Five Youth Organizations Catalyzing the Next Generation of Creative Leaders

Announcing the 2019 Adobe Creative Catalyst Award winners.

by Lauren Stevenson; Head

posted on 09-13-2019

Around the globe, creative youth development organizations are pivotal to fueling the next generation’s creativity and capacity to shape our world. At these organizations, youth learn to collaborate, take an idea from concept to fruition, and communicate in ways that build empathy and shift perspectives.

Through creative expression, youth forge their identities, tell their stories, and imagine and realize new possibilities for their communities. This all builds self-confidence and prepares youth with one of the top most important skills for the future identified in research by the World Economic Forum and LinkedIn — creativity.

Creativity is a universal skill regardless of career path, but for youth with creative professional aspirations, these organizations provide additional advanced training and career development opportunities — working to ensure equitable access to creative careers and to build more diverse and inclusive creative industries.

We want to honor the outstanding work these creative youth development organizations do to drive equity and foster creativity among the next generation. That’s the impetus behind the Adobe Creative Catalyst Award. For the second time, we are pleased to recognize five organizations with this award, which includes a grant to fuel the organizations’ innovation and expand and deepen the creative opportunities they provide youth.

Meet the 2019 Adobe Creative Catalysts

Wide Angle Youth Media, Baltimore

Through media arts education, Wide Angle Youth Media inspires creativity and instills confidence in young people, empowering them with skills to navigate school, career, and life. Wide Angle’s free and accessible programming is designed to create a meaningful pathway for Baltimore youth ages 10 to 24, starting with introductory creative community workshops and leading to advanced workforce development training.

Driven by a vision of a more inclusive Baltimore fueled by creativity, Wide Angle’s programs counter systems of inequity that shape the daily lives of youth in Baltimore — a city where nearly one in five youth are disconnected from school or work, and one in three children live below the poverty line.

With the Adobe Creative Catalyst Award, Wide Angle is launching an expanded Workforce Development pathway with career training and paid apprenticeships, to break barriers to media and tech industry job placements for Baltimore youth.

Urban Arts Partnership, New York and Los Angeles

Urban Arts Partnership advances the intellectual, social, and artistic development of underserved students through arts integrated education programs in which arts and digital media are taught in tandem with other school subjects. The organization’s ultimate goal is to help students graduate from high school, go to college, and become lifelong learners, explorers, and creative problem solvers.

With the Adobe Creative Catalyst Award, Urban Arts Partnership teaching artists are collaborating with classroom teachers in New York City Title I schools to help students develop their storytelling and media-making skills. The project, called YourStory, will culminate at the organization’s annual Story Giants Festival where selected stories will be performed and exhibited.

Fully Focused, London

An award-winning, non-profit, youth-led creative organization, Fully Focused uses the power of film to challenge negative perceptions of youth, change public opinion, and help youth reach their full potential.

Fully Focused provides its core participants real-world film industry experience, practical skills training, and paid production opportunities with a clear path to a creative career. These youth leaders in turn engage and mentor peers across London through productions, creative labs, and workshops, helping them to develop their creative skills and tell their stories.

Through its Million Youth Media channel, Fully Focused amplifies the voices of youth from neighborhoods often detrimentally stereotyped in mainstream media. With nearly 270,000 subscribers and 40 million views, Million Youth Media is one of the fastest growing youth-led media channels and a critical platform for a broad range of diverse, emerging filmmakers.

With the Adobe Creative Catalyst Award, Fully Focused is producing a major film project with young people affected by the youth violence epidemic in London. Through the project, they will provide youth in-depth skills training and a vehicle to inspire change across the UK and globally.

Reel Youth, Vancouver, Ontario, and Cortes Island

Reel Youth engages young people and helps them build their confidence and leadership abilities while honing their artistic and technical skills. Its programs teach animation, photography, film, and broadcasting while providing a safe space for youth to share their personal experiences, be vulnerable, tap into their creativity, and learn how to collaborate and support one another.

Together with their communities, youth participants create media addressing critical social and environmental issues and expressing their vision for a more just and equitable world. Reaching audiences across Canada and internationally, Reel Youth films have been seen by over one and a half million people.

With the Adobe Creative Catalyst Award, Reel Youth is engaging Inuit youth in the Arctic territory of Nunavut, Canada to produce a series of documentary films and music videos with elders in their communities. The videos will contribute to the ongoing revival of songs and language with which many Inuit youth have lost connection through the history of colonization and attempted cultural genocide in Canada.

RYSE, Richmond, CA

Leveraging the power of creativity to drive change and positive youth development, RYSE views arts and media as critical to young people’s liberation and next generation leadership. Media arts are deeply integrated with holistic health and wellness supports along with power building and civic engagement.

RYSE was born by youth leaders in Richmond, CA responding to a string of homicides among their peers. To make their community stronger and safer, they advocated for opportunities for self-expression and healing, and for reshaping the view of youth in the community. Their organizing and leadership ultimately led to the creation of the RYSE Center.

To better serve Richmond youth, RYSE is using its Adobe Creative Catalyst Award to launch an arts leadership program, Advanced Media Producer Interns (AMP). Through mentorship and project-based work in internships and apprenticeships, participating youth will develop their skills and artistic voice, add to their portfolios, and prepare to enter a creative career.

A creative future worldwide

The Adobe Creative Catalyst Awardees are leaders in a larger network of creative youth development organizations that Adobe supports worldwide. In partnership with TakingITGlobal, we provide free Creative Cloud to 100 organizations in over 20 countries that serve, hundreds of thousands of youth, and are investing in grants to help organizations provide access to creative opportunities.

Stay tuned to learn more about what these organizations and their young leaders create.

Topics: Creativity, Future of Work

Products: Creative Cloud