Youth Art Exchange offers free visual, performing, and technical arts programming for public high school students in San Francisco, as well as paid summer internships and the annual San Francisco Youth Arts Summit. In Summer 2016 students worked with the Asian Art Museum and Public Library to design a “Living Innovation Zone” installation on Fulton Street in Civic Center.
“Our program is the Youth Art Exchange of Architecture and this project has been designed throughout the school year by our youth driven architecture firm. This summer the last portion of the design work was completed and the students have been involved in the construction of the final piece. And so this is our set of summer interns for the Youth Art Exchange program. And we have some students from the architecture firm during the year.”
“One of the highlights would be first collaborating with new classmates and also collaborating with the community. When we were doing Sunday Streets, we were doing public interaction and showed and displayed our prototype and our dragon design. Then we went through a survey with them so they could give us feedback to help us improve our design on the dragon. That was really interesting because it was an experience of talking to the people from the Tenderloin District.”
“The Tenderloin has always been…everyone thinks it’s really scary. There’s this sort of view on it, it’s like a stereotype. So when I first got here, I was kind of scared because it was strange to me. But after working here a whole month it’s grown on me. It’s not that scary. People here are nice. Especially when the farmers’ market is here.”
“Yesterday we were waiting for the bus and this homeless man came up to us, kind of threatening, but then when he walked up to us he thought we were together and said ‘Keep that girl because she has a beautiful smile.’ When he walked away, he said ‘Thank you for responding.’ People ignore him, but we had a short conversation. He was like, ‘It’s my birthday, I’m going to get a beer and go to work.’ That was a classic thing [where] at first it seems bad but it was such a good moment.”