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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Services, Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services, Civil Rights, Civil Rights, Social Action & Advocacy, Youth Development Programs

Mission: Youth Action Coalition promotes youth empowerment through creative expression, community building, and social action initiatives. We help youth foster their natural talents as artists and build their strengths as community leaders and agents of change.

Target demographics: Our arts and media projects bring together youth from across the race/class/social spectrum, ages 12-18, offering access to free, high quality arts programming, helping youth break down barriers, and offering a safe space for shared dialogue and creative collaboration.

Direct beneficiaries per year: Arts-for-Change programs serves 60-80 young people annually

Geographic areas served: Amherst and Ware, MA and the surrounding communities

Programs:

Our Arts-for-Change project is comprised of individual programsinterwoven through a shared pedagogy of in-depth art training, social justiceeducation and community organizing.

Through our GirlsEyeView project (photography-based project for young womenrunning in Ware since 1997 and Amherst since 1999), members have launched over45 exhibitions of their work, sold their photographs, led discussions on issuesof growing up female, and engaged in exchanges between the members of Amherstand Ware. In this context they are coming together across the race/class divideand examining critical issues together and creating artwork that speaks totheir concerns.

Get Up Get Down—a social justice public art group active since2000—works with youth in Amherst to create public works that speak to theirconcerns as youth. They have created 2 large-scale 3-D murals (one in town andone in their high school) that speak about consumerism, the aftermath of 9/11and Hurricane Katrina, and identity politics in America, as well as manyindividual artworks, a puppet parade and hosted 2 regional youth conferences intheir early years. They have recently been commissioned to produce artworks andsignage for local businesses and individuals and are making a name forthemselves as youth artists with a mission.

In Video Vanguards (active since 2003), youth of color and allies worktogether as media producers, critics and educators, as they use their videoworks to speak to deep issues of race, class, gender, war, isolation,prejudice, homophobia, juvenile justice. VV has been a beacon for YAC,spearheading our anti-racism work through thought and action. Through thisproject dozens of our youth and adults have been to trainings, led workshops,and disseminated their work to wider audiences. In this space young people ofcolor come together with allies to talk about the effects of living in amajority white area and position their work around these issues.

Our newest program is

Community Stories

4 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I'm highly impressed with the achievements & goals YAC Amherst have pursued. Last time I seen them was at the Juneteenth event 2013 and they had a wonderful display in the center of town.

lanib

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

YAC is a community instutition--without it, the youth in our area would lack important visibility. Youth are envisioning and creating change, and YAC continues to support, cultivate, and give credibility to our youth community.

Previous Stories
7

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

As a community member, I really appreciate the oppurtunity that YAC gives me to participate, enjoy, and support the work of local youth. I've been to every Video Vangaurd's event over the last two years - and I would not have traded a minute of it for anything else!

Jo__16

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I love YAC's vision and creativity and have seen and applaud the positive and lasting impact of its work on the young people of western Massachusetts.