ITHACA, N.Y. – Hundreds gathered at Ithaca’s Southside Community Center on Thursday evening to watch students of the summer camp showcase artwork, spoken word poetry, song, dance and other talents.

Southside’s Community Unity Music Education Program (CUMEP), the brainchild of founder Fe Nunn, began in 2003 as a way to provide an affordable, quality performing arts education for low-income youth and youth of African American, Latino, Asian American and Native American (ALANA) backgrounds.

The program is open to children from ages 2-18 and welcomes students to take part in four weeks of dance, arts and crafts, journaling, singing, and other group activities.

Dr Nia Nunn, Southside Community Center Board President, said each student is encouraged to make a new friend each day during the program and give out at least two compliments.

This year’s concert showcased performances focusing on LGBTQA+ rights, different family structures, the concept of consent, the environment, interrupting Islamophobia, Black consciousness, indigenous people and women’s rights – students even constructed a larger-than-life puppet of Harriet Tubman and marched her through the crowd unannounced. The event also hosted keynote speaker Samantha Little, Director of Athletics and Wellness in the Ithaca City School District.

Check out our best photos from this year’s concert below.

Alyvia Covert

Alyvia is a Crime Reporter with The Ithaca Voice. She graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Journalism and Photography.