Building Community with our 2017 Summer Youth Employees
For our third year in a row, The Arts of Life was honored to host Summer Youth Employees (SYEs) through the Leo S. Guthman Fund. Our Chicago Studio warmly welcomed four Summer Youth Employees, after sifting through 25 applications of teenagers interested in working at our Chicago Studio. Each SYE works full-time throughout the summer, supporting staff and artists with daily studio programs, assisting with summer fairs and events, and developing various projects to improve the appearance, cleanliness, and organization of our studio. Get to know them below, and be sure to stop and say hello to them at our booths in the Bucktown Arts Fest (August 26th & 27th) and Renegade Craft Fair (September 9th & 10th).
Deborah Pozo (pictured third from left) recently graduated from Chicago High School for the Arts She will be attending the School of the Art Institute of Chicago this fall with a focus in Fashion Design. While Deb has experience in painting, drawing, and sculpture, her artwork in high school was design focused. Deb enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, serving her community, and being involved with her church. Deb finds importance in merging her values with her arts practice: “As an artist, I make sure my artwork is of deep meaning and helps others. I understand how art can greatly influence a person and mean a lot to them.”
Fiona Miller (pictured fourth from left) will start her junior year at Jones College Preparatory High School this fall. She has focused on mixed media and collage-based painting in the past, but now has an interest in performance art as well. Fiona’s hobbies include Lacrosse, hanging out with friends, and social activism and politics. Fiona expressed appreciation for learning more about people with disabilities during her time in the studio. “Working at the studio has taught me a lot about a group of people that I haven’t had previous experience with,” she said. “This experience has been invaluable and infinitely more times rewarding than a typical teenage summer job. I’m so grateful to have been given this opportunity.”
Jasmine Love (pictured second from right) will begin her junior year at Kenwood Academy High School this fall. Her background is in graphic design, though she has dabbled in abstract painting and drawing. Outside of the studio, Jasmine enjoys reading, doodling, napping, and spending time with family. When asked about her overall experience in the studio, Jasmine reflected on how our artists have inspired her to expand her practice. “It’s been eye opening to me,” she said. “I want to learn more about different art and art aspects. The artists showed me how to work with different types of media.” She also spoke to the period of adjustment when she first started: “It was challenging at first trying to get to know the artists, but as time progressed I feel like I have developed a relationship with all of the artists in different ways.”
Christian Martinez (pictured far right) graduated from Chicago High School for the Arts this May. He has experience with painting, drawing, mixed media, visual communications, and cinematography, but his passion lies with photography. Christian plans to attend Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston this fall and will be majoring in Fine Arts Photography. In his spare time, Christian enjoys playing guitar, a talent he has shared in his time at the studio. He also spends time with friends, meets new people while commuting on the CTA, and plays with his dog, Twitch, at the park. When reflecting on the impact his creative background had on his work in our studio, Christian shared how he formed connections at The Arts of Life through patience. “Photography teaches you how to be patient and how to wait for ‘the decisive moment.’ I think that transfers well to working in this studio environment. When talking with artists, they don’t always have the same communication style as you do, so you have to find the right moment to interact with people and be patient in their response.”
Also featured in the title image are the North Shore Studio’s two Summer Youth Employees, Sheila Cox and Alysa Chiovatero. We really enjoyed spending time with them at the delicious luncheon hosted by the Guthman fund for SYEs from across the city. This year, the event was held at the Peggy Notebart Nature Museum in Lincoln Park. We were so inspired to hear about all the other organizations engaging local youth through grants from the Guthman fund.