Envisioning an Artistic Future

Updated: Nov 17


With a Focus on 37208, Metro Arts' Partners' 2021 Opportunity Now Summer Work Experiences Encouraged Nashville Youth to Reimagine Community and Careers




An Opportunity Now intern at Turnip Green

Creative Reuse presents a lighting

project at the end-of summer showcase.


After a long year-plus of virtual school and pandemic struggles, Metro Arts' Opportunity Now students more than met the challenges of this year's arts-based work experiences. Our nine community partner organizations together hired 174 youth age 14-16, who worked on a diverse array of projects, such as music production, documentary filmmaking, mural-making, and site-specific public art design. What's more, each student ended the summer with a suite of tools for use in their future careers: professional experience, presentation skills, head shots and résumés.


We've gathered some summaries and samples of their work below. We're sure you'll be as impressed as we are, and we hope that you'll join us in congratulating these students on a job well done and in thanking our Opportunity Now partners and host sites for providing these experiences to Nashville's youth.


Teens in Moves and Grooves’ “Imagine Your Community” project worked in teams to design a multi-disciplinary arts space and community center. They presented their ideas at a capstone event.


Moves and Grooves Opportunity Now students get some practice with community planning and public art. Photo credit: Metro Arts staff.

Youth working in King's Daughters Child Development Center's Arts Enrichment Education Internship program explored various genres of art, created curriculum, and were empowered as arts educators to teach preschoolers. They shared their projects and findings at a final showcase.


Preschool classmates at King's Daughters Child Development Center put their artistic talents to the test! Photo via @KDChild_Org Instagram.


Students working at From the Heart International Education Foundation learned new instruments, created their own bands, and performed in a final showcase.


Music 4 Life's percussion section practices. Photo courtesy of @m4l_isaiah on Instagram.

Students working in Women of Color Collaborative's summer intern experience researched, wrote, and produced documentaries covering issues of justice and identity, which can be viewed on WOCC's YouTube channel.

"The Gender Pay Gap," one of four social justice and identity documentaries produced by Women of Color Collaborative's Opportunity Now interns.

At Prado Studio, youth in the “Envision 37208” apprenticeship researched the North Nashville zip code and created various public art plans and models for their selected sites. Students created displays and presented their plans to peers, neighbors and community leaders at two final presentation events.


Prado Studio students present their concepts for public art spaces including an underpass mural and a public park. Photo credit: Metro Arts staff.

Students in Notes for Notes had a completely digital experience, learning to collaborate in teams to write and produce original music, which they gathered in person to listen to.

From Notes for Notes: "Our Nashville North studio recently gathered to listen to the tracks they collaborated on this summer."



At TSU, teens in the MSPAR AIR Youth internship program experienced a variety of artistic practices, from film making to mural artistry. They shared their experiences and their artwork at a final showcase event.


Left: "Mind of Many Students; Right" "Abstract Landscape." Both artworks created by Brooklyn Sawyers, Erika Lewis, Nevaeh, Asia McCord, Amelia Wang, Jade Johnson, Davontez Riley, & Korey Harlan. Teaching artists are Courtney Adair Johnson, Nuveen Barwari, & Marlos E'van. Photo credit: Metro Arts staff.


Southern Word students in the “Creative Cultural Centers through Words and Music” internship were stationed at two sites in North Nashville: Pearl Cohn High School and Jefferson Street Sound, where they wrote, created and produced music and poetry tracks, which they presented at their final showcase at the Main Library courtyard.

Southern Word's summer showcase at the Nashville Public Library courtyard featured performances from Opportunity Now and Summer Studio students. Photo credit: Metro Arts staff.


The youth in Turnip Green Creative Reuse’s “Sustainability and Arts Youth Program” selected an area of Turnip Green’s nonprofit practice they were most interested in and worked in that area for the summer, culminating in an art show-and-share event.

Photo credit: Metro Arts staff.



Opportunity Now is Nashville's youth employment initiative, providing young people ages 14-24 in Davidson County access to employment. Part of Metro Nashville Government, Opportunity Now is administered by the Metro Action Commission. Metro Arts coordinates and administers arts-based employment opportunities for youth 14-16 with nonprofit organizations. For more information, visit the Opportunity Now page of Nashville.gov.




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