The primary goal of the Grier Heights Community Youth Arts Program is to have participating youth experience art to build self-esteem, develop self and mutual respect, make wise life choices, strive for excellence, exercise healthy life skills, and realize the importance of becoming great through service.

Residing in a marginalized and challenged community, the student participants are overcomers and maintain good grades, participate in extracurricular activities, and thrive well, as they often work through sensitive personal, family, and community occurrences.  In fact, several of them are honor students and have entered community or four-year colleges, or they have gone on to the regular workforce after graduation. Apart from art, students also learn about their African heritage, Spanish language, and holistic wellness through teen health education offered in the program. They are inspired by chats with city and county officials who visit the program, and they learn through visits to both Mint locations, field trips to theatrical productions, and cultural sessions of drumming, dancing, spoken word, and poetry writing.  They experience numerous hands-on activities such as self-image storyboard illustration, painting, and various forms of design, including jewelry and fiber designs, making African-inspired accessories and room decor.

A group of young kids smiling for a picture with their handmade art.

The program is managed by the Community Relations Department and the Director of Community Relations.