In collaboration with Safe & Sound, Inc., and Wisconsin Community Services - Project Excel, ArtWorks youth apprentices will work together under Lead Artist Katie Van Velzer to design and produce a one-of-a-kind indoor mural that will be installed at Project Excel. The mural theme will addresses the difficult choices teens currently face in Milwaukee communities, as well as the results that come out of these choices.
Over 65 high school students applied for this 8-week paid apprenticeship, and we are thrilled to be working with the following 8 youth:
- Devonte, New School for Community Service
- Ashley, Riverside University High School
- Adrian, ALAS High School
- Ricardo, Grandview High School
- Kendrella, Milwaukee School of Entrepreneurship
- Vanessa, South Division High School
- Quinton, Washington High School
- Tyrone, South Division High School
The Safe Place Mural Program began on March 1st. Apprentices will begin the program by learning about crime statistics unique to Project Excel's location and their age group. They will then use this information to inform their design ideas for the mural. These designs will be "pitched" to Project Excel and Safe & Sound leadership and a finalized design will result. Only then will the apprentices actually begin the mural production.
Since 2001, ArtWorks has been utilizing paid apprenticeships in the arts as its method for training high school students in highly transferable 21st Century employability skills. ArtWorks serves youth who already face significant barriers to employment, such as underperformance in school, disabilties, and a lack of resources or mentors.
If we want our young people to become productive contributors to our communities, then we need to help prepare them for the job! Current Apprentices set performance goals for themselves on March 1st, and their performance will be tracked and evaluated using real-world processes and methods. They will additionally receive one-on-one career coaching, thanks to ArtWorks' partnership with volunteers at Manpower, Inc. The whole point is to expose these high school students to the world of work, and put them on a path to employment success.
Stay tuned and watch this program progress! Each week, ArtWorks Apprentices will add information to this blog to reflect on their experience, to assess their adherance to the project plan, and to prepare for the work week ahead.