The Studio Launches Creative Careers in Silicon Valley

The Bay Area in California is a celebrated hotbed of innovation and wealth. However, it also harbors inequities amid rising poverty rates. Dedicated artists and organizations are working to increase access to educational opportunities and open doors to a better future. The Studio at Silicon Valley Creates, AYV partner from the very beginning, is a leading hub for young aspiring creatives and changemakers, media educators, and professional artists to learn, collaborate, create, and share with one another.

_“We have a great responsibility to provide opportunities to students interested in the arts. They are the next generation of creatives and artists in our region, and it is critical that we engage them at a very young age. The key to a vibrant city is a city that embraces art.” – _Peter Pheap, Director of The Studio

AYV has its roots in San Jose, Adobe’s hometown, engaging educators and youth in powerful media making experiences through a network of organizations, such as The Studio at Silicon Valley Creates. A great many young people have been inspired to produce video, write music, and create art on issues vital to them and their community – and they make an impact through the stories they tell, expertly facilitated by The Studio’s educators and mentors. By tapping young artists’ creativity through partnerships with local arts, youth development, and community serving organizations, as well as local schools, colleges, and creative professionals, The Studio is cultivating the next generation of creatives and changemakers in Silicon Valley.

The Adobe Foundation is pleased to support the work of The Studio in providing creative youth development and promoting young people’s advancement in the creative fields.

What are the unique ways you inspire youth?

The Studio engages youth through a series of program modules distributed via our partners, phased over time and centered around learning, connecting, collaborating, creating, and sharing. Project-based grants involve young creatives, media educators, and professional artists collaborating around a specific theme. Our incentive-based contests and campaigns encourage young creatives to learn and create meaningful content on an issue they are passionate about solving. Providing a platform for exhibiting and sharing work – through our social media channels, local film festivals, online film submissions and video channels, film camp screenings, and end of the year exhibition events – is a key motivational factor for creating. We’re bringing professional artists into the classroom, through our partnership with Santa Clara County’s Office of Education, to reinforce, add value, and elevate what is being taught. Our goal is to cater to classroom needs and also provide insight on a specific career path. Further, our short-term apprenticeship program lets students gain real-world hands-on experience, build their portfolio, and create their own network.

How are you preparing youth to advance in the creative fields?

One of the biggest challenges for young aspiring creatives is learning how to navigate through the workforce and get hands-on experience in the field. Whether it’s getting connected to the industry, finding a mentor that can move them to the next level, or acquiring hands-on experience in a professional setting, students often lack the network and/or resources to help them get to where they want to be. We have the opportunity to address these challenges through a variety of programs that increase access and equity throughout the region. Our ultimate goal is to work hand-in-hand with our partners to provide as many opportunities as possible for youth, educators, and professional artists to learn, collaborate, and create with one another.

How will you leverage community partners to engage youth in pursuing creative careers?

By partnering with local high schools with creative electives, we can able to target students who might have interest in the creative fields and also learn about classroom needs from their teachers. In partnering with youth development organizations, we’ll be able to reach underserved and at-risk youth who have an interest in the creative fields and provide them with opportunities to engage in our programs. By teaming up with local colleges and students under the age of 24, we’re creating a pipeline for the next generation of professional artists that will eventually give back to younger students.

What is one of your favorite success stories?

Recently we held “The Studio Symposium,” connecting professional creatives in our region with talented high school students to lay a foundation for the next generation of creative entrepreneurs.

Overall, the day was a huge success, with more than 100 students from the Eastside of San Jose coming together to learn, collaborate, and connect with one another. Our keynote speaker, Nick Mahar, put his college education on hold to pursue his dream of becoming a Director of Photography. His client list includes Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Google, Pandora, The City of San Francisco, and many more. His story truly inspired the youth in the audience. Later students broke into different workshops, ranging from creatives in the film industry, start-up entrepreneurs, UI/UX designers, photographers, and more. The goal of each workshop was not to teach them technical skills, but to share their journey of trials and tribulations in pursuit of their dreams.

One thing we know that’s really effective is setting up an environment where students get to learn directly from professional artists. Our programs are designed to build that bridge between students and professional artists for learning and collaboration that creates excitement and opportunity for the future.