Art & Action

Outreach Art Programming for Children and Teens

Over that last 20 years, Open Studio Project has proudly partnered with many local organizations that have allowed us to extend our reach to the youth of Evanston and beyond that we may not have been able to reach otherwise. We have enjoyed a 15 year partnership with Youth & Opportunity United (Y.O.U.), and have partnered with the James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy, Evanston Police Department, PEER Services, and many more, in order to provide outreach art programming for children and teens.

Our Goals:

To help young people find creative ways to help themselves:

Open Studio Project provides a safe space where young people who are faced with very real life challenges can learn how to use expressive art to access their own creative inner resources. Through collaboration, our organizations augment each other’s strengths and create a community environment, which serves the whole teen.

To provide outreach art programming for children and teens that is accessible and relevant:

We seek to make the deep benefits of art and writing available to youth whose circumstances or behaviors have caused them strife or to feel barred from other places and situations.  

To work together to create a healthy community:

Through collaboration with our partners, we augment each other’s strengths and create a community environment, which serves the whole team. We provide safe, engaging encounters with creative art-making, and we tailor the program focus to the specific needs of each group we serve.

To advocate to make teen voices heard:

We create a show of teen participants’ art and writing show at the end of each workshop series end. These exhibitions educate the public by revealing the truths of youths’ experiences in a highly direct and powerful way: by sharing the teens’ own words and images. Our experience with young people has shown us that these exhibits also increase the self-esteem of the participants. It allows each of them to be individually seen and appreciated by their community (as well as their families) for who they authentically are and for what they truly feel (which is often transformed and contrary to their previous expressions).

Why the Open Studio Process is so effective with youth:

Adults Work Alongside Teens

No Comment or Criticism = Learning to Listen to Oneself 

Voluntary Participation = Freedom & Responsibility

It Feels Great To Make Art


The Open Studio Process is very flexible and works to support and empower people in a wide range of circumstances. Within our after-school programs, we tailor our specific objectives to the common issues and needs of the participating youth.

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