and the probability of passing the math and English regents, which allows students to graduate, go onto college, and ultimately give back to their community.
“Most of us took this job in order to make money, but something else came out of it – we also helped our families, we contributed to the Bronx Renaissance”, said one CAW youth apprentice. “I learned that when a community comes together and we work hard, we can get something done, and the whole community will be improved by it, they will enjoy it, and they will respect it”