Youth Art Exchange sparks a shared creative practice between professional artists and public high school students, furthering youth as leaders, thinkers, and artists in San Francisco. To accomplish this, Youth Art Exchange offers citywide arts, high quality education programming, field trips, events, and more including:
- Fall Session Free High School Arts Programs
- Fall Session In-School Programs
- Spring Session Free High School Arts Programs with Spring Art Pop Up
- Spring Session In-School Programs
- Stipended Spring Internship Program
- Stipended Summer Arts Internship Program
- Stipended Youth leadership positions: Youth Advisory Board, Teaching Assistant Positions, Alumni Internship
- San Francisco Youth Arts Summit
Students at Youth Art Exchange represent the diversity of San Francisco. Some come to Youth Art Exchange because of a self-identified love of the arts, or they say they absolutely must get into the Black & White Photography class. Others are looking for something, anything, to do after school. Others are coerced by their friends to come and try something totally new, or are lured by the free snacks. Some are squeezing Youth Art Exchange in with five other clubs, sports or jobs; while others are at Youth Art Exchange anytime they’re not at school and our door is open. They take classes at Youth Art Exchange because their school doesn’t offer arts classes, or not the ones in which they’re interested. They take classes with us because they can get high school elective credit through SFUSD for them and feel like they’re really working- but also having fun, too. They take classes with us because “free” is within their budget.
The majority of students who come to Youth Art Exchange end up staying on for multiple sessions. They stay with us because they make friends from outside of their school and neighborhood, because they explore relevant themes that they come up with themselves, and because they get to know their city better. Finally, they stay because they and the faculty artists leading their classes become each other’s biggest fans.
Our youth are diverse, and what they share in common is motivation, curiosity, and a willingness to put themselves out there and try something new. They help create what Youth Art Exchange is, and it is a place that is safe to do all of those things – to be weird, to be serious, to be unsure but try it anyway. It’s a place where they can learn how to best articulate their ideas and have the space to share them.