Summer arts for youth – Las Artes Youth Arts Program

This spring we are profiling youth serving arts organizations that offer programs for kids and teens this summer.

I recently visited Las Artes Youth Arts Program, opens a new window and spoke with unit coordinator John Bedoy and one of the current students, Yuriksa P. Las Artes, Arts & Education Center is located at 23 W. 27th St in South Tucson. They are an education and meal program designed to address poverty and unemployment among youth ages 17-22. Youth divide their time between classroom activities, building their academic and job skills, and art classes. Their mural project beautifies Tucson with original murals, including an upcoming mural at Manzanita Park on Irvington and Cardinal.

Youth test into the GED program and can get their GED in about two to four months. The Department of Labor provides funding for Las Artes to build students’ job skills, including resume writing, interview preparation, and the soft skills necessary for success like showing up on time and presenting themselves professionally. Youth get paid a stipend of anywhere between $50 and $100 a week for their participation. Las Artes is part of Pima County’s Community and Workforce Development Department and as a part of the program, youth get connected with case workers to help address their needs.

Student Yuriksa P has been with program since 2020 and recently finished three panels for the upcoming mural at Manzanita Park. During her time at Las Artes, she has worked with pastels, acrylic paint, and watercolor, and has created art including the votive piece pictured here. She finds the teachers and fellow students to be very supportive and has made new friends. She said she struggled with anxiety in the past but since being with the program has felt better, getting out into the community more. Las Artes “teaches you how it’s going to be in the real world and that you are going to be ok,” she said, “It’s like you have a bigger family.”

Learn more about Las Artes Youth Arts Program, including how to get involved, on their website, opens a new window.  

Find out what the library is planning, opens a new window for tweens and teens this summer.