YAC’S mission is to inspire creativity, kindness and confidence in our local youth through artistic expression and mutual respect.
The Big Idea
Youth Arts Collective’s after-school art education and mentorship program is celebrating its 20th anniversary. From its inception, YAC founders Marcia Perry and Meg Biddle created a program that inspires, supports and values young local artists. Along with fellow professional artists Andrew Jackson, Germain Hatcher, Chloe Wilson and Peggy Alonas, they have mentored 900-plus local youth, ages 14-22, in art, life and professional skills. YAC provides studio space, equipment, supplies and friends to help young people learn to believe in themselves, take risks and give back. When YAC can safely reopen and resume in-person mentoring, they will use the online skills developed through remote mentoring, video artist workshops and online art shows to extend their reach to even more kids.
YAC is the best. I’d like to avoid hyperbole but cannot overstate how important YAC was—and is—to me personally and to the community at large. Having an exciting, vibrant, non-judgemental environment to go to almost daily as a teen was itself a precious gift. That I was exposed to so much talent and diversity of thought as a young person was even more valuable. That I was made to feel like I belonged, that my work was worthwhile, and that my skills were worth developing was priceless. YAC is where I developed or deepened some of the best friendships of my life, and also where I learned to think of myself as a real artist.
- Justin Devine