Number of years Classics Through the Ages program has supported students in the classical arts

Linking Art Through Transformative Programs

The Links support of the arts can be traced to our cultured co-founder Margaret Rosell Hawkins. Her innate artistic talent, discovered at a young age, earned her a four-year scholarship to the Women’s School of Design, later known as the Moore Institute of Art. Her passion for creative expression later led to her appointment as an art teacher, and helped give root to the establishment of The Arts facet in 1964 at the 14th National Assembly.

Throughout the nation today, Links chapters partner with museums, symphonies, arts councils, educational institutes and corporations in order to support art programs, especially where there is a focus on artists of color. Links are creating and supporting opportunities for educating minority youth in the arts and presenting and supporting performances by youth and accomplished professional artists in a diversity of disciplines.

The goal of The Arts Facet is to produce and support programs to enrich the quality of life of our youth and communities through educational and engaging art experiences while Transforming Communities, Fulfilling Our Purpose. Our programming includes arts integration within our chapters and partnerships with like-minded organizations, sowing the seed of creativity deeper in our community. The following are the programmatic interests for The Arts.


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Adopted as the signature program of The Arts facet at the 2008 National Assembly, Classics Through the Ages focuses on increasing the interest, knowledge and participation of youth of African descent in the classical arts. This exciting initiative seeks to afford exemplary student artists opportunities to hone their talents and skills, and earn recognition and support for their educational and career pursuits.

Classics Through the Ages is an innovative dual mentoring program where chapters, in conjunction with artistic partners, mentor promising student artists, who in turn mentor their peers. A key to program success is the development of artistic and community partnerships, which optimize impact for promising students in a selected arts discipline (e.g., visual arts, performing arts or humanities). Artistic partners provide students with formal training, performance or exhibition opportunities, and an annual master class led by a professional artist in the area of interest. In return the student artists lead interactive learning sessions for selected peers less familiar with the chosen arts discipline. Community youth see the passion student artists have, sparking the potential of art in their lives.

Chapters provide further support by funding advanced training classes and workshops, donating supplies, updating equipment, and more. Internships or scholarships can be awarded to expand the student artists’ learning experiences. Chapter sponsorship of student artists carries over from year to year until they graduate from high school.

he National Poster Art Competition was created in 1995 in conjunction with The Links, Incorporated’s national walk-a-thon. The competition’s theme has traditionally had a health related focus and sought to depict healthy, energetic, and active lifestyles. The 2019- 2020 competition broadens the health focus by adopting the theme Transforming Communities by Making Health a Habit. Students incorporated sub-themes including, but not limited to, a healthy and clean environment, a bully-free world, and an inclusive and diverse society as elements related to healthy and happy communities.

The National Poster Art Competition runs biennially from October through June, commencing in uneven years. Between December and March, Links chapters conduct their own contests to determine winners in each of four age categories:

Category I:Grades 1-3
Category II:Grades 4-6
Category III:Grades 7-9
Category IV:Grades 10-12

In April and May, a public online contest is run where Links members and supporters vote for student entries submitted to our chapters. After the public voting period, a panel of seven national judges from the arts vote on the finalists. Winners from each category are announced and their work is then displayed at The Links National Assembly.

The Detroit-based Sphinx Organization is a leading national arts and youth development organization dedicated to transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts. Sphinx works to create positive change in the arts field and in communities across the country through a variety of programs organized into four main principles – education and access, artist development, performing artists, and arts leadership. Sphinx reaches more than 85,000 students through its programs and more than 2 million in live and broadcast audiences.

The Arts facet has a proud multi-year history of engagement with this organization, including providing talent to many national assembly workshops and feature performances, through the Classics Through the Ages signature program. Chapters in the New York area annually support the Carnegie Hall performance of the Sphinx Virtuosi, one of the nation’s most dynamic professional chamber orchestras, comprised of 18 of the nation’s top black and Latino classical soloists. Please support and find out more about this important organization in the arts. http://sphinxmusic.org

The Young Master Writers Program Competition (YMWP) promotes participation, pride, and achievement in creative writing among high school students of African ancestry. In today’s culture of short-hand communication, YMWP aims to recognize the vital role of writing in society by encouraging young people to channel their experiences, observations, fears, and hopes into works of expressive, original prose and poetry. Chapters of The Links, Incorporated partner with schools, libraries, nonprofits, and other organizations to seek out and mentor interested students in their communities. The unique voices of competition entrants shed light on their lives, covering topics such as bullying, heritage, love, community, history, pop culture, and politics.

Originating in the Eastern Area of The Links, Incorporated in 2012, YMWP has been elevated into a national program. The early successes of the program in the Eastern Area yielded nearly 1,000 entries and the publishing of four edited volumes of student work, two of which hold Library of Congress copyrights. Because of the Eastern Area 90 high school students have become published writers.

The Links, Incorporated looks to scale up YMWP and provide hundreds of more students across the country and abroad the opportunity to share and be recognized for their writings. By encouraging budding authors and poets, the program seeks to develop a cadre of young and future writers whose work will continue to make an impact long after the competition is over.