As many CHS students go home to practice or rehearsal after school, sophomore Paige Hartley, as well as a handful of other students, goes to Youth Arts Collective in Monterey to work on her latest art projects, such as Hartley’s pop art acrylic painting of David Bowie.
YAC is a nonprofit art studio designed for high school and college students that equips them with the materials they need, whether it be paint brushes or mentors, in order to deepen their art skills.
“Our mission,” says Marcia Perry, co-founder of YAC, “is to inspire creativity, kindness and confidence in our youth through artistic expression and mutual respect.”
Hartley, a devoted “YACster,” has been going to the collective for about two years and strongly believes that her artistic skills have greatly improved: “[I have] more time [to make art and] am surrounded by people who are incredible artists all of the time.”
The message of a local art community and “family,” as Paige likes to describe it, was further passed onto one of her friends, CHS sophomore Sophia deBellis.
“When I went into there for the first time, the vibe was so awesome!” deBellis says. “It was really pretty and everybody there was so nice. I wanted to meet new people, be in the best environment and get really good at art.”
Out of all of the amazing aspects about YAC, deBellis points out that her favorite is the people she has met.
“I have made so many amazing friends there [and] adore everybody there… It is a really great place.”
Another recent YACster, sophomore Hailey Rowe, joined YAC last January.
What Rowe enjoys the most about YAC is “the good environment and lots of kind hearted people who all have the same goal: to make art.” Rowe further jokes that the peanut-butter pretzels that the studio provides along with a variety of other snacks are on the top of the list of why she is so happy there.
The studio has not just improved Rowe’s landscape painting, but life skills as well. Time management has become more of a valuable skill due to the attendance requirement YAC holds.
“I have to be more organized because I have a commitment every week,” Rowe says.
According to Perry, 10 to 15 percent of YACsters are from CHS.
“I think they have got access to a lot better facilities than the other high schools, therefore, more opportunities to excel, and generally, they have a head start because of that.”
In order to join YAC, an application must be filled out and an interview must be scheduled in which the artist must showcase their artwork and enthusiasm. It is also mandatory for YACsters to come by the studio at least twice a week for a minimum of three hours.
To all aspiring artists or simply those interested in art, visit the website at YacStudios.org to find out more.