Youth Arts Programming
Crosstown Arts places a high priority on helping young people in Memphis (aged 10-18) develop their own voices through creative and expository writing and other free project-based art workshops in film, music, theater, culinary arts, and the visual arts.
While Crosstown Arts’ people, programming and resources are intricately interwoven into the curriculum of the newly formed Crosstown High School, partnerships have also been cultivated with other nearby middle and high schools, such as Northwest Prep, Central, Snowden, Soulsville Charter School, and Humes. Crosstown Arts has also partnered with the Shelby County Juvenile Detention Center, JIFF, and Memphis Athletic Ministries.
Through guided, conversation-style tours of exhibitions and hands-on art-making that includes direct interaction with resident artist and access to the diverse spaces and equipment of Crosstown Arts, the youth arts and education program uses its array of resources as a platform for cultivating student voice, creating a safe and open community, developing skills and the foundations of a creative practice, and discussing contemporary social issues.
These collaborations with professional artists and trained volunteers help our student participants see projects from inspiration to finished works and public recognition.
We believe young people write and create with enthusiasm and increasing confidence when they see the steps of a particular artistic process lead to a final product, so each of our workshops is specifically designed to result in a finished work showcased in the most professional format possible — then published, performed, screened, or exhibited before a receptive audience.
Since fall 2013, we have partnered with middle and high schools in the greater Crosstown area, where writers, artists, musicians, and theater professionals go to the schools to allow more young people access to our youth arts programming. These workshops also result in a finished work that is showcased.