Art Start nurtures the voices, hearts and minds of New York City's underserved youth through consistent creative workshops inside homeless shelters, alternatives to incarceration programs and partnering youth agencies. Their "Emerging Artist Program" supports NYC emerging artists between the ages of 13 - 21 who have exhibited exceptional artistic talent, but lack the resources and support to turn that talent into opportunities for their future. Funds raised will go towards youth Metrocards, stipends, coursework as well as supplies and equipment necessary for the young artists to succeed.
We had the pleasure of taking our mission to the heart of the city by getting directly involved with the Emerging Artist Program at Art Start. As an artist collective first and foremost, it is important to us to get involved in programs like Art Start that promote these young artists in the city, which is truly the base idea behind the Collective.
Here’s how it went: Gregory and I, with the help of David Rampersad (also part of the Collective), led a workshop on screen printing and social media for the great kids involved in the program. Gregory, our master screen printer, brought the kids their own individual screens to print their own unique designs onto paper and teach them the process behind printing onto fabric. The kids would later take the screens home with them so that they could continue to experiment with the technique and, of course, make their own swag, which they were very excited about. Apparently, everyone has a brand these days.
Simultaneously we executed a live social media campaign through our own story (you should be bummed if you missed it). We also posted photo and video highlights from the workshop. This was a good exercise to teach the kids in an interactive way how to engage followers on social media and continue to create their own brand. We also used the platform to promote their own accounts and further solidify the artist community feel we were trying to bring to the workshop.
I'd be lying if I didn't tell you that the entire thing ended in a freestyle rap battle. Turns out the kids have a lot of talents that we were excited to get even just previews of. Art Start does an amazing thing for these kids and this is definitely something we will be doing more of in the very near future. Definitely check out their website for more details on their great work.