Baltimore YouthArts wrote -
Through the arts, students can learn how to discover not only the possibilities the world offers, but also their own possibilities. - Elliot Eisner
WHO WE ARE
BYA uses the arts to engage youth with the goal of building long-lasting, mentoring relationships. We provide artistic and entrepreneurial opportunities to youth so that they can hone their talents and use them to shape the world.We believe that the arts are a path towards self sufficiency and personal liberation as well as social, emotional, and educational development.
WHAT WE DO
BYA currently runs 2 main programs, an after school enrichment program, and the BYA Studio Apprentice program, an employment program with a focus on young people transitioning out of secure facilities in and around Baltimore.
BYA’s enrichment program allows us to enter into two juvenile justice centers to connect with youth. We offer a variety of classes ranging from the visual arts to creative writing and poetry.
One of BYA's main goals is to offer employment opportunities to youth, focusing on transitional employment for young people exiting juvenile and adult correctional facilities. Each week we work with 18-25 youth who have been detained and offer opportunities for them to make art, which they can exhibit and sell in the community. Through participation in BYA, the youth artists we work with are able to build their resumes and earn money while residing in a detention center or prison.
Staff and instructors who facilitate arts programming within juvenile institutions reconnect with young people upon release and assist them in their creative and personal endeavors. Any interested youth are invited to apply to become Studio Apprentices and take part in creative and job readiness training. Since 2016 we have employed 24 youth across three sessions. In this time we learned that for many youth, 6-10 week sessions are often not long enough. Because of this we have decided to extend the time youth are able to participate in the training program to one year.
BYA Apprentices receive in-depth arts education and programming. They are trained in a number of artistic techniques, including painting, drawing, screen printing, sewing, and digital design. In addition to the creative skills gained, youth staff participate in weekly Job and Life Skills trainings in which they create resumes, apply to jobs, take part in financial literacy, and work on interview skills. Youth also take part in weekly conversations about leadership and social justice issues.
WHY WE DO IT
The transitional nature of young people exiting detention, unemployment rates, and lack of jobs demonstrate the need to provide flexible employment and programming. Many youth return to facilities after being back in the community for short periods of time because they often get caught up doing whatever they can to get buy and support their families.
We aim to support youth in their transition back to their communities and reduce recidivism by offering enrichment activities, employment, training, and mentorship. BYA also has the capacity to engage community members who don’t normally think about the effects of juvenile incarceration. We hope that this will help build a larger support network for participating youth, change the preconceptions many adults have about young people and the criminal justice system, and support public safety by engaging youth in varying community spaces - increasing ownership and connection.
The arts are a vehicle for youth to explore their agency; transform themselves and their surroundings; use their voice and communicate their thoughts and ideas; re-connect to their communities; make new connections to peers and adults; identify and manage their emotions; and gain a wealth of hard and soft skills. Our mission is not merely to provide arts classes, but to allow participants the opportunity to access their full potential so that they feel equipped to advocate for themselves and others.
IN THE PAST YEAR-
+Over 300 youth took part in BYA arts classes
+24 Youth were employed in the BYA Apprentice Program
+Youth exhibited and sold their work in three gallery shows
+BYA youth artists sold their work at six separate fairs and pop-up events
+We produced two issues of our publication, Gathering
In Fall 2017, the BYA Studio Apprentice Program will be expanding to include a youth-run gallery that will engage young people, ages 14-21, in the curation of monthly exhibitions at Platform Arts Center. Youth will engage in every step of the curatorial process, working together to develop content, research and contact relevant artists, as well as help to design and install each show.
We are so excited to be able to expand and develop a larger platform for youth artists. This is an amazing opportunity, but will require a great deal of support!
YOUR CONTRIBUTION WILL SUPPORT
+Stipends for Youth Apprentices
+Cost of Materials for Classes at BYA Satellite Sites +Community Studio and Gallery Rent
+Gallery Support for Youth Artists
+Gathering, BYA’s Publication Series
+Trips to Job Fairs and Field Trips to Job Training Programs for Older Youth
“Working at BYA has given me things that I did not expect to find, such as a new family and close friends and I have met some great artists such as Jerrell and Dave. So far I’ve been to a lot of galleries that I like, for example Galerie Myrtis and City Arts.” Kendrick, 18
“Working at BYA I learned that it’s okay to be openly creative with what you’re passionate about and that you’d be surrounded by people who would make you feel comfortable and laugh.” Anonymous, 15
“I Like BYA because it’s helpful in lots of ways. It helps me with art, school, looking for other jobs, thinking about college, and keeps me out of trouble. BYA also helps other people in the program with looking for housing, childcare, insurance, transportation, and teaching people how to take care of their babies. I am thankful for all the staff in BYA because they take their time to help us with our needs and wants, pay us, and open us up to many more programs and activities that help us.” Alexis, 14
ABOUT BALTIMORE YOUTH ARTS
Baltimore Youth Arts is an arts education and job readiness program for youth, with a focus on those who have contact with the juvenile and criminal justice system. Our mission is to assist youth in gaining creative, personal, and educational skills that will enable them to become leaders in their communities.
BYA focuses on 1. Exposure to art making and creative training, 2. Fostering supportive relationships, and 3. Building community bridges. Considering the complex needs of youth, and the diverse opportunities in Baltimore, our goal is to provide holistic support to participants while encouraging interaction between youth and the greater community. We believe that all youth need access to programming and opportunities that offer skill building while promoting individual growth.
**All donations made to this campaign are tax deductible through Fusion Partnerships, BYA's fiscal sponsor.
Thank you so much for your support!!!