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2020 Youth Arts Grantees

Our Youth Arts grant is a 2-year grant that supports equitable access to arts and cultural learning opportunities for Seattle’s middle and high school-aged youth. Programs occur outside of school hours and are led by experienced artists and teaching artists working in communities across Seattle to increase arts and cultural opportunities for young people from diverse racial and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Data shows that the greatest disparities between young people who have access to arts education and those who don’t are based on race, socioeconomics, home language, and disabilities. As with all the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture’s Creative Youth Programs, the Youth Arts grant prioritizes programs serving young people within the above demographic groups.

Recipients receive a total of $12,000 distributed over two years. In 2020, Youth Arts awarded $144,000 to 24 artists, art/cultural organizations, youth service agencies, and higher education institutions serving youth.

Youth Arts 2020 Funding Awardees

206 Zulu

Beats to the Rhyme is a 12 week, after school program that offers young artists (of color) education with the music industry, songwriting and a comprehensive insight in related fields while providing access to music production and technology, of whom may otherwise not have access to such facilities and resources. Youth collaborate to record an original album, film and release a music video and present their completed works at a live concert.

Extraordinary Futures

The Extraordinary Futures After School Sessions will take place weekly at the Massive Monkees Studio: The Beacon in Seattle’s Chinatown/International District (CID). The sessions will be led by master instructors and mentors from the Massive Monkees dance crew where participants gain dance, life and leadership skills through Hip-hop and arts-based programs. At the end of the school year the students will perform and compete at the annual school verses school Massive Break Challenge Championship.

Gage Academy of Art

Teen Art Studios (TAS) provides a free year-round program increasing access to arts education for youth ages 11-18 through weekly drop-in sessions: each with a hot meal and all materials provided. This program specifically focuses on the first bi-lingual TAS program in South Park, which serves 150 predominately Latinx and Spanish-speaking youth.

Jack Straw Foundation

The Blind Youth Audio Project will allow for blind and visually impaired youth to work with a team of theater artists, musicians, sound artists, radio producers, installation artists, and audio engineers in Jack Straw’s professional recording studios. New and returning students will learn to create radio theater, sound effects, and soundscapes; conduct interviews, tell stories with sound, and create music. Students will share their work through an event, podcast, or online.

Joyas Mestizas

Regional Dances of Nayarit and Baja California are two new regions that Joyas Mestizas will add to our performance repertoire. These new dances will showcase different elements of Mexican culture and provide a challenging and exciting opportunity for young performers to enhance their existing understanding of folklorico dance and Mexico.

Lauren Holloway

Rainier Valley Art of Resistance & Resilience is a student-led art activism club based out of Franklin High School. The club partners with local social and environmental justice activists and organizations to gain an in-depth understanding of chosen social and environmental justice issues that impact their communities. This exchange helps prepare them for the creation of large collaborative public artworks based on themes investigated. Art projects include murals, screen printing, banners, signs, buttons, and other projects that students choose.

Totem Star

The Studio allows youth to book after-school studio sessions on a weekly basis, where they work with teaching artists for one-on-one vocal and/or instrument lessons, participate in jam sessions, program digital beats, recieve assistance with songwriting, compose and record original songs, and more. Young artists learn 21st century life skills and take creative risks in a safe and encouraging environment, building a positive and supportive community.

Urban ArtWorks

The Urban ArtWorks’ Mural Apprentice Program (MAP) provides arts-based employment opportunities for young people with barriers to employment and education. Teens work together with professional teaching artists to learn fundamental art skills, research, design, and install murals throughout King County and beyond. MAP encourages participants to set goals, take positive risks, and assists youth in navigating the choices and behaviors that best help them accomplish those goals.

Young Shakespeare Workshop

The Young Shakespeare Workshop Summer Session is a free program for youth, ages 11-19, which strives to equip students with language and expressive skills through the study and performance of the works of William Shakespeare. Students begin work with sonnets, progressing to speeches and scenes during their first year and production of full length plays as returning students. They study text, voice and fencing. Returning students rehearse a fully costumed touring production of a full length play.

Youth Arts 2019-2020 Second Year of Funding Awardees

BAYFEST Youth Theatre, BAYFEST Education

“One World, One Story” will guide young people to write their own stories in monologues and poems, to be staged alongside traditional tales of “growing up” from world cultures. Many participants have experienced violence, trauma, racism and poverty in their lives — and self-empowerment, growth in Life- and communications skills, empathy and self-confidence is the main focus of work with them. Work will be featured in school and public performances, a gallery show, and online presentations.

Che Sehyun

ICEE provides youth of color the opportunity to write, produce, and record their own hip-hop song re-mix, and direct, shoot and edit a corresponding music video in their own community. Students will learn about the history of hip-hop, interact with local guest teaching artists, and write and record their own lyrics that reflect their life, their culture and their community. The program will culminate in a youth-produced mix-tape and visual album that will screen at the NW Film Forum.

Coyote Central

Coyote Central will provide courses in a range of dance styles at both Coyote’s main campus in the Central District and at Coyote’s new studio space in Lake City. Each course will culminate in a showcase. A cohort of Coyote’s young dancers will also apprentice with the professional dance group AU Collective, rehearsing at Coyote Central and performing around the city.

El Centro de la Raza

El Centro de la Raza will immerse Latino youth in multi-media arts workshops exploring the traditions and art of Dia de los Muertos. Students will learn about various artistic and cultural traditions surrounding the event through several mediums along with written word to create elements of a traditional ofrenda (altar) during after-school sessions. Students will showcase their artwork at the Dia de los Muertos celebration and three week ofrenda exhibit.

Eritrean Association in Greater Seattle

Eritrean youth will participate in weekly lessons year-round focused on Eritrean dance, culture, and language. Participants will learn and rehearse traditional Eritrean dances, practice the Tigrigna language, study various aspects of Eritrean culture, and perform at variety of community events.

Olisa Johnson

Olisa Johnson and young women will gather for an intensive journey into performance. They will collaborate on an original performance piece that will culminate in a public performance. The performance piece will include, music, dance and story. The piece will explore the theme “Being a Gxrl”. Students will look at what it means to be a gxrl/woman. They will let the world know “Out Loud”.

Sawhorse Revolution

Sawhorse Revolution’s All-Womxn’s Design and Build Program engages all-female teens to design and then build ambitious community projects across Seattle – facilitated by all-female architects, builders, and volunteers. Young womxn are engaged in an experiential “classroom” where they learn all aspects of working on a real construction project while fostering creativity, imagination, and mental flexibility.

School of Acrobatics & New Circus Arts

SANCA’s Circus RODA Program blends arts-based learning with work-readiness training by drawing upon principles of Social Circus and the social justice movement. Emphasizing 21st century skills including creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration, circus skills are used as a transformational metaphor for personal and social development.

Seattle Mongolian Youth Center

Mongolian Youth Center provides Mongolian youth in Seattle with art education through various arts and cultural programs that preserve our traditional nomadic culture. Young people will learn language, history, art and culture, and dance classes within the community.

Seattle Music Partners

The Middle School Music Project (MSNP) provides under-served youth in Seattle’s Central District with music education centered in quality instruction, youth development, and social justice. Musical instruments, supplies, and one-on-one and group instruction are provided free and in an accessible community location.


Crash Mobile is an immersive filmmaking program in collaboration with LANGSTON to expand access for Black youth to media-based storytelling. Taught by Black filmmaking educators, students create a film each session in 5-student production groups around culturally relevant historical and social justice themes. Their work is then shown at the end of each workshop and previous student films have been presented at the Langston Hughes African American Film Festival, Folklife, and SIFF.

Sondra Cunningham

Haida Roots is a culture preservation project that will connect urban Seattle Haida youth to their critically endangered language through dance, writing, and art. Sondra Segundo, will organize and teach Haida youth classes and continue to educate Seattle youth (in schools, libraries, youth programs) about NW Coast Indigenous culture through art lessons and storytelling/song sharing.

Sumayya E. Diop

I am….We are! A sojourn & celebration of Gurlz & sisterhood stories, throughout the African Diaspora studying and performing dance, drum, spoken word, poetry, fashion, hip-hop and song!

Wing Luke Memorial Foundation

YouthCAN is The Wing’s free, out-of-school arts, heritage, and leadership program for Asian Pacific American high school students. Through mentorship by local artists of similar backgrounds to students, students build arts and leadership skills, develop community connections and portfolios, and take on leadership roles through exhibition development and internships. Original artworks produced by teens are displayed in The Wing’s Youth Gallery three times a year and other community venues.

Young Strings Project Outreach/Orchestra NW

Young Strings Project Outreach professional classical musicians/teaching artists, will provide orchestral and instrumental (viola, violin, cello) instruction to Latinx immigrant and refugee middle and high school youth, including basic technique, music theory, and ensemble skills that emphasize individual instrumental achievement mainly as support for the ensemble as a whole.