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Southern Exposure’s nationally recognized Artists in Education (AIE) program brings together diverse youth, artists, schools and organizations in a dynamic series of interactions. AIE offers youth opportunities for critical, artistic, vocational and cultural experiences beyond the traditional school environment. It also presents professional teaching opportunities for local emerging artists, enabling them to become arts educators and extending their practice into the community.

Sparking a dialogue on contemporary artistic practice and sociopolitical issues, AIE illustrates the role of artists in society and uses the conceptual underpinnings of SoEx’s exhibition programs to provide new means of expression for youth. Each year, SoEx works with more than 150 youth between the ages of 14 and 21 and employs nearly 20 teaching artists. In the age of decreased art-centered curricula in public schools and a lack of positive, creative outlets for youth, AIE fills a crucial need in the community.

Artists in Education Program Goals
• To create meaningful experiences for urban youth, stressing art and creative expression in combination
   with broader social services
• To infuse art into young people’s lives, giving youth the vital skills and viable career options they want 
   and need
• To cultivate greater self-esteem and personal accountability in its participants
• To give professional teaching opportunities to culturally diverse artists
• To provide services to community-based organizations and schools that have limited access to
   alternative models of arts education
• To develop community awareness, community responsibility and a sense of creative spirit in youth by
   stressing art as a means of addressing the daily issues teens face

SoEx’s education programs take place in one of the most innovative art venues in the Bay Area. This not only exposes youth to critical ideas, but gives them an exceptional showcase for their work—an opportunity rarely afforded to young people.

AIE has a dedicated space, allowing greater visibility for our many education programs. In addition, we will use our entire facility to house year-round, after-school visual arts programs for at-risk youth working with local emerging arts educators.

Our core youth program, the Youth Advisory Board (YAB), is housed in the AIE space. YAB members work with artists in groups and in one-to-one mentorship relationships; they will have daily access to the space to make new work, collaborate with artists, and plan events and exhibitions that will be realized year-round.

SoEx partners with other youth organizations in our annual Mission Voices program, expanding our youth network and creating an extraordinary space for youth creativity.