The mission of ArtWorks for Youth is to provide free visual art instruction, academic support, and mentoring to students in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. We support all forms of education, especially the transformative power of creativity.
While ArtWorks for Youth’s mission has remained the same since being founded in 2000, we have added some programming in order to further support the needs of our students.
In most schools in the United States and South Africa, art education is the first of any cuts made to the budget and curriculum. ArtWorks for Youth had programs in seven schools and community-based organizations in three boroughs of New York City. Courses in photography, silk-screening, collage, painting and drawing, and book-binding took place during after hours.
In 2002, a Middle School where ArtWorks for Youth had after school classes established a relationship with a school in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Through another non-profit organization, a cultural exchange took place between the American and South African schools. ArtWorks for Youth was asked to assist in designing art projects that would enable the two groups of students to get to know one another prior to meeting in person. As a result of the exchange, ArtWorks for Youth shifted all programming to South Africa beginning spring 2003.
ArtWorks for Youth began traveling to South Africa three times annually for periods of two to six weeks at a time, teaching art instruction during and after school and working with teachers to expand their curriculum to include visual arts projects.
In 2009, ArtWorks for Youth started running year-round art classes at two primary schools in Port Elizabeth during school and after school hours.
When there are no American volunteers working with ArtWorks for Youth in South Africa, there are approximately 500 students involved in various programs during the week.
Since 2005, ArtWorks for Youth has been accepting student and adult volunteers who travel from the US to Port Elizabeth each spring and summer. Volunteers are with ArtWorks for Youth for periods of one to six weeks. Volunteer trips are fashioned around the passions, experiences, and interests of the volunteers. While present, volunteers teach art, math, photography reading, creative writing, health, crafts, run girl and boy groups, play sports, and paint murals.
To date, just over 450 volunteers have travelled to South Africa with ArtWorks for Youth.