Spotlight Nonprofit: Allowing budding artists to earn as they learn

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LatinaLista — Long before schools decided art wasn’t enough of a worthwhile class that students could learn something from and axed it from their curriculums, one off-campus art nonprofit has been showing that art is not only relevant to students’ lives but can be profitable in a variety of ways.

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Minneapolis-based Juxtaposition Arts has been empowering urban children, ages 8-12, through after-school art lessons in northern Minneapolis since 1995. Yet, it’s not just about learning how to create art that sets this non-profit apart from the rest.

“It’s a pretty unique program that doesn’t really exist elsewhere in Minneapolis or nationally,” said instructor Nate Young in an interview with a local CBS station. “One of the things we strive for is to show students that art isn’t just a hobby, it’s a way that you can make money and have a job.”

Students are required to master a 72-hour Visual Arts Literacy Training (VALT) program that is free. Once they do that, they can apply for a paid position as an artist apprentice, choosing from among four different specialties: Contemporary Arts, Environmental Design, Graphic Design and Textile Design.

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Professional working artists who teach at the school mentor students under them as they work on real-life projects ranging from creating logos and brochures to landscape design and public artwork. The students also earn money when they sell their works that are exhibited and in a small gallery within the school’s building.

The program has been a ‘picture’ of success with students pursuing careers in the creative arts field and receiving college degrees in the arts.

We believe the integrative problem-solving abilities learned through the hands on creative process of moving from idea, to production, to market are exactly the skills young people need to succeed in school, in work, and in life. ~ Juxtaposition Arts

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