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2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit

ArtWorks for Milwaukee

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts, Culture & Humanities, Arts Education, Children & Youth, Job Training, Youth Development Programs

Mission: Inspiring local teens to create positive change in their lives and in our community. We believe: - Engaging teens in the arts empowers them to successfully achieve their goals and believe in themselves - Teaching life and career skills creates marketable teens and prepares them for future success - Broadening the perspectives of ArtWorks Interns motivates them to make a difference Our vision is a community that is sustained by creative, motivated teens who positively contribute to our thriving city.

Results: Since 2007*: - 127 Interns (77%) successfully completed our internships since 2007. - 65 (100% of responding) Interns graduated from high school or are still attending. - 16 (25%) Interns entered post-secondary education. - 23 (35%) Interns secured a job after their ArtWorks internship. - Of this group, 20 (87%) were still employed at the point of contact. *Statistics from responding Interns, 2007 - present. (52% response rate)

Target demographics: ArtWorks exclusively targets Milwaukee County teens that already face barriers to employment:- Teens that under perform in high school: these students have low GPA's and/or may drop out, despite having the capacity to graduate. At ArtWorks, we teach them that earning a high school diploma is crucial to building a future of success.- Teens with disabilities: these teens face inherent barriers due to misperceptions about their abilities. At ArtWorks, we teach out interns to overcome these barriers. - Teens that lack community connections: these young people, through no fault of their own, lack access to employment networks needed for success. At ArtWorks, we provide our Interns mentoring opportunities with ArtWorks’ staff, Lead Artists, and volunteer Career Coaches that can open doors for them and increase their chances of success.

Geographic areas served: Milwaukee County

Programs: We offer eight-week programs three times per year: Spring (March–April), Summer (July–August) and Fall (October–November). Each program hires a total of eight Interns, and they work ten hours per week in the Spring and Fall programs—twenty hours per week in the Summer—thereby allowing them enough time to complete school work. Why the Arts? We leverage a very powerful tool by using the Arts to engage youth in creative ways that might otherwise be difficult to reach. The Arts provide opportunities for the wide variety of youth we serve to be successful, no matter their learning style, disability status, or level of artistic ability. Our Interns do not need prior artistic training to participate in our programs, and they learn they can become valuable contributors to their teams, and that they can accomplish more than they ever thought they could by following step-by-step guidance provided by their Lead Artist. Additionally, young people enjoy performing the creative work that their internships require, and as a result they are more engaged in the employability training experiences we provide. Our programs ask the Interns to explore who they are, where they come from, and what they believe, and they experience a real sense of pride in creating original pieces of art work. 21st Century Skills: ArtWorks’ programming is rooted in The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, which has emerged as the leading advocacy organization focused on infusing necessary workplace skills into education. This national organization brings together the business community, education leaders, and policymakers to define a powerful vision for education that ensures every child's success as citizens and workers in the 21st century. Each Lead Artist undergoes robust training in the 21st century skills to effectively integrate them into their art curriculum. All Interns who participate in ArtWorks programs are exposed to the 21st Century Skills during every work shift.

Community Story

1 Nea N.


Rating: 5

I sit on the Governance Committee and am excited about the programs growth and development every time I attend. I hope to see the organization progress so that talented children in central city Milwaukee have a safe venue to express their art.