THE WOMEN'S INTERNATIONAL
FILM & TELEVISION SHOWCASE

TheWIFTS FOUNDATION
INTERNATIONAL
VISIONARY AWARDS
HONOREE LUNCHEON
DEC 6th 2014
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Ruth Lande Shuman
The Arts Advocacy Award - USA
  
Ruth Lande Shuman
Pioneer – Innovator - Mentor
 
Ruth Lande Shuman, Founder and President of Publicolor, is the recipient TheWIFTS Arts Advocacy Award for her dedication to pioneering the use of color, collaboration, design, and the discipline of the commercial painting to engage at-risk students in their education. Publicolor targets the most underserved communities, most underperforming schools and most disadvantaged middle and high school students.

A dynamic and passionate innovator, Ruth Lande Shuman is an award-winning industrial designer deeply committed to using design to address two of the root causes of poverty: the under-education of our youth and their lack of job preparedness. Ms. Shuman received her B.A. in 1964 from the University of Pennsylvania and completed her M.S. in Industrial Design at Pratt Institute in 1989 with a thesis on "Forms, Patterns, and Systems in Nature," where she also completed a six-month post-graduate study on the psychological effects of color.

A pioneer in using design to engage disaffected youth in their education, Ms. Shuman set her sights on improving the lives of neglected NYC public school students, their teachers, families and communities. Alarmed by low test scores and high drop-out rates and appalled by the dreary and often prison-like facilities that operate as our middle and high schools, Ms. Shuman hit on the deceptively simple—yet incredibly successful—idea that one can fundamentally improve students' attitudes and engagement by improving their learning environments.

In 1996, Ruth Lande Shuman founded the not-for-profit organization Publicolor to use color, collaboration, design, and the discipline of the commercial painting to engage at-risk students in their education, targeting the most underserved communities, most underperforming schools and most seriously disadvantaged middle and high school students.

Since its inception, Publicolor has expanded its programs and posted some incredible results that support its value and more than justify its broad and enthusiastic support from the Mayor, school administrators, teachers, and, most importantly, the students.

Now celebrating its 16th anniversary, Publicolor has revived 147 huge inner-city public schools and 175 community centers. One hundred percent of Publicolor high school students remained enrolled in school and became positive role models for their peers. Last year, 94% of Publicolor students graduated high school on time (compared to 42% of their peers) and 94% went to college. And because we pair college students with mentors, 88% returned in the fall compared to 63% for first-generation students nationwide. In other words, as students transform their schools, they transform themselves. And it's not just the students who are enrolled in the Publicolor program—it's ALL the students in the school, their parents, and, by logical extension, the community at large who are impacted by Publicolor. The ripple effect produces impressive statistics.

The culmination of this truly remarkable woman's dedication saw, on November 10, 2014, First Lady Michelle Obama present Publicolor Founder & President Ruth Lande Shuman and Publicolor student Elisha Almonte with the prestigious National Arts+Humanities Youth Program Award at The White House.

Ms. Shuman has been deeply committed to community-based volunteer work for over 30 years, most notably as a founding trustee of the Big Apple Circus, where she served as an active board member for 17 years. She is a former trustee of the Rowena Reed Kostellow Fund at Pratt Institute, the Women's Council at the University of Pennsylvania, the Mayor's Voluntary Action Center, and The Kitchen, a preeminent presenter of contemporary performing arts. She was a member of the Union Free School Board of the Wiltwyck School, Ossining, NY. Ms. Shuman also served as the Mayor's representative to the board of the Museum of Art & Design in New York City.




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