If you don’t know about 4youth Productions, now’s the time to learn. The Wilmington-based nonprofit has been making strides across the STEAM fields in recent years, giving middle-school students access to lessons and materials they wouldn’t traditionally receive in the classroom.
And the org shows no signs of slowing down.
Just last month, 4youth announced the opening of a new headquarters on Superfine Lane in Wilmington, an addition digital artist and 4youth President Raphael Dahan said will enable the group to explore new projects and teach more children.
This is a step up from its current operation, which only hosts programs in certain schools. Albeit small, the new location is bound to have a big impact on the amount of artwork and designs created by students.
The new studio, which is set to open in September, will feature a multifunctional space, designed to teach engineering, cooking and science lessons, with the largest component being the photography area. Canon cameras, Elinchrom lighting equipment, professional printers and Macs are just a few of the tools you’ll find there. Drone photography can’t be ruled out either.
“We want our students to be able to get education in all future technologies, [and] hopefully inspire them to [look at] new career opportunities that might not have been considered otherwise,” Dahan said.
Nick Martin, a chemical engineer and 4youth board member, said with the added space comes more opportunities for students to explore the worlds of science and the arts.
“By having our own studio space, we will be able to teach classes later during the weekdays and also open up for weekend programming,” he said. “As we continue to expand, our student artwork portfolio follows. Having a HQ will also provide us with the opportunity do much more [in-depth] photography productions since we will have more time and space to build the set, as well as better and more equipment.”
The new HQ is just one of the many ways 4youth has seen success lately. Since its start in 2013, it has grown tremendously, from just 40 students in one school to more than 230 students across five locations. Earlier this month 4youth helped bring Gravity, the first STEAM festival of its kind, to Wilmington.
“We were able to show over 150 inner-city kids what it’s like to be an artist and scientist for the day,” Martin said. “Students rotated between a variety of activities and experiments to get them thinking about potential longterm career paths in science, technology, engineering, art and science.”
That’s not all they have up their sleeve. Dahan said 4youth is also in the midst of expanding to Philadelphia, which will give even more students the chance to learn and discover new technology.
The hope is to continue the upward trend of student interest in art and innovation, a goal that doesn’t seem too far-fetched, especially with a new space to call their own.-30-
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