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Oakland Green Youth Media Arts Center

Oakland Green Youth Media Arts Center is one of the inaugural businesses within the CAP Business Coaching Program.

Oakland Youth Media Arts Center LogoThe Oakland Green Youth Arts & Media Center is one of the first arts and multimedia centers dedicated to both ecological awareness, as well as artistic and professional development for underserved youth in the nation.  By working as a coalition with other non-profit partners to offer media arts and green job readiness training with wraparound services, this Center aspires to prepare youth to join either the entertainment or green industries. Further, through business/entrepreneurial mentorship, it will prepare its constituents to enter the marketplace with business-to-consumer and business-to-business ventures. The Center will provide the basis for training, operations, structure, and resources — all that is needed to achieve the success of youth businesses incubated at the Center. Eventually, peer-to-peer training and networking will carry both the Center and it’s constituents forward. Green For All strongly believes that the Center will serve as a model for other cities and community development entities, and that its management – who is also participating in our Business Coaching Program – can exchange stories and best practices with similar centers across the globe.

Several months prior to its soft launch, a group of youth leaders convened to be part of a green design team that eventually became staff at the Center. Though still a work in progress, the Center features four soundproofed media and recording studios, offices, a dance studio, a secured reception area and a spacious central area for our mobile computer lab. The Center’s management is proud that the building was re-constructed using no VOC (non-toxic) paints, eco-carpeting, a bamboo dance floor, planter boxes, an aquaponics garden, and a recycling program.
The Center is strategically located in a turf neutral zone that serves youth from all neighborhoods in the Bay Area. What the founders have seen is that the power of art and creative expression offer healing, personal and community empowerment, and a pathway out of a life of violence and jail. Many youth leaders they work with are peacemakers that become spokespeople for social justice movements.

From the beginning, partner organizations were committed to the construction of a center built using environmentally sustainable practices, and to offering programming in eco-literacy to support the creation of pathways to green jobs. As a result, the Center is a byproduct of Art in Action’s collaboration with special partners Colored Ink, Grind for the Green, and the Community Rejuvenation Project.

Ultimately, these organizations worked together, and were able to turn an abandoned community center on Telegraph Avenue into the first ever Green Youth Arts & Media Center.  Of course, this was also made possible through generous funding from the Black Eyed Peas’ Peapod Foundation, a Charitable Services Fund of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, with support from the Adobe Foundation, the City of Oakland, RSF Social Finance, the Mitchell Kapor Foundation, the AEPOCH foundation, and fiscal sponsor YES! (aka Youth for Environmental Sanity), as well as several family foundations and individual donors; and thousands of dollars worth of pro-bono construction labor from the Center for Advancement of Sustainable Technologies (CAST).  Without their collective contributions, the Oakland Green Youth Arts & Media Center would still be an idea, not the inspiring reality it is today.

Contact Development Director, Simmy Makhijani – [email protected] to find out how you can support this amazing community project. To learn more about the Green Youth Arts & Media Center: and For media inquiries: [email protected] or [email protected]

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