• Youth Art Exchange Youth Art Exchange


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Mission Statement

Youth Art Exchange, formerly Out of Site Youth Art Center, sparks a shared creative practice between professional artists and public high school youth, furthering youth as leaders, thinkers and artists in San Francisco.


Through programs in photography, printmaking, architecture, music, dance, theater and digital media/filmmaking, as well as several youth leadership programs including its youth advisory board, teaching assistantships and alumni interns, Youth Art Exchange builds youth understanding of both the arts and arts administration and truly is "where art inspires action."

Youth Art Exchange combines best practices in youth development and arts education. Its faculty members are all professional artists, and are experienced and passionate teachers who bring their connections in San Francisco’s creative sector to the classroom. The connection of artist-to-emerging artists is at the core of the Youth Art Exchange experience, creating access points to the arts world and exploring how the process of working in this type of relationship strengthens the artists and the emerging artists, while they engage in the world around them. Through participation in Youth Art Exchange programs, youth develop as individual artists, artistic community members and leaders and are also able to earn San Francisco Unified School District credits toward graduation.

Current programs:

School Year Sessions

Youth Art Exchange offers two sessions during the Fall and Spring of each school year, generally following the San Francisco Unified School District high school calendar and spanning 12-13 weeks. During each session, Youth Art Exchange offers 6-7 visual and performing arts classes in photography, printmaking, architecture & public art, music, dance, theater and digital media/filmmaking, as well as classes recommended by youth program participants. Each class meets 2-3 days per week for 2.5 hours for the duration of the session. 80-90 youth participate during each session. During the 12-13 week sessions, youth learn technical skills in the arts and the application of those skills in the real world through project-based learning that culminates in a final exhibition of youth individual and group portfolios and projects. The final exhibition encompasses all of the classes; however each class plans its own showcase. Final exhibitions have included Pop-Up art galleries at partner organizations, installations demonstrating the arts process to an audience, and mobile sales of youth art work.

Summer Internship Program

The Summer Internship Program is an intensive internship with a stipend for 50-60 youth for 3-4 weeks each summer. Internship participants are selected from a competitive pool of applicants who select to work in one of the visual and performing arts areas offered. Following the model of OoS school year programming, youth learn technical skills in the arts, work on a "design team", and develop a project collaboratively for a real-world application. At the end of the program, youth have a portfolio demonstrating their work on the project and their newly found and/or honed skills. There is a final exhibition for this program too.

Youth Arts Summit

Since 2011, Youth Art Exchange has hosted an annual Youth Arts Summit. This event is free and open to the public, bringing together young artists from San Francisco organizations to exhibit and perform their work as well as engage the public. The event happens during the first weekend of December and is a way for both the adults and the youth of all the collaborating youth arts organizations to network and build community. The following are examples of participating organizations: Youth Art Exchange, YBCA’s Young Artists at Work, the C.I.T.Y. Teen Program at the Children’s Creativity Museum, Marsh Youth Theater, Dance Mission’s Grrrl Brigade, Root Division, WritersCorps, Oasis for Girls, Chrysalis Studio, June Jordan HS, BAYCAT, SF Mime Troupe, TILT, DJ Project, Balboa HS CAST Program, Project Level, First Exposures, Columbia Park Boys & Girls Club, the San Francisco Public Library, SCREAM, SF Jazz and more.

Special Events

Youth Art Exchange partners with community members and groups, such as the Excelsior Action Group and the Excelsior Committee to produce youth-led activities including art walks both in the Excelsior neighborhood on Mission Street and in the Outer Mission neighborhood on Ocean Avenue.

Youth Leadership Activities

Youth Art Exchange engages advanced program participants and alumni in leadership activities including paid school year internships and the Youth Advisory Board. Through these activities, youth participate in the "back end" of the day-to-day, develop youth-driven initiatives, hire artists as faculty, and provide valuable insight for long-term organizational planning.

Artist Development

Youth Art Exchange supports the development of its artists by facilitating artists’ professional development at conferences, trainings and partner organizations through raising funds for tuition/admission. Additionally, Youth Art Exchangeprovides $20-30/hour with accruing vacation, sick time and personal leave, for its artists so that they can continue to be active in their practices. Although the positions for artists are part-time, this income does provide a solid base.

Youth Art Exchange is a project of The Tides Center.



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