When youth join an ElevArte program, they gain access to a creative safe space where they can experiment and shine through the arts. They find their voice. They also find a family of backers: community members and mentors who will guide them in their creative practice and encourage them to seek avenues towards a career.
This is true for youth like Jessica Rodriguez. Jessica first joined an ElevArte program during her sophomore year of high school. When she first joined ElevArte, she was looking for a safe space to explore her artistic talents.
Jessica was in the Sew Stitchy program where she learned about crafting and its importance when her instructor and peers noticed her skills in graffiti and street art.
She later joined the We Are Hip Hop program where she was able to flourish not only as an artist, but also as a leader. Through her participation, Jessica has stepped out of her comfort zone and is discovering the importance of being a woman in the arts, an avenue hard for women to stand out in.
So much so that she was recognized by The Mash’s 18 Under 18 this past spring. Asia Mitchell, director of undergraduate admissions at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago said “Jessica accomplished something that scares many artists much older than her—she created a piece of artwork in front of an audience.”
Jessica is now a senior and will be graduating in the spring of 2016. She has found her voice at ElevArte, will continue in the arts, and we know she will help many young artists find their voice.
At ElevArte we have many stories like Jessica’s that guide us in our at-promise approach — where youth are valued for what they bring to the table. It is based on this positive approach that we see our youth want to take on the world, stay in school, value adult allies and give back to their communities.
Will you give back to ElevArte?
A donation to ElevArte directly supports young artists, high-quality free arts programs, and resources in our community. All donations are appreciated and ensure a robust future for at-promise youth.