A message from Andy Levin
Of all of CAW’s programs, Public Art Youth Employment remains most dear to my heart. I believe CAW’s job programs teach young people critical skills that will serve them well in school, careers, and their personal relationships. Please join me this holiday season by supporting summer and after-school jobs that make a lasting difference in the lives of teens and young adults in our city.
Aside from mastering the technical aspects of painting or using professional cameras and video editing software, our Youth Apprentices must learn lessons that are unique to the creative process. They must learn to collaborate with their Teaching Artists, their clients, and each other. At the same time, they must learn to trust their own opinions and advocate for their ideas in a respectful and positive manner. We go from blank pieces of paper to finished murals and videos in just weeks, and the tight deadlines and high expectations of the job require our young people to think critically and creatively to solve complex problems for which there is no single “right” or “wrong” solution.
These are not just my personal observations. The World Economic Forum, and the Bloomberg Job Skills Report both rank collaboration, communication, critical thinking and complex problem-solving at the top of their lists of skills people need to succeed in a globally competitive world.
Creativity is key to success in the 21st century
CAW’s Public Art Youth Employment programs develop these creative skills, which, according to the US Department of Education, young people will need to thrive in the future.
In recent years, we have run successful summer and after-school employment programs in public high schools, colleges, community gardens, juvenile detention centers, and corporate offices. In 2017 alone, our Youth Apprentices have painted murals and large canvasses that have transformed New York City Family Court, the offices of RBC Capital at Brookfield Place, the café of the new Whole Foods Market Harlem, in PAL’s Harlem and New Bronx South Centers, the Louis D. Brandeis High School Campus on the Upper West Side, the VA Hospital System’s St. Albans Community Living Center in Queens, and the lobby of 72andSunny’s new offices in DUMBO. Our young artists also produced six short documentary videos and a digital and print marketing campaign.
As the number of summer and after-school jobs for young people has plummeted, our youth employment programs become even more vital. When I was a kid, 70% of young people had summer jobs – an important platform for professional development; today, according to the US Department of Labor, only 40% of kids have such work. In NYC, the numbers are much worse, particularly in the under-resourced communities we serve.
As our efforts in this area expand, so do our costs. While always free to the kids we serve, CAW’s high-quality programs are expensive. We hire professional teaching artists and we invest in their continued career development. Then there is insurance, overhead, and salaries for our dedicated staff - it all adds up. Yet this is money well spent, because it is not only an investment in our young people, but an investment the future.
This year alone, we provided nearly 200 apprenticeship opportunities to teens and young adults through our employment programs. I feel confident in saying that every one of our Youth Apprentices grew personally and professionally during their time with us, and every one of them is better equipped to succeed in school, in the workplace, in their communities, and amongst their families and friends.
Please join me in supporting transformative job experiences for our young people by including Creative Art Works in your year-end giving. Every donation matters and is much appreciated!
Andrew Levin, President & Chairman
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