This year I’ve made a couple goals which are oriented around my work at Urban Artworks:
- I want to accomplish my weekly rituals but at a grander scale.
- I want to reinvest in arts education – so I returned to gain my MFA in Fine Arts Leadership.
- I want to help young people access the arts – so I’m helping the youth behind our project get a comprehensive understanding of the process of creating public art.
- I want to connect MORE with the community and create a larger impact for our youth, the Seattle art scene and generally public art – so I began volunteering with the Downtown Seattle Association and other local artists.
I’m not only trying to help the youth gain skills but also trying to better myself through this process.
Another step that I took this past weekend was attending a Creative Advantage Seminar led by the Office of Arts and Culture and the Seattle Art Museum to foster conversations within the community on various topics surrounding the arts. This past seminar was focused on Social Justice Issues and the arts – two of my greatest passions. We had an amazing panel of four local community leaders, all which happened to be women (YES!) that spoke about the importance of our youth and the steps they are all individually and collaboratively taking to improve their arts’ experiences. Today, youth stumble upon barriers to the arts, whether it being cut in schools to costs of attending a museum. These four women, and many other community leaders are stepping forward and ensuring alternate routes to experience art.
Julie Trout, from John Muir Elementary School, has and is stepping forward to ensure her students always have a safe and beautiful space within the four walls of her classroom. She talked about the magic she creates for these students and the passion that drives her to do so. With only 35 minutes per class, Julie has a difficult task of ensuring that her youth are experiencing art every single minute they are there. With growing concerns on art being even more cut back in schools, arts education teachers are challenged with the task to educate and provide experiences where the youth can have a positive and creative outlet to express themselves.
Through my experience with Urban Artworks for the last five years, I have had the opportunity to advocate for underprivileged, court-involved and adjudicated youth to experience the arts. Hands down, the most meaningful part of my work is that these youth have the chance to create something any commuter, passer-by or tourist can see. It is public art that they have the opportunity to show off for years to come. They can proudly say, “I did this.” and have a myriad of individual community supporters behind them.
This seminar’s uplifting conversations, panel and community leaders coming together to talk about the social issues with our youth concerning the arts was another amazing catalyst that is going to push me further in achieving my goals and building upon them in the years to come. Art is relevant and through it our youth are empowered.