AIE History

Current Programs

Contemporary Classrooms: 2016 – Present
Contemporary Classrooms launched in Spring 2016 as an ongoing series of high school classroom workshops, formulated in collaboration with an exhibiting SoEx artist or project. The first iteration of this workshop series responded to artist Robby Herbst and his project New New Games, asking “Who defines the games we as a society play?” Aimed at serving youth from ten local schools, the workshops used Herbst’s investigations as a starting point for youth to confront and question their own ideas of labor and leisure through participatory games and reflection. With a deeper understanding of Herbst’s project, Contemporary Classroom participants were encouraged to attend the New New Games event held in the spring of 2016.

Community Arts Internship Program: 2016 – Present
The Community Arts Internship Program (CAIP) gives young people the opportunity to exercise leadership skills and participate in their community by exploring relevant social and personal issues through visual arts. CAIP is organized by Southern Exposure in collaboration with local community-based youth organizations. Serving a broad range of underserved youth, CAIP is designed to provide youth interns with valuable job training in arts organizing and community engagement. The weekly workshops guide youth through the process of formulating an idea, researching and investigating the topic, designing an action plan and implementing a community-based arts project.

One-On-One Mentorship Program: 2010 – Present
The One-On-One Mentorship Program pairs passionate advanced youth artists, ages 16 to 21, with professional artist mentors, who provide guidance, develop goals and share skills, knowledge and expertise with the mentee over the course of a year. The mentorship program is geared toward students who have demonstrated excellence in an art medium and explores concepts and guidance that are crucial to an artist's creative growth. Youth are paired with a professional artist in their medium of interest, which ranges from photography, video production, sculpture, painting, animation, digital media or whatever medium the mentee chooses. The pairs develop a group exhibition to showcase the artistic developments of each of the youth members. The exhibition gives individuals in the program a goal to focus on throughout the year, as well as a time to highlight their creative developments and achievements.

Youth Advisory Board: 2002 – Present
The Youth Advisory Board is a small cohort of passionate AIE youth artists who help to promote and facilitate youth involvement in Southern Exposure.  By providing YAB members with the materials and support to sculpt their own space, both in the gallery and on the website, YAB seeks to make their collective youth voices heard.  YAB artists meet twice a month to plan youth-initiated and organized art events, exhibitons, and projects.

Mission Voices Summer: 1995 – Present
Mission Voices Summer (MVS) program works with 30 to 60 youth artists and several teaching artists in a summer intensive program. Following the model of YAB, youth artists collaborate with teaching artists to produce three art projects unified under a central theme and present them together to the community in a public exhibition. MVS draws on multiple art practices and utilizes different forms of media enabling an array of mediums and techniques to be explored over the course of the program.


Past Programs

Youth Internship Program: 2013
SoEx's Youth Internship Program was a multi-disciplinary youth engagement and job preparedness program featuring a dynamic learning environment, real world non-profit experience and arts education practice for students ages 15 to 18 interested in developing professional work experience.

The Beat Within: 2010 – 2012
SoEx's Artists in Education Program partners with The Beat Within, a 15-year-old bi-weekly literary arts magazine produced by incarcerated youth. This partnership provides youth with a consistent opportunity to share their artistic ideas and experiences in a safe space that encourages literacy and self-expression. SoEx offers artistic support through consistent weekly workshops to build on acquired skills and ideas. Youth in the San Francisco and Alameda County Juvenile Justice Centers make collaborative and individual artworks that are published in each issue of The Beat Within.

Columbia Park Boys and Girls Club After-School Program
: 2005 – 2008
This AIE partnership presents a series of after-school arts programs that explore the Boys and Girls Club as a site for creating art that responds to the club’s community and the surrounding Mission District neighborhood.

The On-Site Education Program (OSEP): 2003 – 2007
The goal of the On-Site Educational Program is to expose SoEx’s audience to our Artists in Education programs, which happen off-site most of the year, by utilizing the gallery to house workshops and projects that are created out of a unique collaboration between SoEx arts educators and gallery artists. With this program, SoEx hopes to increase the level of engagement of artists working in our exhibition program with arts educators and youth from our AIE programs, and ultimately with the public. Artists and youth utilize the gallery to develop and house workshops and projects geared toward engaging up to 200 youth between the ages of 18-23, a typically under- served population as well as the general public, based on exhibitions in SoEx’s gallery. This recently launched program allows for older youth from a range of different backgrounds to come together with professional artists to investigate current issues and learn contemporary art practices in order to produce an exhibition within the Southern Exposure gallery.

The Young Photographers Program at McClymonds High School in West Oakland: 1990 – 2005
In collaboration with MOCHA (The Museum of Children's Art)
The Young Photographers Program pairs an artist to work intensively with a small group of students through McClymond’s Art Department to teach principles of visual literacy. Workshops stress themes and topics relevant to this inner city, predominantly African-American school. Through photography, students explore their lives at home and in the world, documenting their families, friends, role models, and environment. During three class periods each week, students learn darkroom techniques, camera operation, and photographic composition as well as the creative and critical means behind image construction. The students also write personal essays, which correspond with their photographs and document their artistic process, which are compiled with their photos in an annual catalogue. Students exhibited their work in venues such as the Southern Exposure Youth Advisory Board curated show ACCEPTION: NO EXCEPTION at ODC Theater, An Artistic Discovery – 9th Congressional Discovery at the Oakland Museum, Art is Education Month in the Elihu State Building in Oakland, and SOLID GOLD the annual Southern Exposure art auction fundraiser.

Leadership High School’s Week Without Walls: 2004 – 2006
Partnering a professional artist with students from Leadership High School and lead teacher Anna Kashner, this one-week intensive project explores how art can help students express their feelings and speak their mind. Together, students learn how poetry, video, or other media have been an essential part of self-expression and have helped create a positive arena for youth to make a difference. During the yearly, intensive, thirty-five hour week of workshops, students examine the history of the medium, analyze various examples, develop their skills, seek out sources of inspiration, and create a piece to perform or present in a youth arts event at Southern Exposure. Within the workshops, the medium is used as a vehicle toward learning leadership skills and engaging in community activism.

PSA Mix – Visitacion Valley Beacon Center: 2002
Partnering undergraduate art students from the San Francisco Art Institute with middle school youth from Visitacion Valley Beacon Center, this project explored radio as public art. Led by a professional artist, students engaged in both theory and studio practice, examining the history of electronic music, pirate radio, public radio, and the Internet. The class explored early sound in Surrealism, Russian Futurism to contemporary Bay Area Internet DJs BetaLounge. Guests included sound artists, theorists, DJs and dramateurs. Using interviews, found sound, and mixed sound, together the students created PSAs (public service announcements) to be broadcast on local public radio stations, pirate radio, and the Internet. This program has been an invaluable experience for both the college students and the middle school youth, focusing on technical skills and expertise, leadership, and community activism. PSA MIX was on exhibit in the Overlook Gallery Space in Southern Exposure, May 11 – June 15, 2002, with a well-attended opening on May 17, 2002.

Cole School and McClymonds High School in collaboration with Project Yield and Southern Exposure present: BRIDGING YOUTH VOICES: 2002
Partnering middle school students from Cole School's Focus Project –an after-school photography program sponsored by Project Yield-- with high school students from McClymonds’ Photography Program – a black and white photography program sponsored by Southern Exposure-- Bridging Youth Voices aimed to create positive visual images of the West Oakland community through the creation of two public murals. Under the tutelage of lead artists Asual Aswad, Carolyn Carr, and Scott Panton, students have worked together to design a digitally-printed photographic collage that is displayed prominently on the facades of both schools. The theme of both public art pieces, “Remembering Our Ancestors” was collaboratively selected by the participating students. This theme celebrates individuals and leaders from the area whose histories are integrally woven into the rich tapestry of this West Oakland neighborhood. The mural represents the link formed between the youth and their respective school sites, a significant community development effort, as well as the students’ progression from middle school to high school. The project concluded with a reception and community walk from Cole School to McClymonds High School on Saturday June 8, 2002 and was awarded the 2003 Children's and Youth Mural Award.

India Basin S.E.A.L.S. (Saving the Environment Through Art, Love, and Safety): A Public Art Project at India Basine Shoreline Park: 2001 – 2002
A first-time collaboration between Southern Exposure and the Trust for Public Land (TPL), a nonprofit land conservation organization dedicated to preserving open space for people, The India Basin Public Art project has brought together two professional artists and ten community middle and high school youth for after-school workshops focusing on the social, natural, and political history of Bayview Hunters Point and India Basin Shoreline Park. From October 2001 through May 2002, artists Moriah Ulinskas and Santiago Giraldo-Tobon, and ten local youth met after school at the Bayview Opera House to conceptualize and design a permanent installation of public art. The project plays an instrumental role in transforming the India Basin shoreline into a significant waterfront recreational facility for San Francisco’s under-served Bayview Hunter’s Point community. The group selected historical images and wrote their own text which would later constitute the content of the signage. In April 2002 the group unveiled their design for their proposed piece, three “periscopes” to be installed in the park, each offering a specific view and addressing a specific issue in the surrounding environment.

Race, Representation, and Youth: 1994 – 2002
A joint project with the HERALD Project at San Francisco's Balboa High School, then Thurgood Marshall Academic High School Race, Representation and Youth (RRY) was a highly collaborative endeavor between students, artists and teachers. Through the analysis of mass-media forms and hands-on production, RRY teachers and students engaged in a critical dialogue about race, culture, class and gender representation. The project strived to teach students to be independent thinkers and informed citizens, as well as savvy media-makers through the expertise and insights provided by trained professional artists and media-producers. Artists collaborated on a curriculum designed to develop the critical thinking skills necessary for students to analyze media in order to be more informed producers. In studying various forms and tactics of modern advertising, students examine their own media consumption habits and their role in an ad-based society. The program enabled them to think critically about the clothes they wear, the soda they drink and the music they listened to. RRY students work was exhibited through bus cards on the MUNI system and at the San Francisco Public Library, as well as at their school campus and at the Southern Exposure Gallery.

Mission Voices Year-Round: 1999 – 2001
A collaboration between Horizons Unlimited and La Casa de los Jovenes, Mission Voices Year-Round provided students with an open forum to investigate issues of cultural identity, community, personal responsibility and the environment. Mayor Brown said of Mission Voices, "A model of innovation, it represents the best in what a community with a common vision can accomplish." A year round program as of January 1999, Mission Voices provides training in artistic media production and leadership skills for youth. Through media-based projects with themes that connect self awareness, community awareness and social responsibility, youth will interact with a broad section of the neighborhood, from community leaders to civic officials to graphic and multi-media artists who now comprise a large part of Southern Exposure's neighborhood. The students also learn marketable production skills and participate in life skills workshops ranging from community activism to conflict mediation and peer mentoring. Upon completion of the program, students will have sufficient training to be hired as youth leaders by participating organizations, seek future employment in a media field, or utilize their portfolios in college applications. In the spring of 2001, Southern Exposure's Mission Voices Year Round program launched a new ten-week turn-tabling project at Horizons Unlimited. Youth gathered field recordings, created original music, wrote lyrics and learned sequencing, sampling, and mixing skills to create their own sounds compositions resulting in a fourteen-track CD compilation.

The G.I.R.L (Giving and Inspiring Responsibility in Life) Project: 1998 – 2001
A year-round collaboration between Horizons Unlimited, Samoan Community Development Center, and Westside Community Mental Health Center, the G.I.R.L. Project offered counseling, peer leadership, job training, tutoring, health services and weekly art courses to young women referred by the Youth Guidance Center. Southern Exposure artists worked with staff at Horizons Unlimited, Samoan Community Development Center, and Westside Community Mental Health Center to develop relevant art projects that explore identity, self esteem, family and community responsibility. The goal was to decrease contact with the Juvenile Probation department by giving the young women experience in vocational training, peer counseling and creative arts. In the spring of 2001, G.I.R.L. participants explored personal, cultural and gender identity issues through the design and production of an art and culture 'zine. Students used graphic design projects and writing exercises to help create and develop their individual voices.

Southern Exposure and San Francisco Art Institute's Youth Arts Program
Southern Exposure and the San Francisco Art Institute came together to create a ten-week digital photography and digital imaging program for ten youth from Thurgood Marshall and Balboa high schools in San Francisco and McClymonds High School in Oakland. Curriculum focused on 3 aspects in digital image production: photographic methods, computer technologies (specifically working within Adobe Photoshop’s tool palette) and assemblage. In addition to the learning of practical photo & computer skills, students explored critical issues regarding the effect of digital technologies on the social production and use of photographic images. High school students had the opportunity to work in collaboration with students at the San Francisco Art Institute. The final exhibition featured large-scale digital self-portraits based on “conversation pieces” from 15th century Germany.