Richmond has a high concentration of non-profit organizations doing community-focused engagement on a variety of different levels across the city. As an employee for organizations such as ART 180, Visual Arts Center of Richmond, and Renew Richmond, Mikemetic has engaged with youth on extended projects around visual arts, music, computer science, and urban agriculture.
Leading programs in graphic design, DJ/vinyl appreciation and videography, I began working with the youth arts non-profit ART 180 in 2008. After several years as a Program Leader , I was selected to be the inaugural Program Coordinator for the organization’s new Jackson Ward teen artspace Atlas which opened in 2013. While in that position I was able to build on my skills as a organizer by coordinating events such as youth gallery shows, book release events, and community engagement activities.
ART 180 was the first youth arts organization I worked with after my son was born so I had a very different perspective on what I wanted to bring the kids I worked with. Children really are the future and it’s important that we responsibly pass on our knowledge to the next generation.
Being a volunteer and eventual employee for Renew Richmond provided me with a number of different opportunities to engage with youth through urban agriculture initiatives. By reaching out to students of all levels at both public and private schools in the city of Richmond, we were able to build interest in getting back to the earth and developing an appreciation for working outside growing food.
The integration of community-minded businesses within non-profit projects allows for collaborative expansion that every organization involved can benefit from. While “more hands make for lighter work” as the old adage says, more hands can also make for more robust creations. Youth can also have expanded mentor moments with individuals that have additional skills and experiences to share.
Visual Arts Center of Richmond
At Visual Arts Center of Richmond I was able to lead STEM-based coding classes during the school year for students from Binford Middle, as well as kids that enrolled in their Summer Artventure programs. My experience in both information technology and youth development has provided me with the skills to be an effective teacher of computer-based concepts in a creative engaging way that simultaneously increases student fun and concept retention.