Recipient of the 2011 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award and the 2006 Major’s Award for Excellence in the Arts

PlatteForum is an award-winning and innovative arts, youth-development, and artist-in-residence program in Denver that teams underserved, at-risk urban youth (K-12) with contemporary master artists in intensive, structured, and long-term creative learning environments. Youth work side by side with resident artists to collaboratively plan, produce, and exhibit a body of work in an environment in which artistic excellence is highly valued. Youth in PlatteForum’s programs delve into a variety of art forms, confronting challenges and obstacles and making life-changing discoveries about who they are, what they are capable of achieving, and where they belong in the world.

PlatteForum’s programs are grounded in a belief that the arts are one of the primary meanssummer2008imgthrough which we can develop a vibrant and thriving community of healthy, compassionate, and innovative individuals. Though a vehicle of consistent, high-quality programming, the lives of youth we serve–those who have the fewest opportunities and lack access to the arts and mentoring relationships–are transformed. We provide a safe environment for youth to explore events in their lives, take risks, create and present art, receive critical feedback, learn from professional artists, learn to work as part of a team, and develop personal, academic, and life skills that stay with them forever.

We host five accomplished professional artists annually (selected through a competitive international selection process); each resident dedicates 6-8 hours weekly to workshops with youth during the two-month residency period. These 2-3-hour interactive workshops (Learning Labs) build on the ideas and forms of the resident and culminate in a body of work by youth that is presented to the public through exhibitions and performances, each beginning with a public opening reception in which youth have the opportunity to celebrate and talk about their work. High-school-age youth, who each spend an average of 350 hours annually at PlatteForum in our intensive ArtLab internship program, also mentor younger children in Learning Labs. Learning Lab youth come from partner schools and other at-risk-youth-serving nonprofits, and we complement and integrate with our partners’ curriculum and learning objectives.

Annually, we serve more than 1,500 youth, families, and community members. Our programs are designed to increase academic success while reducing problem and delinquent behaviors, providing a springboard from which youth can identify and reach educational and personal goals. 100% of Learning Lab youth are eligible for free or reduced lunch. On average, youth identify as 50-60% Latino/a; 20-30% African American; 15-20% Caucasian; 5-10% Asian, and 5-10% Native American (many identify as bi/multiracial, however). Their life experiences include abuse, family members’ substance abuse, transient living situations, involvement with the juvenile justice system, mental illness, generational poverty, being “in the system” their entire lives, and irregular school attendance, often at low-performing schools.

2400 Curtis Street
Denver, Colorado 80205