At the kick off of the 42nd annual Spoleto Festival in Charleston, S.C., our city’s mayor, John J. Tecklenburg praised Yo Art’s work in the community by saying, “. . . outreach and community engagement lies at the heart of our local cultural institutions’ missions and programming.

Fine examples of this abound throughout our city and, increasingly, within our schools, with outstanding initiatives like Engaging Creative Minds and Yo Art — a program that teaches media arts like photography, filmmaking, and digital coding to students in Title I schools. What began as an after-school program for just thirty-five students has since grown into a well-established initiative that has touched the lives of some ten thousand students. Each summer, Yo Art students’ work is proudly displayed at the Charleston County Public Library as part of the Piccolo Spoleto program.

This year, Gene Furchgott, Yo Art’s founder, will be stepping down from his role as Executive Director. I’d like to congratulate Gene on everything he has accomplished, but more importantly, I want to thank him for his vision, his dedication, and his tireless efforts that have shaped so many young peoples’ lives, and reminded us all that the arts are neither a luxury nor a diversion – the arts are what connect us and what continue to chart our path forward as a community.”

As Charleston’s leader since 2016, Mayor Tecklenburg is a strong advocate for the arts and for the city’s next generation’s exposure to the arts.

Yo Art, specifically our founder Gene Furchgott, has worked tirelessly to bring arts and technology to local schools, and we wholeheartedly thank Mayor Tecklenburg for his accolades and support.

The above address was prepared for delivery by Mayor John J. Tecklenburg on May 25, 2018, at the Spoleto Festival U.S.A. Opening Ceremonies.