Teen leadership program kicks off this week, with a focus on how ableism, classism, sexism, and racism affect society

Boston, MA (July 13, 2017) – The Boch Center today announced the launch of this summer’s City Spotlights Leadership Program, an award-winning youth employment program. During the paid six-week program, which kicked off on Monday, 57 Boston and Everett teens will learn leadership skills through hands-on arts training. This year’s participants represent 11 Boston neighborhoods and Everett and 26 Greater Boston schools. To date, the program has employed nearly 300 teen leaders.

This year’s City Spotlights Summer Leadership Program participants have selected to explore how "-isms" impact relationships, communities, and institutions. In the coming weeks, they will unpack four key areas of identity and power: ableism, classism, sexism, and racism. Teens will explore how “-isms” affects their personal lives and the livelihoods of their respective communities and then create artistic pieces giving life to this theme. Previous topics have included the American Dream, anti-bullying, equality, and self-acceptance.

“We are thrilled to kick off another summer with our City Spotlights Teen Leaders,” said Josiah A. Spaulding, Jr., President & CEO of the Boch Center. “Each summer, we see these teens transform into confident, aspiring young leaders. They also use the arts to become advocates for themselves and for their communities as they tackle important social justice topics. We hope members of the community will be able to join us at one of the exciting City Spotlights events this summer to see how talented and creative these teen leaders really are and how the arts can transform lives!”

City Spotlights is a unique youth employment program that empowers local teens to become leaders in school, at home, and in their communities by using their creative voices. Core components of the paid six-week program include leadership training, community advocacy, and job readiness to help teens develop skills to navigate the rapidly changing 21st century economy. Program highlights include an advocacy day at the Massachusetts State House (July 19), a flash mob tour across Boston (August 3), a week-long community workshop tour (August 7-10), and an original final showcase on the Shubert Theatre stage (August 16).

“This summer, I’m really excited about expanding on my leadership skills,” said Madison of Dorchester, a City Spotlights participant who will be attending Emerson College in the fall. “It’s my fourth year with City Spotlights and I’ve learned a lot. I learned how to be more confident, to advocate for myself, what I believe in, and how to be a better leader. The arts are everything. It’s really changed me and helped me grow into the person that I am.”

All members of the Greater Boston community are welcome and encouraged to attend the upcoming State House advocacy day on Wednesday, July 19, at 11:00AM to hear teen leaders discuss the importance of arts funding and the role arts and culture play in this community.

Click here to learn more about City Spotlights and watch an overview video of the program.


About the Boch Center – The Boch Center is one of the nation’s leading nonprofit performing arts institutions and a guardian of the historic Wang and Shubert Theatres. As New England’s largest cultural venue, the Boch Center is home to theater, classical and popular music, dance, comedy, opera, Broadway musicals, family entertainment, and more.

Located in Boston’s historic Theater District, the Boch Center also offers a diverse mix of educational and community outreach initiatives, including the City Spotlights Leadership Program and ArtWeek; collaborates with artists and local nonprofit arts organizations; preserves historic venues; and acts as a champion for Greater Boston’s arts and cultural community. Learn more at bochcenter.org.