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Fostering Opportunities for Nashville Youth

Updated: Nov 17, 2021

Metro Arts Announces Opportunity Now Partner Organizations for Summer 2021

Since 2017, Metro Arts has partnered with local arts and culture organizations to administer paid enrichment and employment opportunities for Nashville’s youth in the summer months. Through Opportunity Now, Nashville’s youth employment initiative, teens 14-16 have the chance to experience careers in the arts firsthand, gain 21st-century job skills, and get paid while doing it.

Isle of Printing artist Bryce McCloud talks with 2020 Opportunity Now students at Turnip Green Creative Reuse about incorporating social justice into artwork.

At their Feb. 18 meeting, the Metro Nashville Arts Commission approved eight arts organizations and their partners to host Opportunity Now students for summer 2021. Named by the 37208 Special Committee as a resource to support the community, Opportunity Now 2021 projects feature a focus on Nashville’s 37208 zip code. Youth applications are open through Friday, April 9.

Tennessee State University and MSPAR AIR Youth will provide opportunities for 8 youth through an artist-in-residence program. Students will be exposed to many different art forms, such as photography, videography, printing, graphic design, theater, and set design, researching and working closely with local North Nashville non-profits as they develop their own personal project, as well as working collaboratively to produce events like an art show and talent show. This project will take place at the McGruder Center.

Women of Color Collaborative (WOCC) will employ a comprehensive model of peer-to-peer learning, intergenerational mentorship, and cross-sector training program to help 16 students explore identity, workforce development, and documentary film-making skills. Complementary learning modules focusing on videography, graphic design and storytelling enhance real life applicability of simulated content. Culminating projects will include an in-depth policy analysis documentary short. Service learning opportunities have been intentionally designed for this internship meeting the National Youth Council standards for meaningful engagement, encouraging youth voice and reflection. This program will be offered in a hybrid format.

Prado Studio will facilitate a 6-week, design-focused public art apprenticeship program at Prado Studio, entitled “ENVISION 37208.” Twenty participants will interact daily with accomplished community artists, hear perspectives from multiple guest speakers, tour local public art sites, and receive hands-on training and mentorship in an artist’s studio, experimenting with a variety of specialized tools and materials, and learning the step-by-step process of designing and creating public art. Participants will create and present meaningful public art proposals of depth and significance that can serve to address specific community needs. This program will consist of two weeks virtual programming and four weeks at the Prado Studio.

King’s Daughters Day Home will provide 24 students with opportunity to be arts educators. Students in the KDCDC Arts Enrichment Education program will be exposed to the literary arts, music, dance, and theatre each week, as well as speakers specializing in those fields. Students will work under the guidance of an arts mentor to hone their art skills and to utilize these skills to plan and implement arts-related lessons for children ages 1 to 10 years old weekly through virtual and video instruction. Opportunity Now students will also be actively engaging in the “conscious discipline method” to instruct KDCDC’s students. The program will culminate with a school-wide project, in which students use feedback from mentors to make productive changes in planning and teaching approaches. This program will be delivered virtually.

Moves and Grooves will hire 12 students from Antioch High School and 12 students from Pearl Cohn High School to learn the best practices in community-centered design, urban development, arts exploration, data collection, and community analysis within their respective communities for their Imagine Your Community (IYC) project. Students will engage in activities like neighborhood mapping, charrette planning, and SWOT analysis. The findings from each team will inform and aid in the construction of a proposed community center. Students will document their process through photo journals that will be displayed at the culmination of the program. This program will take place at Moves and Grooves.

Notes for Notes will divide 26 students into teams, each consisting of a blend of youth artists, songwriters, producers and instrumentalists for their Digital Music Work Experience. The internship will focus on collaborative music making as a vehicle to foster the Social Emotional Learning (SEL) component in N4N's Four Core Pillars of Success: Confidence, Creativity, Compassion and sense of Community. 21st Century Skills such as responsibility, initiative, active listening, punctuality, critical thinking, patience, and communication will be emphasized. Each team will create and produce an EP, debuting two songs at an online listening party. This program will be conducted through Notes for Notes virtual platform N4N Digital.

Turnip Green Creative Reuse will provide opportunities for 26 youth to serve their communities, equipping them with work-readiness skills through the TGCR Sustainability & Arts Youth Program. Each teen will deeply engage in Turnip Green Creative Reuse's areas of service: Green Galleries, Open Studio, Creative Reuse Center, the Turnip Seed (community garden), and Education/Outreach department. During the internship, students will be divided into groups based on their interests and how they relate to Turnip Green’s areas of service, and work on their own collaborative project inspired by their own personal interests. The projects will be presented at the end of the program. This program will take place at Turnip Green Creative Reuse Center.

Southern Word will provide opportunities for 26 students to engage in songwriting, poetry and music production, while developing skills necessary to market and distribute that content, through their project, Creating Cultural Centers through Words and Music. Southern Word will convene youth writers and music producers with their adult counterparts, offering youth the opportunity to build the fundamental skills necessary to produce and distribute integrated writing and music pieces. In addition to the hard skills associated with music production, Southern Word will develop social-emotional aptitudes and soft skills through exposure sessions with SW’s three administrators and trainers from partner organizations. Southern Word will be utilizing a hybrid format of virtual and studio time at Jefferson Street Sound.

From the Heart will challenge students to pick up an instrument they have never played before and develop a band from start to finish in their Music for Life program. Through direct music instruction; topical workshops such as songwriting, recording, choreography; industry-related field trips; and personal artist research students will gain industry skills and exposure, culminating in participation in the annual city-wide event, Commercial Music Extravaganza. From the Heart hopes to increase youth confidence, self efficacy, and teamwork through their program which culminates in an end of year showcase. This program will take place in-person at Jere Baxter Middle School.

View last year’s Opportunity Now projects on our blog. Learn more about Opportunity Now 2021, including how to apply as an employer or a youth employee, at the Opportunity Now website.

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