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Leslie Goldman (1 post)
So Haslip—who trained as a painter in her native Alabama—started inviting local kids to her basement for art workshops she called the Little Black Pearl (LBP). "People thought I was crazy," she admits. But she soon received a $466,000 grant that helped her recruit local artists as teachers. Her goal: to help kids imagine a future for themselves beyond their blighted blocks. "I wanted them to see people who look like them, making a living as artists," she says.
By 2005 LBP was so popular that Haslip, aided by the city, opened a 40,000-square-foot art and design center, complete with ceramic and painting studios and a darkroom. LBP now serves hundreds of kids each year (many of whom are wards of the state). Students learn to market and sell their work in the space's gallery; proceeds go to support LBP's programs.
In September Haslip, now 46, realized her latest dream: an on-site high school, which welcomed 175 kids, most of whom are academically challenged or at risk of dropping out. She says she hopes LBP's unique resources will help them "want to go to school again." As she notes, "Art touches kids in ways that other things can't."
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