For a young creative, it’s hard to ignore the same depressing stereotype we all encounter over and over again: “the starving artist.”
Not only does this depressing portrayal stunt creative growth and crush dreams— turning brilliant kids into bored adults— but it’s also completely untrue. Creativity isn’t just relevant in the studio, it is a workplace necessity and the skill most valued by CEOs.
But way before Google installed a slide to show off their creative side, The Arts Commission has promoted the financial value of creativity with the Young Artists at Work (YAAW) program.
Since 1994, YAAW has offered Toledo-area youth six weeks of paid employment in the arts. Through collaboration and self-expression, YAAW student apprentices make public art while developing a strong work ethic, learning what it means to be a working artist and how to conceptualize art as a business.
22 years of YAAW
Over the summer, 45 YAAW student apprentices from 27 area high schools worked with talented local artists and educators throughout the summer, who helped guide the public art projects. What did they accomplish in only six weeks?
– One group, led by instructors Ken Dushane and Caroline Jardine, created a mural commissioned by the Toledo Lucas County Public Library.
– In a group led by instructor Luke Ellison and assistant instructor Nikka Geierman, conserved over 30 painted park benches. The same team also created an installation for the Reflections Community Gallery at the Toledo Zoo & Aquarium, on display through part of fall.
– Radiant City Arts, comprised of Akili Jackson, Ben Cohen, Yusuf Lateef and Bianca Marcia, worked with instructor Merce Culp and assistant Instructor Peter Koelsch to challenge the apprentices to create wearable sculptures to be used in a choreographed performance for a video based artwork.
For both students and instructors, the YAAW experience makes a huge impact— completely decimating the starving artist stereotype.
As one 2016 YAAW apprentice, Emily Mata, explains, “It [YAAW] helps kids— young artists— gain confidence in what they can do. It can solidify art's place in their futures. It inspires them to keep creating."
Current YAAW Instructor, Luke Ellison, says, “My involvement with the YAAW program has been, to date, the most inspirational and challenging endeavor of my professional career. The staff is phenomenal, bringing years of insight from a multitude of disciplines, and the young apprentices are just as diverse— ready to learn and show off their ever-growing artistic talent.”
Help support this important program and join the YAAW student apprentices on Wednesday, August 3 for the YAAW 2016 Creatives Premiere to celebrate their work, watch multimedia performances, and buy work directly from YAAW artists at their market.
Learn more about the Premier on the Facebook event page.
5-5:30pm Artist Market preview in the CVA Gallery
5:30-6:30pm Video and Program Presentation in the TMA Peristyle
Video presentation and performance, remarks by programs coordinator and YAAW coordinator, YAAW major projects presentation
6:30-7pm Artist Market open for purchases
Wednesday, August 3.
The Center for Visual Arts, 620 Art Museum Dr.,
YAAW apprentices practicing choreography at the TMA Peristyle theater.