Urban ArtWorks 


Our core programming is our out of school public art program, which employs, trains and mentors at-risk and adjudicated youth ages 14 –18. During the 8 week sessions they work together to learn how to paint large scale public murals, and gain work and life skills along the way. 

It is no secret that many young people in our communities lack the vital support needed for healthy development. When youth do not receive critical guidance, opportunities, appreciation and services, their quality of life diminishes. This deterioration leads to a broad spectrum of personal and societal problems ranging from academic failure and depression to substance abuse and delinquency. By supporting and fostering the immense potential of our youth, we help them learn how becoming a positive leader can improve their lives and future as well as the community around them.

The youth and communities we serve represent all backgrounds and ethnicities; some youth are homeless, parenting teens, foster children or youth receiving substance rehabilitation. We do not discriminate them based on their past. 70% of our court involved youth in our mural programs do not re-offend and leave our program prepared for their next steps as positive and productive citizens.
Mission Statement
Urban ArtWorks empowers underserved youth and invigorates communities through the creation of murals and public art. Since 1995, our programs have fostered a new sense of self-esteem, self-motivation and self-sufficiency for youth through work readiness training and subsidized employment in the arts throughout King County.
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Urban ArtWorks
815 Seattle Blvd S Ste B7 
(206) 292-4142 

Kathleen Warren 


Urban ArtWorks Programs

Urban ArtWorks’ employs at-risk and adjudicated youth both during the summer and the school year. We work closely with King County Juvenile Court to reach these rarely served youth. Each youth receives interview training and a formal interview with our director and teaching artists. Artworks contracts these art teachers to train, mentor, guide and support the youth in successfully completing the program. Located in the Inscape Arts Building, we have a large, youth-friendly studio. 

Summer and After-school Weekday Program Partnering with community stakeholders, the youth design and paint large outdoor murals (in good weather) and panels (in off seasons) that are permanently displayed in the community. Youth graduate the program with increased self worth and work readiness skills, most youth do not reoffend and utilize their newly acquired interview and team work skills to apply for their next jobs. 

Saturday Girls Program
 A female teaching artist creates art with all young women who are escaping abuse, gangs and prostitution in a safe “no boys allowed” environment. A very successful program, developed because of an obvious sensitivity many at risk young woman face with men in their lives. Most participants ask to come back as volunteers or interns.

Community Building and Volunteer Opportunities: Throughout the year, we lead groups from schools and organizations who wish to make a mural that will beautify or deter vandalism on a specific wall. We provide volunteer and service learning opportunities that offer our youth social and life skills, as well as bring communities together through the creation and revitalization process.

Recent Successes and Current Challenges

Two recent Highlights/Accomplishments:
In the Fall of 2013 our Board of Directors planned an fundraiser of multidisciplinary arts. There was music, dance and painting that all responded to each other. One of our highlights was that one of our former youth came back to us as a participating artist and created a beautiful painting of a colorful diamond. She then got up in front of a few hundred people at the event and spoke in her own words about how everyone deserves a chance to become the diamond they are on the inside. Her voice let everyone know that ArtWorks gave her that chance to shine and changed her life.

Urban ArtWorks recently contracted with a writing teacher to work alongside our painting teacher. It was a perfect fit and a completely unexpected accompaniment to painting and designing murals, as it taught youth how to speak about themselves and to express feelings about their lives and the way they respond to art. Having a poet in residence actually changed the daily conversations amongst youth about life, music, art and dreams and allowed them to eloquently discuss differences in opinions with escalating their tones. 

Current Needs
Urban ArtWorks raises more than 50% of our less than $200,000 budget through mural commissions. But unrestricted donations such as yours go directly into running, strengthening and building our youth arts programs, these donations are the most valuable contribution we receive. Below are some financial, volunteer and in-kind donation opportunities and needs.
  • Financial Donations
  • Paid Mural Commissions
  • Ladder/Lift Donations
  • Mural Installation/Contractor service donations
  • Board members (interested in accounting or IT)
  • Corporate Sponsorship/Partnership
  • Healthy Snack and Drink Donations for youth


Grant History with The Seattle Foundation:

Grants Awarded through The Seattle Foundation Grantmaking Program:

9/17/2008 $10,000.00support general operating expenses.
10/5/2006 $10,000.00support general operating expenses.


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