Arts Street has implemented the dream plan of generations of public school students: getting paid to go to class. Thanks to the Adolph Coors Foundation, NOFA and Xcel Energy, the educational nonprofit has received new funding to not just offer local teenagers classe instruction in real-life skills, but a stipend for their time in the weekend classes.
"It gives students that first-time work experience," says Stella Yu, who founded Arts Street in 1995. "They can explore, find out what's out there, and determine their interests so that they can go forward with their education."
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The next weekend workshop, on GIS dynamic mapping, begins in July. Arts Street has already hosted five skills-based classes this year: "Lights, Camera, Fashion," on fashion marketing; "Webtacular Workshop," on freelance web design; "Piece of Cake," on social media marketing; "Parkitecture," which came up with plans for the La Alma Lincoln Park (Arts Street's web design team also worked with the La Alma Lincoln Park Neighborhood Association to create its newest website); and "Food for Thought," on business branding and graphic design skills. The "Food for Thought" students created actual marketing materials for local company Olde Man Granola.