Founded in 1985, AS220 is a non-profit community arts space in downtown Providence, Rhode Island. Its mission is to provide a local forum and home for the arts by offering residential and work studios, galleries, performance and educational spaces. AS220 facilities and services are made available to all artists who need a place to exhibit, perform, or create their original artwork, especially those who cannot obtain space to exhibit or perform in traditional sources because of financial or other limitations.

Since 1998, AS220 Youth has worked to increase access to the arts among Rhode Island's low-income teens. Its goal is to engage youth in rigorous artmaking that leads to increased skills and self-esteem. The enhanced skills acquired at AS220 contribute to teens' positive social, educational and vocational outcomes. Consistent with AS220's mission and values, studio membership is open, non-competitive and free, allowing AS220 to serve youth who have an interest in the arts but have not had the opportunity to engage in artmaking through the limited channels available to them.

street_band_tcedits 320x309"I respect and love the positive outlet that AS220 provide for youth to embrace their inner creativity, strength, and growth. Once I discovered the unlimited opportunities to be a positive aspect in a young person's life, I couldn't turn down being a mentor for AS220." -- Andrea C. Lmafidon, AS220 Mentor

AS220 Youth considers its greatest successes to be the personal ones: building healthy, long-term relationships with the State's most disconnected and disadvantaged youth. In addition, the program has made many accomplishments over the last year:

  • AS220 Youth's photo program earned more than $15,000 in fees through commercial photo shoots employing program participants.
  • AS220 Youth's hip hop group ZuKrewe recorded a new album.
  • AS220 Youth implemented the first "Geek Week" at the RI Training School engaging youth in workshops on video game design, computer programming, animation, electronics, digital photography, and vector art.
  • AS220 Youth artists exhibited their artwork in five Rhode Island galleries and had their artwork installed on local billboards.

The AS220 Youth program advances Thriving Cultures' interest in expanding opportunities for teens' artistic advancement with an emphasis on reaching those in disadvantaged communities.

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