Buffalo's CEPA Gallery was honored at The White House Friday in a ceremony hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama.
CEPA, which focuses on photography, technology, and literary arts, was among 12 recipients of the 2013 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award. The award recognizes outstanding after-school programs that encourage students' creativity and imagination.
Presenting the award to the organization Friday afternoon was Susan Hildreth, the director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
"CEPA's arts program uses photography and creative writing as tools for examining such complex themes as urban blight and the struggle for social equality," Hildreth said.
In Washington to receive the award from the First Lady were CEPA Education Director Lauren Tent and 18-year-old Lafayette High School student Jose Lagares.
Mrs. Obama used the occasion to emphasize the importance of supporting arts education.
"Studies have shown that students who are highly involved in the arts stay in school longer than those who are less involved. Arts education also leads to better scores in reading and math and it makes students much more motivated and engaged in school," Obama said.
The Youth Award is the nation's highest honor for after-school arts and humanities programs. CEPA, which is located in the Market Arcade building on Main Street, says it is proud and humbled to receive the award on behalf of all of the children its programs have served.