AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAMS
Our main programming component is the Youthlight Art & Media Project, an intensive, year long program which facilitates young people to explore and engage in a number of artistic disciplines including: sculpture, digital photography, mosaics, silk screening, painting, drawing, mural creation, and media literacy. We currently have year round programs in Morrell Park serving elementary, middle and high school youth, and at Wildwood Elementary Middle Community School in Edmonson Village serving grades K-8. Partnerships with schools, non-profits and other organizations increase the reach of Access Art across the city through short and long term art and media workshops.
To foster youth leadership, students in our programs are engaged in a variety of leadership levels appropriate to their age. Youth in our Middle School Program enter the Youth Leadership Class after one year, and work towards becoming "Youth Assistants" (YAs). "YAs" are given explicit art and leadership goals and given the opportunity to demonstrate their proficiency around these challenges earning ‘badges’ for their accomplishments. YAs are also evaluated daily on the criteria of participation, initiative, responsibility, positive attitude, and setting an example. At the end of each semester they can earn a monetary stipend based on their daily evaluations.
Access Art is a Community Schools Strategy lead partner in Morrell Park and maintains a close working partnership with Morrell Park Elementary Middle School through our Community School Coordinator. The Coordinator works full time in the school and provides support to improve school climate, promote student achievement, connect parents to needed resources, and assist families to remove the barriers that keep students from attending school regularly. The combination of our out-of-school programs and an embedded community coordinator strengthens our ability to support families, get a fuller picture of our youth, and help support the school to reduce truancy.
Access Art leverages and coordinates resources, funding, and projects that support community enhancement through creativity. Students design and paint large scale murals to beautify local neighborhoods, create public service billboard campaigns addressing community issues which are displayed on actual billboards in their neighborhoods, help clean vacant lots in order to create public sculptures, and showcase their work in exhibits. Community improvement projects connect youth to local neighborhood residents and provide collaborative opportunities to work together on a shared goal.
“Youthlight helps young people gain confidence in expressing themselves and in trusting their instincts – skills that help them combat negative influences in their lives.”
— Adair Margo, Former Chairman of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities