The City University of New York is partnering with the nonprofit arts organization, The New 42nd Street, to expand CUNY student opportunities, providing long-term jobs and mentorships in the arts.
The New 42nd Street College Corps is the most recent addition to the University’s CUNY Arts initiative that was created to bring the arts into the lives of students and diversity into the workforce of the city’s arts and culture world.
On Friday, Aug. 4, the College Corps will be working from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on the final performance of another New 42nd Street theater project, Victory Dance, which provides free dance performances to city run summer schools and day camps.
The first group of 16 students to work with The New 42nd Street, most from CUNY community colleges, began in July at the Duke, an off-Broadway venue for theater and dance performances. Under the guidance of The New 42nd Street staff, College Corps students have paying jobs as ushers and receive one-on-one counseling, as well as access to CUNY services and resources beneficial to them. The program is planned to eventually include 25 to 30 students.
“This partnership gives our students access to yet another exciting cultural institution, provides a pipeline for paid internships and jobs, and helps promote diversity in the arts,” said Chancellor James B. Milliken. “It exemplifies the ambitions of our CUNY Arts initiative.”
Cora Cahan, president of The New 42nd Street, said that “as a graduate of CUNY’s Brooklyn College, I am especially pleased on behalf of everyone on the board and the staff to welcome CUNY students to The New 42nd Youth Corps, which pairs paid employment and cultural engagement for young New Yorkers.” The organization, which was created by the city and state in 1990 to redevelop Manhattan’s famous thoroughfare, now operates three theater projects and a number of youth development programs.
Its newest, the College Corps, was developed by The New 42nd Street to support CUNY students in ways that go beyond providing them with jobs. Besides working at performances and learning about the arts from inside a leading, cultural nonprofit, participants will be mentored by staff members and take part in professional development and life skills workshops to help them succeed in college and beyond.
“This is a wonderful example of the possibilities when the CUNY Arts initiative partners with organizations that care deeply about CUNY students,” said Associate Vice Chancellor Andrea Shapiro Davis. “The New 42nd Street doesn’t want to just hire our students, they want to help our students grow professionally and personally, and are providing them with opportunities and support services that they need and want.”
CUNY Arts is a comprehensive initiative that includes the CUNY Cultural Corps, itself a new initiative to create opportunities for CUNY students to work in the city’s arts and culture industry. Launched last fall, the Cultural Corps is modeled on the CUNY Service Corps, which provides students with paid work experience in civic-oriented jobs in community-based organizations and government agencies.
Likewise, The New 42nd Street College Corps is part of a broader initiative by the arts organization. It’s the fourth program under the group’s Youth Corps, which provides more than 100 young people a year with jobs in the arts. “This partnership with CUNY Arts is an extension of our nationally recognized work in offering academic and career mentorship with unique opportunities to experience New York City’s world-renowned performing arts firsthand,” said Cahan. The Duke on 42nd Street has been home to numerous performing arts companies and has presented such companies as Playwright’s Realm, Steppenwolf Theater Company, Classical Theater of Harlem and the National Theater of Great Britain.
The New 42nd Street also built and operates two other theater projects, New 42nd Street Studios and The New Victory Theater. In 2014, First Lady Michelle Obama presented the New Victory Usher Corps with a National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award for outstanding excellence in creative youth development.
The City University of New York is the nation’s leading urban public university. Founded in 1847, the University comprises 24 institutions: 11 senior colleges, seven community colleges, the William E. Macaulay Honors College at CUNY, the CUNY Graduate School and University Center, the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, the CUNY School of Law, the CUNY School of Professional Studies and the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy. The University serves more than 272,000 degree-seeking students. College Now, the University’s academic enrichment program, is offered at CUNY campuses and more than 400 high schools throughout the five boroughs. The University offers online baccalaureate and master’s degrees through the School of Professional Studies.
Contact: Frank Sobrino, CUNY, (646) 664-9300; Allison Mui, The New 42nd Street, (646) 223-3067