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YAYA Arts Centre

YAYA is an expansive creative community where young people have the freedom, opportunities, and resources to discover their artistic voices and passions. It’s goal is for each young person to leave YAYA prepared for their adult lives, whether that includes college, pursuing a career in the arts, or entering the workforce. This is achieved through a seamless blending of visual arts training with leadership and entrepreneurial skills in a mentorship-based atmosphere that exposes young people to a range of creative professions.

Founded by artist Jana Napoli along with 8 students as an after-school program, YAYA nurtured the dreams and talents of the young artists who went on to sell their artworks throughout the country and even internationally. This Guild program has since become a model for organizations across the country. It offers free afterschool programs for youth, ages 5-25, at the YAYA Arts Center in Central City and has partnered with more than 30 local schools to build custom curriculums that include in-school workshops and field trips to its Center. It offers training in painting, sculpture, photography, video, ceramics, a range of glassmaking techniques in their public access glass studio, and many other media.

YAYA’s holistic approach uses the arts as a way to give young people tangible skills, like financial literacy and project management, as well as soft skills, including leadership, communication, collaboration, and creative thinking. An inclusive and inspirational space for the city’s youth, YAYA reaches thousands of young people and their families each year, nurturing the next generation of creative professionals and culture bearers.

“In school, everybody goes to the same class, learns the same things. YAYA is different. There’s not really a limit.” – YAYA Teen Guild Artist