Our program employs, trains and mentors groups of at-risk and adjudicated youth ages 14-18 through the creation of public art murals. We also work with volunteer youth and adults in the creation of public art.
To date, we have completed more than 400 murals since our founding in 1995. The youth we serve at ArtWorks are primarily mid-level offenders from the Juvenile Justice system. Among these kids are foster children, some in drug rehabilitation, anger management classes and members of single parent homes. They are escaping gangs, prostitution and violence and finding a creative outlet and sense of community at the same time.
They need caring adults in their lives, positive engagement during non-school hours, employment skills and a sense of connection to the community in which they live. Through their involvement in ArtWorks’ programs they are given an opportunity to complete their first job experience, to earn their own wages, to begin to pay off any court ordered restitution owed to their victims and to become a contributing member of – and artist in – their communities.
We believe that the public art we create serves the entire community by beautifying the urban landscape, improving construction zones in and around the city, and brightening the lives of countless commuters moving through the SODO Urban Arts Corridor.
Public Art Program
Summer and After School. Each youth enrolled in our public art program completes an eight week session, held Monday through Friday from 3:30 until 6:00pm (during the school year) and 1:00 to 5:00pm (during the summer). Youth in our school year program receive a minimum of 100 hours of direct engagement each session, while those in our summer session receive a minimum of 160 hours of direct engagement. In our public art program we teach each youth the lessons of employment, community involvement and art education.
Saturday Girl’s Program
We have recently added a Saturday girls program to our offerings. This program was begun in response to the challenges many of our girls face in completing our program. This 15 week program is conducted by two female artists, and employs up to 8 girls for a four hour session each Saturday morning. Still in its beginning stages, we have already been very pleased with our results for this program and will continue to support its growth.
Volunteer Youth Participation
We also provide volunteer mural creation experiences for youth. Our volunteers paint with our employed youth.
Murals in Public Schools
We also provide mural programs in local schools. We recently completed a mural at Cleveland High School in an after school program that lasted 8 weeks and involved 25 volunteer youth. We were recently awarded a grant to do a new mural project with the students at South Lake High School, an alternative school in the Rainier Beach neighborhood. These projects are possible through specific project funding.