The Society, Incorporated, a women's nonprofit that supports young students interested in the visual, literary and performing arts, chartered a chapter of its organization in Prince George's County on Nov. 11.
This county's chapter marks the 33rd — and most recently formed — branch of the organization, whose first chapter was established in Washington, D.C., in 1983. Since then, the nonprofit has spread throughout the country in locations such as Los Angeles and Dallas, and it aims to support children of all genders in the arts, said Julia Pollard, the organization's national president.
Pollard said she hopes to see "more community outreach" from the county's chapter to encourage local students to participate and continue in these fields.
"Those students who don't have an opportunity to participate in art classes in school would have an opportunity to see all of the various phases of the arts," said Dorothye Bush, former president of the Montgomery County chapter.
The Society, Incorporated was founded by four women who were passionate about service, according to the group's website. It eventually turned into an organization that "promote[s] friendship among members" and "serve[s] as a resource for young people in the arts."
The organization provides scholarships for students pursuing arts-related fields, and every other year, each of the nation's chapters host a showcase where students chosen to present their skills can receive awards. It has given out scholarships for the past 30 years, giving about $100,000 worth of awards during each showcase year, Pollard said.
Chapters choose students to perform in their showcases, where scholarships are offered in categories including visual, performing, vocal, instrumental and oratorical arts. Students can receive up to $1000 from a local chapter, while the national organization awards three students a scholarship every other year, Pollard said.
It's important for high school students to "know there are organizations in their city, county or town that will support their endeavors and help them to develop and to grow into the arts," Pollard said. "That's why we give scholarships to assist them as they pursue their artistic talents in college."
These recipients have attend two- or four-year colleges with the help of the scholarships; some students have gotten picked up by ballet companies in New York or Chicago.
While the organization is for students of all ages, some chapters angle their efforts toward high schools, Bush said.
Chelsey Green, a member of Montgomery County's chapter and a University of Maryland alumna, said she is excited the group has expanded to Prince George's County because it can access more students.
"It is very great to see a group of women dedicated to see young people develop their artistic endeavors," said Green, a multi-instrument performer.
Pollard's current goal for The Society, Incorporated is to grow by bringing women together around the country to function as a resource for young people in the arts and to promote friendship.
"There is a friendship focus," Bush said. "First friendship, and then I like showcasing youth talent."
Pollard said chapters in the area have teamed up with other colleges such as Howard University. In the future, she hopes this county's chapter can work with this university by connecting visual, literary and performing arts majors with high school students interested in those fields.
Pollard wants young people to "know there are organizations in their city, county or town that will support their endeavors and help them to develop and to grow into the arts," she said. "That's why we give scholarships to assist them as they pursue their artistic talents in college."