Since I have been working in public schools serving specifically low-income communities, I have noticed these schools target STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) based education with an eye towards college and trade school, and a very low focus on the arts or creative education. I will occasionally come across youth with a genuine talent and interest in art, but have no way to substantially encourage them to pursue a career in art or to show them ways to do so. With an Awesome Grant, I would use it as seed money to start a program for youth in low-income, under-served communities who are interested in art to come together and create murals in their community. It would be a group of four to eight teens that would submit portfolios and be accepted on a competitive basis. My goal is to give them a sense of what it is to be a real working artist, and the challenges and rewards of creating art in a group for their community. They will learn composition, execution of design, and come out of the program with experience working with the community and completing public art projects that can be put toward a portfolio for college or more professional work. It will also hopefully create a sense of engagement in their community and be a beautiful addition to a part of the Austin community. I would eventually like to create a situation where we can develop a portfolio as a group and pursue paid commissions that would allow for creating a small stipend for each participating youth artist.
Funded by Austin (September, 2012)