The next generation of YouTube stars is in the making.
Nowhere is that more evident than at Marist High School in New York City.
The Marist School of Art, Technology and Design (MASAD) is a historically black high school in New Jersey and its students are part of a wave of highly visible young artists who are creating videos that have become part of the mainstream, according to school director Michael Wigler.
“We’re seeing some really innovative and well-rounded students doing amazing work that’s been picked up by the broader community,” he told NBC New York.
The students are also doing it with a level of passion and drive that many have not seen in a long time, Wiglers said.
Wigler and the school’s other directors are hoping that their students, who are mostly black and Latino, can be part of this shift.
The program is a collaboration between the school and a network of local artists, Wigs said.
They have worked with other arts organizations to help get the video up on YouTube, including the Bronx Arts Council, which has been a big help.
The program is the first in a series of initiatives Wigels plan to launch this year that aim to build bridges between students and their local communities.
For example, MASAD students are collaborating with a local group to make a video for Marist’s football team that will feature their favorite plays, Wriglers said, and students will collaborate on a book of Marist alumni poems.
They are also working on a documentary about the school.
“It’s about a lot of people who are doing great work and inspiring kids to want to do great work,” he said.
“This is a very big shift in our community, and we want to take advantage of it.”
Wiglers hopes to expand the program, with students working with local artists to create a video and book of their favorite Marist moments.
He also wants to create opportunities for students to meet with local groups.
“I think it’s a great way to make the community a little more engaged in what’s happening in our town,” he added.
“It’s a very important community to me.”
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