VIOLET PRETE, 18
Violet Prete, born and raised in New York City, is currently a drama major at the Professional Performing Arts School in Manhattan. She believes theatre has made her who she is today and provides the lens through which she sees the world. Prete contends that theatre from Ancient Greece to August Wilson has served as a voice for the oppressed and marginalized and is using her art as activism. Prete founded the Peer Tutor Club at her school, which recruits students to tutor fellow students who seek help. She tutors math in both English and Spanish at a middle school in Harlem. Her favorite quote by Bertolt Brecht says, “Art is not a mirror to hold up to society, but a hammer with which to shape it.”
Prete also runs Picturing Harlem, an organization of her own design where students photograph the vibrant, beautiful people and community of Harlem and sell the prints. All proceeds are donated to City Health Works: a nonprofit organization providing in-home health care for residents of Harlem and the Bronx. After taking a summer writing intensive at the Langston Hughes House, also in Harlem, Prete was asked to serve as an intern for their collective which provides a voice for young, underrepresented artists and writers. She has also served as an intern for New York State Assembly member Rebecca Seawright, an advocate for minority, low income, elderly, and LGBTQ citizens. In July of 2018, through Global Glimpse, a nonprofit organization that provides leadership programs, Prete received a scholarship enabling her to travel to the Dominican Republic where she lived in an orphanage and worked with the children, taught English classes to adults, and helped construct a park in the community. As an ambassador for Global Glimpse, Prete now works with the students in New York who will travel with the program this summer. Prete will attend Princeton University in the fall where she intends to continue her work as an artist.