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Arts Programming Coming to LES Housing Projects

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We've focused a good deal attention in the past few months on the lack of after school programming available to teens in the Lower East Side's housing projects. Now there's some good news to report. Thanks to the Banco Popular Foundation, the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center will be offering theater programs in three housing developments, beginning early next year.

State Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh helped facilitate the new initiative, through an already existing "Dreammaker" grant. Jan Havlik, Clemente Soto Velez's executive director, says there have already been discussions with community leaders at the Campos Plaza Housing development. He said there could be theatrical performances, workshops or any number of other offerings. The idea is to call on the teens to help shape the programs. 

Parents at Campos Plaza have grown increasingly concerned that, in the absence of extracurricular activities, kids are drifting more and more towards drugs, violence and street gangs. In an era of shrinking city and state budgets, political leaders have focused on tapping into resources already available.

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