Steam Exchange needs $12,500 for “Steam Exchange: Design, Technology, and Entrepreneurship,” art programs that offer an access point for Smoketown youth to experience academic success in STEM, subjects in which they often lag behind their peers. Steam Exchange provides a vital creative outlet that encourages youth to examine and celebrate their sense of self. The funds we raise through ArtsMatch will purchase computers, software and internet access needed to further diversify and embed technology fluency within our weekly youth workshops, internship program and community/commercial screen-printing shop. Youth will gain technology specific and transferable skills.
Residents, organizations, and businesses from Smoketown and the broader Louisville community have invested time and resources over the last 3 years to renovate the Steam Exchange community arts center, transforming a former liquor store on a high crime block into a safe and welcoming community space. The art center houses our free art classes and the Steam Exchange community/commercial screen printing shop. Access to technology at our Clay Street location is critical in running successful STEAM programming.
We held two prior years of coding and app development classes at YouthBuild Louisville and in Meyzeek’s Community School, and while both classes were successful, participation was limited to young people from those institutions. Our goal is to open these and other classes to any middle/high school youth who live, learn, or worship in Smoketown, with particular focus on recruiting youth who are not already engaged in afterschool programming. With support from this grant, Steam Exchange will relaunch our coding & app development class as well offer instruction in new technology based media including animation, graphic design and multimedia art.