Help build a San Francisco where young artists thrive

In just one year, so much has changed in the world around us. The arts are a critical vehicle for amplifying the voices of our youth as they navigate new challenges and hopes. We have seen incredible urgent responses to detrimental policies and fear that affect youth across the Bay Area. Our fashion designers made a collection focused on “clothing as activism”. Our filmmakers put their own stories on camera to address how their lives have been impacted by oppression. Our printmakers designed demonstration posters, replicating images that reflected their own experiences. Our multidisciplinary work with public high school students connects youth to tools for self-expression and fosters exploration of their perspectives in a rapidly changing city.

In just one year, we have grown programs in school to reach youth who may not be able to access the arts outside of the school day. Now in 3 schools, we are diving deeper into our work within SFUSD. Our after school program is focusing on public projects that help youth shape the city that they see around themselves: a mural project along the utility boxes on Ocean avenue, a parklet sparking community gathering on Folsom Street, and a fashion collection inspired by youth voice. Our internship program brought music to the streets and faces to film. We’ve been able to support our faculty of artists in their own practices, like our percussionist Alfie Macias bringing Ritmolandia, free drum and dance lessons, to the Mission.

In just one year, as an organization, we have focused on becoming more resilient, visible, and forward-thinking. Through developing this strategic map – a framework for our work in 2017-2020 – we are excited to expand engagement of our alumni and parents, strengthen our partnership with our faculty artists, and build the resources that we need for sustainability and viability. We are excited to recommit to serving low income youth and youth of color. We are excited to recommit to our mission to serve public high school students. We are excited to commit to our future together.

In just one year, we served 375 youth and 4000 audience members through high quality arts programming. It is foundational to our mission that our programs are free for these participants. To make sure that San Francisco public high school students have access to robust arts education, we invest nearly $2000 per student per year. To support this investment, your gifts sustain our programs and our future.

Help us end our fiscal year on a strong note by donating before December 31st! Please donate to our end of the year campaign online or by mail: Youth Art Exchange, 755 Ocean Ave, San Francisco CA 94112.

We’re excited to see what we can do in “just one year” from now with your support! If you’d like to learn more about our strategic map and where we’re headed in the next three years, please click here.


Together in art,

Reed Davaz McGowan
Executive Director

I am inspired in my own practice as I work with our young photographers. Focusing on black and white film with the students is also a way for us to spread the traditions of developing pictures and keep it alive. I want to be in the darkroom more and produce more images.”
Brisa Aceves: Guest Artist + Darkroom Assistant

YAX is a really valuable resource that allows youth to discover themselves through art. It is a way of not only escaping from the tense and stressful environment of a student’s daily life, but also being able to explore a new art form. It gives students a voice when they would otherwise stay silent and that is priceless.”– Lillian: Printmaking student  + Youth Advisory Board member

“Art education is important to me because not a lot of people know that they have art in them- like I didn’t know I could become a filmmaker until I started this year, and it’s been like a second home, I’ve been coming here since the beginning of February. I’ve learned a lot and I’ve seen a lot of people grow in their own ways: printmaking, photography, beats, architecture, and it’s crazy how you can see normal students your age create a piece you never thought they could make or you never thought you yourself could make- and I think it’s pretty cool to see that happen with people.”Michael: Filmmaking student

“Youth Art Exchange has been the site of my personal and professional development over the course of many years. Beginning as the Teaching Assistant for the Architecture class, I had my first experiences as a young leader here working to bring people together to design and build the first parklet. Energized and inspired by the program, in my own practice I have continued to work to build connections between the arts, placemaking and community building. I am excited to be a part of our mighty team of leaders working to advance YAX’s long term sustainability and embodiment of excellence and equity in the arts.”– Sofia Airaghi: Program Associate + Development Coordinator, YAX alumni

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