Seattle invests in 25 Youth Arts projects

The Mayor's Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs announces $201,000 in grants to 25 youth arts programs that will provide arts training outside of school hours for Seattle's middle and high school youth in 2008.

An annual funding program, Youth Arts provides up to $10,000 to programs in which experienced teaching artists lead youth training programs in all arts disciplines. The Youth Arts program supports a continuum of learning beyond the school day and the classroom, with priority placed on serving youth and communities with limited or no access to the arts.

"The arts are an important learning tool," said Mayor Greg Nickels. "Too often the value of participation in the arts is underestimated. These programs give young people a chance to shine, to express themselves and to develop positive goals for the future."

Youth Arts projects range from traditional arts to leading edge forms. 2008 funded programs will teach filmmaking, bookmaking, theater, spoken word, dance, scenic design and music composition. Applicants include a mix of arts and cultural organizations, community-based organizations and individual artists. Nearly half (48 percent) of the applicants were funded, most receiving the full amount requested. The average 2008 award is $8,300.

It's estimated 2008 Youth Arts projects will engage 168 teaching artists who will offer more than 15,000 hours of training to 4,357 youth in neighborhoods throughout the city, including Beacon Hill, West Seattle, the Central District, Capitol Hill, Rainier Valley, the University District Wallingford and Greenwood.

Awards include $5,820 to Seattle Scenic Studios for technical internships in scene and prop design; $7,869 to Seattle Center for Book Arts for sessions in bookmaking and bookbinding techniques culminating in library exhibitions citywide; $10,000 to Pacific Northwest Blues in the Schools for music/literary workshops incorporating the poetry of Langston Hughes and African American history and culture; and $10,000 to fund Gage Academy of Art's Teen Art Studio, a free, Friday-night drop-in program offering hundreds of youth mixed-media instruction in a safe, creative art studio environment culminating in an exhibition of the teens' work.

Youth Arts is part of the Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs "civic partnership" investments to ensure all Seattle residents access to a wide variety of arts and culture. The funding awards were recommended by a peer review panel and approved by the Seattle Arts Commission.

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