Gage Academy of Art Selected for Best Start for Kids Youth Development Grant

Award Will Help Expand Access to Art Education in King County

SEATTLE, Washington – King County Department of Community and Human Services has announced Gage Academy of Art among the recipients of 2017 Best Start for Kids Youth Development funding. Best Starts for Kids is a voter-approved initiative led by Executive Dow Constantine to help put every child raised in King County on a path toward lifelong success. Best Start for Kids invests in prevention and early intervention strategies that promote healthier, more resilient children, youth, families and communities.

The grant of $180,000 will help underwrite expansion of Gage’s Teen Art Studios (TAS), a free, year-round, arts access program that serves King County youth, ages 13-18, with emphasized outreach to homeless, at-risk, LGBTQIA, and underserved youth. TAS is currently centered on weekly Friday evening drop-in sessions hosted 49 weeks a year at two locations concurrently—Gage Academy of Art’s Capitol Hill campus and Bellevue Arts Museum. Best Start for Kids funding will allow Gage to launch a third TAS location in Georgetown beginning in 2018 with the goal of serving the specific needs of Spanish-speaking students of South King County by providing bilingual, culturally responsive arts programming and mentoring.

“Gage is honored to be among this year’s Best Start for Kids – Youth Development grant recipients,” said Gage Academy of Art Executive Director, Stefano Catalani. “It is always exciting when the shared values of an organization and a grantmaker are able to be tangibly advanced with a single project, and I am excited about the new Teen Art Studio programming and outreach this grant enables.”


Youth Curators

The Youth Curator’s exhibition is a practice in cultural cartography: storytelling through maps. Gage Academy of the Arts instructor Aramis Hamer and Marilyn Montufar mentored the Artists-Curators and Gage provided art supplies and studio space at their Equinox Studio to help the Artist-Curators in their exploration of the artistic elements of color, form, and light. With the resources and mentorship the Artist-Curators composed their individual maps and the resulting mural.

Every Friday, Gage offers Teen Art Studio, a free art drop-in for teens to work on art projects with professional artists. Find out more at

2017 Youth Curator Project, Intersections: Finding True North

The 2017 Youth Curator Project consists of ten two-hour sessions. Youth Curators spent two sessions at NAAM exploring the vibrant history of the Central Area, a community that was once largely populated by Black people, and has in recent years experienced targeted growth that has displaced people of color and demolished the built spaces that helped to define their identity. After the historical excursus, Youth Curators discover various techniques, collective imagining and storytelling within seven creative mapping sessions led by Gage teaching artists at Gage South in Georgetown.