Creating the Pipeline for Cincinnati’s Next Creative Class

In 2019, ArtWorks employed 134 Youth Apprentices, ages 14-21, at a livable wage to create transformational art for our community to enjoy. This is a game changer for these young people, as 59 percent were from low-income households.

We’re proud to report a 98 percent satisfaction rate among our Youth Apprentices this year.

For many, an ArtWorks Youth Apprenticeship is their first job—the first time they complete a job interview, have to manage finances and keep a work schedule.

There is so much that goes into a successful career, and how we get our Youth Apprentices ready for that next job is at the heart of what we do.

Developing the Workforce for Tomorrow

Each year, we measure our Youth Apprentices in the career readiness capabilities of communications, critical thinking & problem solving, social capital, collaboration, goal orientation and creativity & innovation.

After going through our program, our Apprentices excelled in the area of creativity and innovation, which is defined as a young person’s ability to generate, elaborate, refine, analyze, and evaluate their own ideas in order to improve and maximize their creative efforts. This year, 90% of our Apprentices made gains in this area because of the creative nature of our program.

Our Youth Apprentices were so creative in 2019 while working on 17 projects! These youth painted massive murals, created puppets and designed costumes. They honed their graphic design and writing skills and participated in orchestra conducting and sculpture work and installations. They learned sewing and fabrication and led creative engagement activities. They transformed 5 neighborhoods with art, and led nearly 100 community engagement sessions and events with an estimated combined attendance of 405,000.

“I definitely learned more about myself,” wrote one Youth Apprentice. “How to be positive and how to solve problems. Working on this project helped me to be more confident about my art. I learned that there is more than one way to solve a problem and that I have a voice. With this experience, now I can reach for help if a challenge is difficult and try another way to solve it.”

At the start of the season, we found our Apprentices were most in need of support in communication, which is defined as a young person’s ability to articulate thoughts and ideas using oral, written, and nonverbal techniques for a range of purposes. Through our curriculum of spokesperson training, apprentice presentations and more, 79% of Summer Apprentices made gains in this area.

“The time I spent as a project spokesperson felt very natural for me,” said another Youth Apprentice. “Public speaking is something that I will continue to work on in my life and improve upon for future success.”

The bonds that Youth Apprentices make among themselves and their Teaching Artists are priceless. Building a youth’s social capital, or those positive bonds with other people and institutions, is so important to a young person’s long-term success. We believe Youth Apprentices need to build these bonds right here at home, so Cincinnati’s creative class continues to grow.

“I am confident now that I can achieve anything that I can put my to because of all the knowledge ArtWorks has so graciously provided,” wrote another Youth Apprentice.

Their Impact is Wide-Ranging

Under the guidance of Professional Artists, Youth Apprentices are continuing to create transformational works of art, and soon ArtWorks will hit the milestone of completing 200 permanent outdoor murals. Because of their efforts, Youth Apprentices continue to strengthen our region’s reputation as an arts hub.

Applications Now Being Accepted

Know a young person who should apply? Applications are now open for 2020 Youth Apprenticeships.

About ArtWorks

Since 1996, ArtWorks has been transforming people and places through investments in creativity. The organization is a workforce development and job-training program where art is the vehicle that trains and employs local youth and professional talent to create art and community impact. ArtWorks has hired over 3,500 youth and 3,000 professional artists who have completed over 12,000 public and private art projects.

Photo by Bergette Photography.