The Center for Visual and Performing Arts- known as the Annex to students at Suitland High School in District Heights, MD- came into being as a magnet art curriculum following court-ordered desegregation reforms in Prince George's County, Maryland. Since then, the program has withered endless budget cuts and threats to its capability and even existence inside a crumbling school building.
But this hasn't stopped anyone at Suitland. With only $1,000 allotted annually for the program's 65 students (total-not individually), teachers dip into their own pockets to find adequete supplies, and the results have been incredible. Students dealing with issues such as drug abuse and eviction at home are at receiving scholarships to highly prestigious art schools. The Class of 2005 specifically was one to remember: Sam Vernon, one of Complex's "15 Young Black Artists Making Waves in the Art World," is currently featured in three Brooklyn shows; and Eric Mack, one of Forbes' "30 Under 30 Promising Talents in Visual Art and Design," has an upcoming show in Paris. This seemed incredible to me, and obviously many others. Only one thing is greater than the incredible adversity many students at Suitland face: their dedication to and the quality of their art.