Youth Use Summer to Investigate Cultural Careers through Art Works

Mowing lawns, lifeguarding, slinging burgers – they’ve been stand-bys for teen summer jobs for ages. But a group of local youth are using their summer to broaden their horizons and explore creative career possibilities.
Partners for Arts Education (PAE) is engaging CNY Works youth “investigators” for a 6-week summer exploration of drama, music, dance, media, literary and visual arts “laboratories.” Students and community arts professionals will collaborate to understand the many ways that the arts provide career options here and around the world.

The investigators will be documenting their learning on their own “ning site,” a semi-private networking website where they can post the writing, photos, video, artwork, etc. that they generate as a result of their activities.
Many local cultural organizations are opening their doors, including Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, Syracuse Opera, Syracuse University, Delavan Gallery, WCNY-TV, Landmark Theater, Syracuse Stage, Eureka Crafts, WAER FM 88, Stone Quarry Art Park, DMR Booking Agency, and more.

The program also introduces the investigators to local working artists, who will be guiding them as they experience the elements of each of the art forms, as well as facilitating their conversations with members of the cultural organizations.

“We’re thrilled to help make these connections between young people and the artists doing exciting and creative work all over the area,” says PAE’s Executive Director, Laura Reeder, herself a visual artist. “When young people can identify the entrepreneurial qualities cultural workers bring to their jobs, they realize there are a host of creative careers beyond painting a mural or playing an instrument.”

The program is one of three coordinated by the Near West Side Initiative with CNY Works. Green Works will be exploring current energy trends and local renewable energy sources, and Food Works will take its participants from the farm to factory to farmers market as they investigate the local agricultural economy. Federal stimulus dollars are providing some of the funding.