Louisville Metro Office of Youth Development
The goal of Studio2000 is to provide meaningful employment and training through the arts to high school aged youth who demonstrate an interest and skill in the visual arts. The program provides youth with an opportunity to work with local established artists, gain practical skills, and earn income. Youth are further exposed to the Louisville art community by taking field trips to galleries and museums. In addition, youth are provided with information about education and careers in the arts throughout the program. Studio2000 began in 2000 and was modeled after Gallery 37 in Chicago. The program has grown steadily over the years from a summer program with one sale to a year round program with three sessions, annual sales of over $10,000, public commissions for the program and private commissions for individual apprentices. Throughout the past five years, increasing numbers of refugee and immigrant youth have been involved in the Studio2000 program. In 2002, a few immigrant youth participated in the program and the coordinator was pleased with their insight and eagerness to learn. By the next year, staff at agencies serving refugees and immigrants became aware of the program and the word spread. Collaborative relationships have since developed between Studio2000 and Catholic Charities, Kentucky Refugee Ministries, Americana, and Arcadia Community Center. These relationships have been instrumental in coordinating the involvement of refugee and immigrant youth. In the summer of 2006, the program had eight refugee or immigrant youth from Sierra Leone, Bosnia, Burundi, Congo, Somalia, Turkey, Cuba, and Mali. See below to read about the experience of a program participant from the Congo.
High school aged youth complete an application process, which is highly competitive. The youth must provide a portfolio; however, students are not penalized for a lack of art experience if, for example, they are low-income, an immigrant, or have not attended a school with an art program. If a student can demonstrate some latent talent, allowances are made in regards to limited experience. Youth accepted to the program become Louisville Metro employees and are paid minimum wage and above. Studio2000 operates year round including spring, summer, and fall sessions. The summer program employs 50 apprentices every day of the week for seven weeks. The youth take classes in one of three disciplines: paint/mix media, clay, or fiber. The student to teacher ratio is approximately 8:1. At a typical day in the program, the youth arrive by 9 a.m., sign in, get their instructions, and work in the studio until about 11:30 a.m. The youth are then provided with free lunches. After lunch, the youth continue to work on their projects, learn from guest artists, or take field trips. They leave by 2:30 p.m. The spring/fall program is similar, but less intensive. Art workshops are offered to youth on Saturdays for seven weeks in the fall as well as the spring. Though not as large as the summer program, these programs accommodate approximately 25 students on average. The program coordinator is adamant about not competing with the children’s school work; thus, if there is ever a conflict, such as a college entrance exam on the weekend, the students always complete their school-related activities first. At the end of the three sessions, the youth’s artwork is sold to the public at special exhibits. At the end of the summer program, for example, approximately 500 art objects are displayed and up for sale. Several hundred people come to the exhibit and it is not uncommon for the total sales to be around $10,000. The proceeds are returned to Studio2000 to support future programming. On April 3, 2007, Marie* spoke with BRYCS staff about her experience with the Studio2000 program. Marie is a 15 year old sophomore, who participated in Studio2000 in the summer of 2006. She is Congolese, but grew up in Rwanda. She came to the United States four years ago with her mom, dad, brother, and sister. She heard about Studio2000 from a case manager who was helping her parents find jobs. Marie completed the "fiber" track, which taught her how to die cloth and how to sew. Before coming to America, Marie did not know how to sew. She has since taught her mom and sister what she has learned and now they often sew together. Marie said that she would recommend this program to a friend because it is fun, you can earn money, and it keeps you from being bored in the summer. When asked about the other kids in the program and if she felt welcome, Marie said, "The other kids were nice - all of them were. Because we were sewing and talking and having fun together. This program helped me to make friends with kids born in America and kids born in other countries." In addition, Marie said that the program gave her an opportunity to practice her English. When Marie graduates from high school, she would like to go to college and become a doctor.
* Names have been changed to protect participants’ privacy.
Art Supplies: The Louisville Office of Youth Development, which coordinates the program and provides all of the art supplies needed.
Building: The program has two working studios in the downtown area. One studio is behind the Center for the Arts and the other is at the program coordinator’s office. Both are downtown, right next to the river, and are in a great location for sketching and visiting nearby galleries.
Transportation: Since the studios are downtown, they are extremely accessible via public transportation. The majority of the youth take public transportation to and from the program.
Studio2000 is open to youth from all public, parochial, and private schools within Jefferson County, Kentucky. Since the program began seven years ago, approximately 2% of the participants have been foreign-born. In the past three years, approximately 10% of the program participants have been foreign-born and this number continues to increase. In the current spring session, 19% of the participants are foreign-born. According to Bob Markert, the recently retired coordinator of Studio2000, "Our young immigrant children have made a wonderful addition to our program. They have brought an enriching diversity not just because of language but also because, in the field of art alone, they bring a culture which thinks in color, textures, and patterns that are different from the American born kids. They have a different world view and it is an important new element to throw into our artful mixing pot."
The Louisville Metro Government fully funds Studio2000. It is managed by the Louisville Metro Office of Youth Development. Additional funds are earned through year round sales of apprentice's artwork.
There is one full-time coordinator, one part-time assistant, and 12-15 artists/teachers used in any given year.
Studio2000, as a program of Louisville’s Metro Office of Youth Development, is collecting data on its program participants with the help of the Jefferson County Public School District and its KidTrax database. Local government has funded many youth organizations to utilize KidTrax as a method of sharing information with the Jefferson County Public School District to assist these agencies in measuring outcomes of their programs. Through this collaborative effort, out-of-school time programs can measure their impact on children’s school attendance, suspensions, reading and math grades, and more. In addition to using KidTrax, Studio2000 gives its participants’ parents a questionnaire at the end of each session to receive input on the impact of the program on their children’s lives. Many of the questions pertain to the students’ grades, attendance, and attitude.
The Louisville Metro Office of Youth Development has only been using Kidtrax for about two years; thus, it is too soon to document outcomes through that system. Yet, the coordinator of the program shared these outcomes:
Of the approximate 700 youth who have participated in the Studio2000 program:
For more information on KidTrax in Kentucky:
Cooperation and Accountability: Spotlight on the Jefferson County Afterschool System Evaluating the Effectiveness of 21st Century Community Learning Centers by Using Impact Measurement and Tracking Software
Program Additional Comments: Mr. Bob Markert was the coordinator of Studio2000 for five years and has been an ordained Permanent Deacon for 30 years. He was instrumental in developing Studio2000 into a full-time program and building it up to what it is today. He is well known throughout the art, religious, and youth services communities in Louisville. He has inspired and formed relationships with hundreds of youth throughout the years and is known by many of them as “grandpa.” Though Mr. Bob Markert has recently retired as coordinator of Studio2000, he is still actively participating in the program and keeping in touch with former program participants. To speak with Bob Markert, please contact Gwen Murphy.
Studio2000 began in 2000 and is still operating as of May 2007.