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I would like viewers to have an open mind and see the Point for what it is, not for what they have heard about it.” Kirssy Gonzalez, junior at Salem High School

SALEM, Mass.  -- Nine local students recruited by the Peabody Essex Museum to create a documentary about the Point neighborhood, are about to have their work presented to the public for the first time. The video, part of The Point Neighborhood Initiative Project, a special project created to lay the foundations of a relationship between the museum and Salem’s predominately Hispanic Point community, will be given a special screening at the Museum’s Morse Auditorium on Saturday, May 22, 10:30 a.m. The internship was made possible through the Museum Action Corps (MAC), a PEM program designed to provide high school and college students with paid internships in a museum setting. Admission to the screening is free and open to the public. A performance by the community dance group, An Other Image, will follow the screening. Refreshments will be served.

The video, What’s the Point? The Hope of a Growing Community, documents a neighborhood considered the traditional home of new immigrants in Salem, with the majority population of Spanish-Caribbean descent, mainly from the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

Rosario Ubiera-Minaya, MAC coordinator, and director of The Point Neighborhood Initiative Project, says, “The students created the video as a way to increase public awareness and greater understanding of the Point, how it has evolved, and to express their vision for the future.”

The students who participated, including an older student who helped guide them, are: Brandon Ramsay, Grehica Moreta, Grettel Perez, Joe Bartley, Kirssy Gonzalez, Margaret Gatterman, Miguel Lozano, Omayra Feliz, Pamela Moreta, and Saul Pena.

“Working with the group was great, the whole experience was an opportunity to meet new people and was a lesson in learning how to cope and understand others’ ideas and opinions,” says Grettel Perez, a junior at Lynn Technical Vocational High School.

The interns interviewed area residents, business owners, and community members for the project. The video, which was created in both languages, Spanish and English, will be screened at other venues in the community. A final schedule will be issued soon.

The MAC program at the Peabody Essex Museum has served over 250 area students since its inception three years ago.

‘The Museum Action Corps internship program provides young people with some meaningful involvement in the cultural life of their community,’ says John Grimes, director of research, new media and information at PEM. “Through the Point Neighborhood project, the MAC interns have helped to celebrate and showcase a vital Salem neighborhood that's frequently overlooked. The students are helping to change that. They are discovering that they can be leaders in the community, and the rest of us are getting to know - and hopefully encourage - some of Salem's most promising young men and women.”

About MAC

Each year, the MAC program at the Peabody Essex Museum serves interns from a variety of cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. Moving beyond traditional models of work-based internships designed to develop job skills, interns in the MAC program also explore issues of leadership, creativity and responsible citizenry. As an institution whose mission it is to facilitate an understanding of and appreciation for world art and cultures, PEM is uniquely poised to help young people from diverse backgrounds make connections between themselves and the broader world.

The MAC program is funded by ECHO, a federally funded educational and cultural enrichment initiative, annually serving hundreds of thousands of children and adult continuing learners in Alaska, Hawaii, and Massachusetts; and by the Fund for the Improvement of Education Program, an initiative of the Department of Education’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, established to conduct nationally significant programs designed to improve the quality of education and contribute to the achievements of elementary and secondary schools.

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PR Contacts:

April Swieconek  -  Director of Public Relations  -  978-745-9500 X3109  -  april@pem.org

Whitney Van Dyke  -  Senior Press Officer  -  978-745-9500 X3228  -  whitney_vandyke@pem.org

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