Peoria-based Penguin Project receives national honor
The Penguin Project, which began in Peoria, recently received the 2017 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award.
Considered the highest award of its kind in the nation, the award recognizes after-school or out-of-school programs, according to a press release from the Peoria Chamber of Commerce.
The Penguin Project uses community theater productions — Broadway musicals with a youth-oriented slant — to give opportunities to special-needs youth. Founded in 2004, the project has spread to 26 sites in 15 states.
The project is one of 12 winner selected out of 350 programs that were nominated and 50 that became finalists.
The award, which comes with a $10,000 prize, is presented as part of a partnership between the National Endowment of the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services in cooperation with the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA).
"These 12 creative youth development programs represent the best of the best," NASAA President and CEO Pam Breaux said in the news release. "They are living proof of the power of the arts and the humanities to build the skills young people need to succeed in school and in life."
The project's website is penguinproject.org.