Montana’s MAPS (Media Arts in the Public Schools) Media Institute Receives Top National Honor

Cited as one of the best creative youth development programs in the country

Representatives from the MAPS Media Institute –a rural, tuition free, media arts
program based in Hamilton, MT–were in Washington, D.C. on Thursday to receive the
nation’s highest honor for creative youth development programs. Executive Director,
Clare Ann Harff, and MAPS student, Myles Smith, accepted the 2017 National Arts and
Humanities Youth Program (NAHYP) Award on behalf of the MAPS organization.

MAPS Executive Director, Clare Ann Harff says:
"We are incredibly honored to receive this award as it recognizes the dedicated
work of the entire MAPS community: founders Peter & Susan Rosten, students and
families – past and present, funders, clients and our community supporters. It reinforces
MAPS core belief that investing in our youth is investing in our future. By creatively
engaging students through relevant media arts, MAPS better prepares them for success
in school, their careers and in their community."


Governor Steve Bullock Congratulates MAPS Media Institute



Chosen from a pool of 285 nominations, MAPS is one of only 12 creative youth
development programs nationwide to be recognized at Thursday’s ceremony.

The NAHYP Award honors engagement in the arts and the humanities to
generate a wide range of positive outcomes for teens, including increased academic
achievement, graduation rates, and college enrollment, as well as improved literacy and
language abilities, communication and performance skills, and cultural awareness. Since
1998, these awards are presented through a partnership between the National
Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and
Federal Arts and Culture Agencies Honor < the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), in cooperation with the National
Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA).

In 2014, and again in 2016, the MAPS Media Institute was among the top 50
finalists for this award. This year, MAPS was honored as a winner. In addition to this
national recognition, MAPS will receive $10,000 to support its programming and to
engage more young people from the community.

Founded in 2004, by retired Hollywood producer, Peter Rosten, MAPS
programming encourages Montana students to develop creativity, communication skills
and confidence through STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math)
based media arts and service learning programs. MAPS’ goal is to inspire and prepare
Montana’s rural, under-served, 8th – 12th grade students to succeed in the 21st Century.
MAPS helps young people view their lives through a lens of possibility — engaging with
their communities as supportive citizens, while gaining real world experience through
media arts.

MAPS free-of-charge program bridges filmmaking, graphic design, music
production, computer science, entrepreneurship and community service. Students are
mentored by professional teaching artists. Through project based instruction and access
to industry standard equipment, students are introduced to the creative process and
taught how to apply their skills for future success. MAPS creates life-long learners ready
to engage with the modern world.
The atmosphere at the MAPS Media Institute is electric and the results are

As described by Cinda Holt, of the Montana Arts Council,
"… the MAPS Media Institute has become not only an exemplary organization,
but what we consider a Gold Standard of arts driven youth education in our state. Using
relevant media tools, MAPS turns underserved students into capable media artists and
communicators and is truly a life-changing program for its participants."

Currently, MAPS serves youth in Ravalli County and on three Montana Indian
Reservations. MAPS recently received funding to develop a statewide educational outreach program, the MAPS Media Lab, a mobile unit outfitted with equipment, MAPS
instructors and established curriculums.

MAPS founder Peter Rosten passed away last April, leaving an amazing legacy
of curiosity and learning, humor and hope. Rosten retired to the Bitterroot Valley after a
successful Hollywood career, and, according to his wife, Susan Rosten, "He was
enamored at the honesty and sincerity of the people here, especially teenagers. MAPS
is his proudest business accomplishment."

Along with many other honors, Peter Rosten was a 2016 Silver Circle inductee of
the Northwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. His
vision and work for the rural youth of Montana was the subject of a 2015 New York
Times article. It clearly anticipates how MAPS’ prestigious 2017 NAHYP Award is a
fitting testimony to his unique vision, dogged dedication, and infectious delight in the
creative human spirit.

Montana Governor Steve Bullock shares that:
"MAPS better prepares our Montana students for the jobs of the future while they
explore their passion in the media arts. While this award is for everyone, without Peter
Rosten, there would be no MAPS. Peter was always willing to share his talents and
make the world around him a better place."

And Senator Jon Tester commented:
"It was my pleasure to visit the MAPS program last year and I was impressed
with both the high quality of their work and the enthusiasm of the students. Investing in
the arts makes our communities stronger and more vibrant and it opens the doors to
new ideas and innovation."

In closing, MAPS student Myles Smith adds:
"MAPS is a place where I get to be creative and work on ideas with other
students, students from all over the valley. We learn about making art, but we also learn
how to communicate and gain confidence by bringing our ideas to life. All high school
kids should have a place like MAPS."

Clare Ann Harff


[email protected]

For more information about the MAPS Media Institute, please visit

For more information about the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards,


MAPS receives prestigious national award

Leaders of the Hamilton-based MAPS Media Institute are in Washington, D. C., today to be honored by federal arts and culture agencies as one of the best after-school and youth development programs in the nation.

The awards for MAPS effectiveness in engaging youth in the arts or humanities come from National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, Institute of Museum and Library Services, and National Assembly of State Arts Agencies.

MICHELLE MCCONNAHA [email protected]

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