Youth Engagement as Artists

The Freechild Institute Youth Involvement Toolkit

Creating any kind of art, making any kind of art, or demonstrating any kind of art can allow youth as artists to change the world. Youth artists can entertain people, share social messages, create momentum and build support for changing the world, and otherwise transform their lives and the lives of others in countless ways.

Ways Youth Engagement as Artists Happens

Graffiti Art — Youth who create graffiti art can contribute to the social life of their communities and world. Their art can happen in small or large spaces, public or private places and in many forms, including spray painting and otherwise. The messages they share can be political, cultural, educational and otherwise.

Slam Poetry — Slam poetry pits young people in competition with others in a celebration of art, expression and community involvement. When they share social messages, political purposes and youth voice, youth slam poets can provide communities with powerful messages, authentic feedback and meaningful contributions.

Youth as Actors — Before becoming engaged on stage, youth actors may have to go through rigorous training and education to become actors. Finding their voices through theater can allow youth to express themselves in ways they’ve never known.

Needs for Youth Engagement as Artists

Education — Art cannot be trained. Instead, all forms of art can require intensive study, deep and critical feedback, and thoughtful reflection on one’s craft. Youth who learn to learn about the Arts can benefit their own skills and build the culture of their communities through education.

Apprenticeships — While traditional in many of the Arts, apprenticeships can take a new form when conducted as equitable youth/adult partnerships. Suddenly, youth can gain powerful new perspectives while informing adults about the value, position and meaning of their art.

Self-Publishing — Platforms that allow youth to create art on their own terms for their own ends can be empowering on many levels. Working with adults as partners can enrich this too, by providing everyone involved with substantive reflection and guidance on their arts.

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Other tools are out there, too – share your thoughts in the comments below! For more information about how Freechild Institute can support youth + social change in the Arts in your community or organization, contact us.

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