Urban arts programs often build confidence and agency among youth who are disheartened by, or disconnected from, public schools. At a time when education is being shaped by a rigid test-taking culture, arts educators often succeed in eliciting a sense of inquiry and belonging among their students.
Twenty years ago, Bob Bates was a part-time volunteer with a vision: to create a space for inner-city kids to make art. He believes that giving children the opportunity and the time to conceive and produce their own designs equips them with skills that can carry them through academia and into the real world. Bates created