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Students at Art and Design High School spending summer working with mentors from HBO Max

Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter with students from the Arts and Design High School in Manhattan.
Photo courtesy NYC Department of Education

While most New York City public school students taking part in the city’s Summer Rising education program are working towards making up lost course material from school year disrupted by the pandemic, teens at Manhattan’s Art and Design High School have been gaining valuable work experience. 

As part of Summer Rising and Career and Technical Education Summer programming, about 60 students at the arts high school are working with mentors from HBO to develop marketing pitches for HBO Max Pa’lante, the television network’s rebranded Latino outreach platform. 

For four weeks, students broke off into four small groups to craft interactive marketing campaigns and received feedback on strategy, story and pitching from 20 coaches for a series of short films highlighting Latino stories.

Students at Art and Design High School get specialized hands-on instruction in a number of commercial arts areas like animation, cartooning, fashion design, graphic design, illustration and photography and frequently take part in internships in each industry. 

And given the large number of Latino students at Art and Design High School—about 52% of students in the 2019-2020 school year identified as Hispanic, according to Inside Schools— many students taking part in this new internship get to create content that reflects their own experiences and communities. 

“The most special piece of this project is we are the audience,” said Carl Landegger, a design instructor at the high school, told amNew York Metro. Landegger added that a few LGBTQ students taking part in the program worked to incorporate Queer experiences in their marketing ideas as well. 

“They are enriching and celebrating the Latinx, LGBTIA communities through and having them take actionable change with various types of creative tactics,” he added.

One group of students for their marking plan for the short film Extranjero, which follows a man’s journey back to his hometown after he was forced to leave, pitched creating a museum exhibition of refugee and immigrant artwork with a virtual reality component to help audiences identify with the character and potentially stir social change. 

“It could be a good learning experience for a variety of people, it could be connected to people that felt like an outsider,” said recent Art and Design alum and group member Leila Eng-Perez. “It could bring new awareness, kind of like [to people ] who took their privilege for granted.”

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