History

Arts Street was founded in 1995 to help high-risk youth channel their artistic talents and natural curiosity into professional activities needed for the immediate future. Initially a program of Denver’s Office of Workforce Development, Arts Street was incorporated as the non-profit “Friends of Arts Street” in 2003, and began offering standard-based classroom curriculum and cross-disciplinary enrichment classes; these took place in borrowed facilities, including schools and community organizations. Our proven success has resulted in increased demand for program services, and in 2012, Denver Housing Authority invited AS into their new facility next to the 10th & Osage Light Rail Station. We now have longer hours of operation, complete more training and classes for Denver youth, deliver deeper outreach to the Denver community, and have grown more business and non-profit partners since moving into our new home.

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We are also now beginning to see the rewarding, long-term results of our hard work. Our enduring model of “Learn & Earn” job-training sessions has graduated thousands of youth since 1999. Many of them return to contribute to the future generations of youth. Alumnus Hitu Parmar, now a professional architect, provided renovation design and construction management for the Arts Street studio in 2012. 2003 youth alumna Paula Lee, now manager of a web design firm, not only served on the Arts Street executive board, but she has also committed to a monthly cash donation until 2017.

Equally important to our job training programs is the impact Arts Street has on our community. By leading community-centered art projects, not only do our youth gain experience and meaning in a project, but so does the community we are working in. We establish relationships via art, and our youth demonstrate to the public what amazing creations they are capable of. Arts Street is committed to community development and hopes to continue to build strong, positive relationships.

Arts Street serves, primarily, the lowincome, at-risk population with creative experiences and without tuition fees. Ninety percent of the children we serve are from inner city Denver, who receive free or reduced rate lunches at school, or attend free summer programs. About 25% are African-American, 37% Latino/Hispanic, 3% Asian and 35% not self-identified. Many of them have had little or no arts training and are hungry for more arts participation. The Arts Street educational programs are interdisciplinary, integrating the arts into STEM to provide a richer and more effective learning experience.