Creating Space for Educating and Inspiring Youth
First City Art Alliance, Inc. dba First City Art Center
The mission of First City Art Center (FCAC) is to engage the imagination, inspire creative exploration, and cultivate economic and cultural growth in Pensacola and the Gulf Coast region through its hands-on community art center. FCAC is actively involved in bringing art, culture, and entertainment to the local community through a broad range of workshops, classes, art exhibits, community events, outreach, and field trip programs. FCAC cultivates a creative culture that encourages people of all backgrounds, ages, and skill levels to explore, participate and experiment with art. FCAC’s programming and projects primarily serve the local community ages 5 to 95 in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties. Current programs include but are not limited to ceramics, glassblowing, flame-working and glass bead making, stained glass, drawing, painting, mixed media, and summer art camps for children and teens. FCAC has a mobile glassblowing studio that visits Title One Schools 1-2 times per month as well as frequents Gallery Night in Pensacola and local festivals.
The primary goal for this project is to expand FCAC’s Youth Art Program building from just one to three classrooms: one classroom geared toward younger children, another renovated to accommodate older children/teenagers, and a new tech-inspired STEAM classroom addition to expand our vision of youth art educational programming by incorporating STEAM concepts, utilizing and solidifying a new partnership with IHMC. IMPACT 100 funds will be used to renovate and expand the Youth Art Program building, adding two additional classrooms. A new 530 sq. ft. addition will create space for a new STEAM classroom with the purpose of engaging hands-on, creative scientific thinking and innovation. This construction project will provide the necessary space for local teenagers and children to experiment with ideas and explore a variety of interactions between science, technology, engineering, art, and math concepts. An existing garage area will also be renovated to create a mixed-media classroom space. This funding will allow for increased programming, enable FCAC to better serve our community, and accommodate all guests with a handicapped accessible bathroom and accessible fixtures throughout.
Nearly 6,000 students have been served through FCAC’s field trip program and outreach program to 17 Title One schools in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties. Demand for classes continues to grow and an even greater number of youths could be served if there were more space for classes. The increase in programs afforded by this addition will allow FCAC to grow the number and size of events and increase the support base, while outfitting the new Youth Art Program spaces with better tools for success. As most schools are eliminating or cutting back arts education, there is a significant gap in our culture's current understanding of and appreciation for the arts. FCAC helps fill that void by giving people opportunities to find their passion and learn a variety of ways to creatively express themselves. The funds requested will increase the number of classes and workshop offerings in the Youth Art Program and will improve the ability of FCAC to establish a broader base of support by expanding marketing and outreach efforts. Now, more than ever, it is crucial to make learning both stimulating and exciting. It is imperative that youth are engaged in thinking and problem solving, as these skills are essential tools in both life and work situations. By providing expanded resources to local teens, FCAC is giving them tools to express their personal voices through creative visual experimentation in video, sound, mixed media, graphic design, illustration, and digital photography.