A program operated by COMBAT, the Community Based Anti Drug Tax utilized to prevent drug use and drug-related crime in Jackson County, MyARTS was created in 2006 to provide a haven for at-risk youth to explore and express their creativity through visual art. 

May 7 marked the date of “Urban Expectations” the annual fundraising event for MyARTS. 

A program operated by COMBAT, the Community Based Anti Drug Tax utilized to prevent drug use and drug-related crime in Jackson County, MyARTS was created in 2006 to provide a haven for at-risk youth to explore and express their creativity through visual art. 

The goal of MyARTS is threefold: to supply a meeting place for teens where they are respected for their contributions; provide teens with an opportunity to positively develop through exhibition, commercial services and public presentation; and to learn the responsibility of paid employment that promotes their own economic development and acts as a springboard to post-secondary opportunities.

Employing approximately 50 young artists between the ages of 15 and 19, MyARTS is cultivating entrepreneurism in the Downtown Crossroads District by mentoring teens through a variety of business opportunities.  The program requires participants to complete a 72-hour apprenticeship prior to being accepted as a paid part-time independent entrepreneur.

Jackson County teens who participate in the MyARTS program are matched with professional artists and designers to conceive, create and sell art products. The MyARTS facility at 15th and Holmes streets in Kansas City is fully equipped with studio space and materials in the media of visual arts, ceramics, photography, silk screen and graphic design. MyARTS also conducts business management training including business law, accounting, marketing, sales and research which allows teens to understand the logistics of bringing art to the marketplace.

By providing a safe and stimulating environment MyARTS seeks to reduce community crime and violence and decrease anti-social behavior and alienation among at-risk youths. The empowering and creative program redirects teens to employment and away from street crime and violence and exposed them to healthy activities that increase their self-efficacy and ability to earn an income.

The “Urban Expectations” event held at the MyARTS headquarters in Kansas City’s burgeoning arts district featured entertainment by DJ Kirby and food provided by restaurants and food purveyors from all corners of the county. Cost of the event was a mere $10 which could be applied to the purchase of art.

The art exhibit and sale offered a wide sampling of the high-quality original products being brought to market by the teen participants.

Paintings, drawings and sculptures filled the large loft space as well as fashion, ceramics and digital design. 

MyARTS operates an active retail operation as part of its mission.

The art gallery and shop is on the first floor of the facility at 1522 Holmes, Kansas City.

Each purchase is elegantly gift wrapped adding to the experience of purchasing one-of-a-kind art. Artists are also available to do commissioned work and frequently compete in the marketplace for small to medium scaled projects. 

To learn more about MyARTS, visit www.myartskc.org.