Maria Marewski founded Children’s Media Project (CMP) in 1994 as an outgrowth of teaching animation to 4th graders. CMP stemmed from the belief that children need to know how to read and write in the increasingly dominant language of image, word and sound. The more she worked with youth the more she saw how the filmmaking process combined with mentorship developed creative expression and critical thinking skills, and provided children and youth an outlet for joy and expression in an underserved community.
CMP evolved into an award-winning community resource housed in the core of Poughkeepsie’s inner city. Now called Spark Media Project, the organization continues to serve young people, artists, schools and organizations in the Hudson Valley. As a media art, technology and education organization, Spark has collaborated region-wide with numerous K-12 school districts and hundreds of organizations.
Maria had been focused on youth and media, critical thinking and creativity since 1994, when she founded the Children’s Media Project. Since that time she has been engaged in the education, exhibition and production of youth related media.
Marewski has developed and managed many projects that have youth and community development at its core. Using a multi-intelligence, holistic approach to learning, she had designed many hands-on workshops in media production and media literacy and collaborated with schools, community organizations, churches and libraries. She has taught at Vassar College, Hunter College, and the University of Maryland; has co-directed the summer Community Fellows Program at Vassar College; has programmed Youth Media Exhibition Programs of screenings, panels and workshops for the Hampton’s International Film Festival; has been a panelist on the selection committee of the New York State Council on the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts, and has presented at numerous annual conferences including the Grantmakers in the Arts, the National Media Education Association, the Coalition for Essential Schools, and the International Conference on Practice and Professionalism.
Believing that “Entertainment is the most powerful educational force of any culture” (George Gerbner), Marewski has been focusing her attention on the production of high impact, youth engaging media. She has been the Executive Producer for numerous award winning educational media products: Smokescreens: From Tobacco Outrage to Media Activism, Please Stand Up Against (School) Violence, He Said, She Said,; Shadowhood, a 45 minute live action narrative and Hero’s Journey curriculum for Emerging Workers.