Founded in 1937, the Community Art Center is a neighborhood institution committed to our mission: to cultivate an engaged community of youth whose powerful artistic voices transform their lives, their neighborhoods, and their worlds. The Art Center has established an excellent track record of providing creative, challenging learning opportunities to youth. We do this in the context of a family-like environment with intensive social and emotional supports including academic help, mental health and transportation services and up to three full meals a day.
Generations of families have passed through our classrooms, drawing, writing, and dancing, as well as learning photography, pottery, and video. Our dedicated staff and volunteers, some of whom grew up at the Art Center, serve our youth as a family network, knowing the hurdles they must master first hand. Now, our media and design computer labs enable us to evolve traditional art forms using 21st century technology.
Community Art Center achieves our mission through intensive, year-round activities for youth ages 5-19 and through youth-led Community Programming that engages local and national audiences in quality artistic experiences:
Youth ages 5-12 participate in the School Age Child Care Program (SACC), and become creative problem solvers through a hands-on arts curriculum.
Youth ages 13-19 enter the Teen Media Program (TMP), and become digital creators rather than consumers.
All youth ages 5-19 benefit from our Circle of Support - a set of comprehensive wrap-around services that help to ensure that youth in crisis have their basic needs met and are able to thrive.
Community members of all ages participate in the Art Center's year-round Community Programs, which include classes and workshops for families, public art, and arts events - the largest of which is our Do It Your Damn Self!! National Youth Film Festival, the oldest youth-curated film festival in the nation.
We have a strong record of retaining youth in our programs over several years, even over lifetimes, with many returning as staff, parents, or board members.