Our youth programs are at the heart of what we do. These year-round programs employ, train and mentor groups of underserved and court-involved young people through the creation of murals and other vibrant works of public art.
The majority of participants in our youth programs are mid-level offenders between the ages of 14-18 referred to us from our partners in the juvenile justice system. Through their involvement in Urban ArtWorks programs,they are given the opportunity to earn their own wages, gain employment skills, get a first job reference, pay any court-ordered restitution, and become a contributing member of – and artist in – their communities.
During the academic year, Urban ArtWorks partners with youth work readiness programs to provide subsidized employment training through the creation of public art. Youth participants work in our SODO studio during critical after-school hours with teaching artists and muralists to execute a large scale piece of public art, while learning the day-to-day of being a successful employee. They are paid an hourly wage through their affiliated organizations (such as EET, YouthWorks and SYEP).
Our After School Program when it’s not raining! Youth in our summer program work on large scale outdoor murals with teaching artists and community partners.
Founded in 2015, every youth in this program is immersed in the planning process of creating public art, from scouting a wall, applying for permits, communicating to clients, ordering supplies, and conceptualizing and executing ideas. We run this program year-round alongside our painting schedule because we believe in our version of the old “teach a man to fish…” saying: give the kid a brush, she paints for a day; give her the address of the permitting office, she runs for mayor when she grows up!
Open to teens, young adults and aspiring or inspired artists. We welcome applications for volunteer positions to assist with the creation of public art. Interns may receive school credit or community service hours, and mural apprentices will walk away with new tricks of the trade, and the satisfaction of creating public art and forming solid relationships with youth who need mentors and artists who need assistance! See our support page to find out how you can apply.
As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, we rely upon (and are incredibly grateful for!) the generous giving of our community partners and supporters to continue to offer our youth art programs.