Youth Art Exchange was founded with a fundamental belief that youth need art. Art changes lives, builds connections, and makes communities thrive- especially when led by the creative minds of young people. This belief has resonated throughout our organization as we have provided free programming for San Francisco public high school students- youth who otherwise may not be able to access the arts. We know that not all of our youth will go on to be artists, but we hope that they keep a lifelong interest in the arts.
In 2018 when we founded [x]space arts hub, we worked to spark more connections to the arts in San Francisco, for youth, communities of color, and those threaded together by creativity. From a meat market that was closed for nearly a decade, we made a place for all to come together through art.
We wanted to break down the walls of exhibiting and experiencing art, and developed our (415) Public Gallery open curation project. We wanted to put our ideas forward that art builds community and that we all need art. By bringing people together through exhibition- strangers, friends, community members, and those already connected to YAX, we held a space where people felt connected through their work and through seeing the work of others. We were deeply saddened to hear of the sudden death of Pablo Ramirez, one of the artists who participated in collaborative pieces for the show and had been a part of the space as an artist and audience member.
Pablo made a lasting impact on our organization and for all those that met him. As a young person, Pablo was able to participate in arts education and carry that through his life as a skateboarder, artist, musician and friend. His creativity was collaborative and contagious, and demonstrates the impact of the arts in his life as a young person. While our connection to Pablo was brief, the impact of his art is lasting.
Here is a link to the Datebook by SF Chronicle posted about the artwork of Pablo Ramirez and his partner, Elyse, and their involvement with the show.