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Photo: Ryan, 16, working on tables
From 10am to 5pm on November 19th, West Elm’s Wayland Square location will host a pop-up shop for Riverzedge Arts, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to providing art and design career training for northern RI teens. From handmade tables and small furniture to select kitchenware and unique RI-themed apparel, this art event supports the continuance of creative artists while experiencing the next step in commercial success – the marketing and selling of functional design items.
According to Executive Director Kristen Williams, the opportunity to see their work showcased in such a respected venue is crucial but rare for young artists. “It’s important that they see that their work has value, and being featured at West Elm will absolutely give youth a sense of confidence and accomplishment.”
The Arts Education and Training (AET) program at Riverzedge Arts is composed of four studios operating as independent micro-enterprises, and participating teens are paid an hourly wage to create products for retail sale as well as provide custom art and design services for commercial clients. Working alongside professional artists on each project, teens develop industry-standard skills and techniques that can support them in careers both in and beyond the arts.
“But this is also a great opportunity for shoppers,” said Williams. “We love donations, but we’re also an art and design company. We’re proud of the work we produce, and we hope customers will want to buy what we make for its beauty and utility as well as for the benefits the program provides for youth. This a great chance for folks to do good AND get a terrific, unique product.”
Pieces available vary from handmade tables and small furniture to select kitchenware and even unique RI-themed apparel. For more information, interested parties can contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 401-767-2100.
About Riverzedge Arts – Founded in 2002 by artists, youth development professionals, and community leaders, the mission of Riverzedge Arts is to use innovative applied and work-based strategies to teach art, design, and critical thinking to the youth of northern RI, putting our participants as well as our community on a path to economic and cultural sustainability.