5 NJ and PA Schools Selected as the Next Cohort for Young Audiences’ United We Create Project!


United we Create Logo

Grants to provide arts education programming to promote cultural understanding and build bridges between Muslim and non-Muslim students 

PRINCETON, NJ; November 4, 2021— Young Audiences Arts for Learning NJ & Eastern PA (YA), the region’s largest arts education non-profit is pleased to announce the next cohort schools in NJ and PA that have been chosen to be part of the United We Create Project, which promotes cultural understanding between Muslim and non-Muslim students. 

United We Create programs are entry points for schools to increase positive perceptions of Muslim identities and build connected communities. Students will explore the history and culture of Muslims through the arts with professional teaching artists, while recognizing and uplifting Muslim traditions. 

The United We Create Project is offered FREE to selected schools. These programs are valued at $18,500. Funding is made possible through grants from The Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art and the National Endowment for the Arts. 


  • Create emotional connections between students by using arts activities that encourage empathy and understanding, teach students that differences are to be celebrated, and help students develop positive perceptions of self and others. 
  • Increase students’ knowledge about Muslim cultures, using the lens of arts to explore folklore, ethos, and traditions. 
  • Provide professional learning opportunities for teachers to learn strategies for promoting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion grounded in asset approach pedagogy and align with active learning practices. 


United We Create has selected five new schools for this year’s cohort: Gesu School, McManus Middle School, Salome Urena Elementary School, Slackwood Elementary School, Charles Olbon School.

Here is what some of the selected schools have to say about participating in this grant funded program: 

“Without this, we would never be able to take part in something so unique! Young Audiences’ programs have been a great partnership and asset to our school and we can’t wait to start this new collaborative experience! Thank you so much!” 

– Mrs. Dawn Maglio, Visual Arts Teacher, Salome Ureña Elementary School

“We feel Slackwood School is the perfect place for United We Create and very much appreciate all the opportunities and experiences that this grant will provide for our children! Jill Lee-You, our art teacher, District Equity Warrior, and project leader and I both see United We Create as the perfect addition to our school-wide equity initiatives as we strengthen our community so everyone is welcome and everyone belongs!”

– Jeanne Muzi, Principal, Slackwood Elementary School 

The United We Create Project is an opportunity to expose our children culturally and to broaden our at- risk student’s view of the world.  Our students will build awareness, understanding, and acceptance of other faiths. The students will also learn differences are a strength especially when working together.  This project can play a key role to address the challenges of racism, self-value, and can promote equity.  All very much needed during these times. I am so excited and thankful!”

– Mrs. Denise Jackson M. Ed., Director of Gesu After School Program 


  • 87.96% increase in the student’s comfort level in asking questions about Muslim people and culture.  
  • 78.55% increase among students who “strongly agree” to the statement, “I can be friendly to people who are different from me.” 
  • Muslim students reported that they were glad to “see themselves” presented positively. 
  • 120.56% increase in teachers who “Agree” when asked if they feel equipped to begin implementing strategies in the classroom that value Muslim culture and experience.

“We’re ecstatic to see our school’s mission and vision continue to grow through this fully-funded arts education program. At McManus we celebrate community, courage, change, and empower our learners daily to embrace their diversity to gain a deeper understanding of the global community around them. The world is smaller than we think, and the arts are essential in providing a universal language that connects us all in a meaningful way.” 

– McManus Middle School Team 

United We Create is offered through Young Audiences Arts for Learning NJ & Eastern PA, the premier arts education organization in the region. It is made possible through funding from the Building Bridges program, the national grant-making arm of the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, an extension of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Since 2007 the Building Bridges Program has supported national efforts, working with U.S.-Muslims, to increase mutual understanding and well-being among diverse populations for the benefit of building stronger, inclusive communities. The program is anchored in the conviction that strategic use of the arts and media can help provide an effective social prescription for achieving this vision. 

This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.