Community Conversations at Artisan’s Asylum: Youth Engagement

DATE:  July 8, 2021     CATEGORIES:  Blog, Community, Outreach, Past Events

As we all know, at the start of 2022, Artisans’ Asylum will open a 52,500 SF studio and fabrication space in Allston-Brighton. As we transition from our current Somerville location to Allston, we’ve been connecting with our local community through a series of virtual community conversations. Our community outreach team held our final set of community conversations on Thursday, June 24. The topic of conversation was youth engagement: we wanted to know how we could better serve young people in our community.

Five themes that we heard include:

GET MESSY–Makerspaces are places where kids can explore all types of learning, and sometimes that involves making a big mess. But that’s an awesome thing! When kids are learning new skills and crafts, they should be encouraged to get their hands dirty. That being said, messy environments can be a challenge in traditional learning settings, and we don’t always want to deal with them at home. However, at Artisan’s Asylum, kids can tinker, tape, glue, and paint–we don’t mind the spatters on the wall! 

GUIDED REFLECTION– Creativity and learning are always driven by curiosity. So, let’s foster a learning environment that encourages young people to question why things work the way they do. Through hands-on projects and creative problem-solving, we want kids to answer their own questions and continue to come up with new inquiries that in turn, inspire new projects and ideas. 

DEVELOPMENTAL LEARNING– While we explore new and exciting programs to connect with kids in our creative community, we want to make sure that our courses aren’t all one-offs. We want to offer programming that engages with kids over time and immerse them in the world of making. As they grow their knowledge, we’ll have courses and programs that match their progress and take their skills to the next level. This idea of developmental learning – where we support young people over time – will be an essential role in partnerships with community-based youth-serving organizations.

BUSINESS SKILL DEVELOPMENT– Entrepreneurial spirit and skills are immeasurably valuable to makers and creators who want to turn their passion into a livelihood. If you produce a fantastic design or product, but you have no idea how to market, manage, or maintain your business, then you’re still a long way from making your passion into a career. We want to help young people with an entrepreneurial spirit start thinking about how to connect their developing skills and growing ideas with income-earning opportunities.  

CREATIVE CONFIDENCE– Giving kids the opportunity to be creative is important. However, artwork and creative projects shouldn’t exist in a void, unseen and unheard. Rather, they should be shared, where they can intrigue, interest, and inspire others. Artisan’s Asylum will not only help kids make awesome artwork and projects, but it will be a space where they can display their creativity to other makers and the community as a whole. By sharing their works, they will both expand their creative skill set and build their creative confidence.  

Since June 24th was our final community listening session, we’re wrapping up this stage of our outreach process. We want to thank everyone who took the time to join us on Zoom and share their thoughts. Thanks to everyone’s insights and creative contributions to these brainstorming sessions, we’re making Artisan’s Asylum irresistible.