Gainesville commissioners approve funds for arts programs as a way to reduce gun violence in community

Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 3:56 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - The Gainesville City Commission approved two initiatives that bring arts programs into the community.

This comes as city officials work to reduce gun violence by getting teens involved in positive activities.

Leaders plan to use 2% of their American Rescue Plan dollars to support this program.

RELATED STORY: Gainesville commissioners approve $600K to GPD for crime mitigation

Commissioner Desmon Duncan-Walker has been a proponent of finding ways to get youth off the streets to reduce violence.

She said residents across Gainesville are asking for these types of programs.

“No matter where I went, or what child or parent I spoke to, one statement was consistent across conversations. I kept hearing youth and parents say over and over ‘they don’t have anywhere to go, they don’t have anything to do,’” said Duncan-Walker.

The commission also passed a motion to implement a cultural arts center that would offer programs and events.

“A study in 2020 found that among children and teenagers from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds, those with high levels of arts engagement showed more positive outcomes on indicators such as school grades, test scores, and high school graduations,” said Duncan-Walker.

Officials said they’re hoping these initiatives start a trend of engaging teens in positive activities, ultimately reducing gun violence.

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