“If our children are unable to voice what they mean, no one will know how they feel. If they can't imagine a different world, they are stumbling through a darkness made all the more sinister by its lack of reference points. For a young person growing up in America's alienated neighborhoods, there can be no greater empowerment than to dare to speak from the heart-and then to discover that one is not alone in one's feelings.” – Rita Dove, former U.S. Poet Laureate
Our young people face a creative crisis. In Richmond, it seems like every place we turn, creativity is at the heart of growth. We have a world-class art museum, a soon-to-be Institute for Contemporary Art, theatre, ballet, opera, and thousands of creative students and professionals that span the scope of what “creative” means. Our city is truly living the model of the creative economy, but that same energy isn’t trickling down to our young people.
For many of our city’s emerging citizens, the young people (who make up 18% of the population, according to the 2010 census) are not getting the creative outlet they need to develop those skills that are so vital to the 21st century: a sense of self-worth, teamwork, conflict resolution, creative thinking, and hope for their future. This is true in our public school system and even truer for our vulnerable young people who deal with abuse, violence, and poverty, are transient, identify as LGBTQ or live with physical or intellectual disabilities.
At ART 180, we create and provide art-related programs for young people living in challenging circumstances, encouraging personal and community change through self-expression. Our community lives and works in Richmond, Virginia.
We believe that our work with young people will turn lives and communities around 180 degrees.
Our Operating Model
ART 180 partners with other nonprofit organizations to serve youth, ages 8 to 18, living in challenging circumstances in Richmond, Virginia. We also operate an art center for teens, called Atlas, in the Arts & Cultural District.
In addition to the programs at Atlas, ART 180 staff and our Teen Leadership Council operate and manage a community gallery that showcases a rotating set of exhibitions targeting or featuring work by youth.
Click here to see our current community program offerings
Click here to see our current teen program offerings
Click here to learn about our juvenile justice program with Legal Aid Justice Center