Something powerful happens when you give young people a chance to create public artwork: they find a positive way to express themselves, they feel more connected to their communities and their peers, and they gain real-world skills that prepare them for the future.
For 25 years we have provided this arts-based employment program for teens who face barriers to the arts, education, and employment, including those who are in the juvenile court system. Over each eight-week session, apprentices work alongside professional teaching artists to learn basic art skills, research, design, and install public art throughout King County. In addition to honing their painting skills, teens develop the interpersonal and professional skills needed to thrive in a workplace. Though many participants are referred to us from our community partners, we reserve some spaces each session for young people who come to us independently. Youth who participate in this program are either paid hourly, with a stipend, or can receive community service credits. If you or someone you know may be interested, please contact us today!
“As an Education Employment Specialist with the Education Employment Training Program and the liaison for Urban ArtWorks, I have worked closely on a year round basis for well over a decade with the organization. UA has been an invaluable partner to the EET Program in working with the youth we serve. The ArtWorks staff provide a professional, positive, safe and supportive environment for the youth that are participating in paid Internships to learn and develop new art skills as well as the required job skills to be successful in the future.
As a case manager, I know I can rely on the needed communication between myself and the ArtWorks staff to support each youth as they learn new skills and grow as individuals. Upon completion of a project I see youth demonstrate pride in what they have accomplished and the completed project that is now a part of the community in which they live.”
The Base Crew provides paid year-round mentorship and training for teens who have completed the Mural Apprentice Program who wish to deepen their arts and design experience. This program is a pathway for youth to become future muralists, teaching artists, and leaders of Urban ArtWorks.
• Group sessions guided by experienced Teaching Artists
• Collaborative mural projects for local nonprofits which give youth the opportunity to work alongside a variety of nonprofit staff and clients to research, design, and install impactful public art
• Conversations with other invited guest artists who will share their own artistic journeys
• Regular meetings for the youth with individual artist mentors to develop personal portfolios, draft artist statements and apply to show their work in gallery spaces
• Opportunities to take on individual commissioned mural projects
• The Base Crew participants will also serve as a youth advisory council to inform the broader program planning at Urban ArtWorks
Through this program, Base Crew youth will be supported to accomplish their goals as young artists while also giving back to the community. Ultimately, we envision the program will open pathways for personal and professional growth and provide a scaffold for future leadership opportunities at Urban ArtWorks and beyond.
Our School-Based Programs provide opportunities for students in grades one through twelve to work alongside teaching artists to install murals at their schools. They explore themes and issues that are important to their community, create a design, and bring that design to life. Each project is tailored to fit the needs of the individual school or classroom and can be integrated within the standard grade-level curricula. Urban ArtWorks is on the Seattle Public Schools Creative Advantage Community Arts Partner Roster. If you’re curious about how we can work with your students during or after school, contact us today!
Do you have a community group or some young people you would like us to work with to create a collaborative mural? We often partner with other non-profit organizations or specific communities to design and install murals through short-term workshops or longer-term customized programs. Contact us today and let’s brainstorm the possibilities!