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Steam Exchange

The Steam Exchange wants to launch the 2015-16 school year of weekly Youth Vision Committee meetings! The Youth Vision Committee (YVC) is a group of 8-10 mostly middle school youth who live, worship or learn in the Smoketown neighborhood and choose to spend an hour and a half of their Friday nights becoming community art leaders. Members maintain their group budget, learn a variety of artistic processes, and lead community art projects. Youth are empowered to use art as a tool to develop leadership skills in their community.

Last school year, the Steam Exchange led 31 YVC meetings and YVC members led 3 community art events, teaching adults and peers how to screen print. For one of these events, YVC partnered with Bridge Kids International to host a screen-printing party at Zephyr Gallery. The YVC taught over 50 community members of all ages how to screen-print. YVC youth gained clear sense of pride and empowerment and 100 bags were printed for incoming youth refugees. YVC members became expert screen printers and tried their hands at bookbinding and pinhole cameras. 60-70% of participating youth do not have other access to visual art programming. Meyzeek Middle School has 2 art teachers for 1,100 students and the recent closing of the Presbyterian Community Center has left no other community art programs in the neighborhood.

Now that the YVC has been established for one year, many of the students have developed skill and confidence in several media. YVC youth have the tools needed to see their own idea to fruition. In the past, the Steam Exchange organized the events that the YVC youth participated in. However, during our November-January session, the YVC members will work together to create their own project that will positively impact the Smoketown community. This will provide the youth with a whole new level of leadership, empowerment, and ownership.

Funded by Louisville, KY (December 2015)