Community Arts Partner

Participant Details

Community Arts Partner Name
Youth in Focus
Partner Type
Profile Photo
Individual Bio or
Organizational Statement
Our mission is to amplify teen voice through photography and arts education. We value art as a powerful medium of change to create a healthy, vibrant, more equitable and just society for all. Through this work, we aim to confront and dismantle systemic oppression in all of its forms. Youth in Focus provides after-school, summer, and partner programs of Digital and Darkroom photography for teens aged 13-19 furthest from educational justice. Our program focuses on Social and Emotional Learning, 21st century skill development, and courage and risk taking through art. We offer pay-what-you can tuition and free bus passes to make our program accessible to all. Due to COVID-19, we have shifted much of our programming to an online platform to continue providing teens with a safe and supportive community in which they can learn, grow and create.

Contact Information

First Name
Last Name
2100 24th Avenue South
Address 2
Suite 310
WA - Washington

Grade Levels Preferred

Grade Levels Preferred
K-2, 3rd - 5th, 6th - 8th, 9th - 12th

Artistic Disciplines

Digital Photography: Introductory courses use digital cameras and editing software to teach foundational artistic principles. Students will learn manual camera operation, photo editing using Adobe Lightroom, inkjet printing and relevant contemporary/historic examples. In intermediate and advanced courses, students photograph in full manual mode using DSLR cameras and learn more advanced editing techniques such as compositing and layer masks, which are introduced in Adobe Photoshop. Digital photography courses can be tailored to include specific themes and outcomes based on classroom lessons and school priorities such as, but not limited to: Self & Identity, Social Justice and Storytelling.
Digital/Media Arts, Visual Art, Digital and Darkroom Photography


Previous School Partnerships
Alder Interagency, Hamilton Middle School, Northgate Elementary School, Salmon Bay School, Summit Sierra Charter School, Washington Middle School, Whitman Middle School, Denny International Middle School
Other Trainings or Certifications
Youth Program Quality Initiative (YPQI) with School's Out Washington
Sample Lesson Description: Student / Classroom Residencies
Program Goals
  • Safe and Supportive Environment: Create a place for youth to learn and grow where everyone feels valued and has a sense of belonging. Reinforce and model positive relationships with caring adult teachers and mentors.
  • Equitable Access to Arts Education: Forge pathways and eliminate opportunity gaps for those students furthest from educational justice.
  • 21st Century Skills: Teach creativity, collaboration, communication, critical thinking, perseverance, and growth mindset so youth are prepared to succeed and thrive in education, life, and / or career. Ensure students can name the skills they have developed and readily understand how to transfer them to other areas of their life.
  • Planning and Leadership: Involve youth voice in planning, co-creating, and facilitating activities.
  • Empathy and Tolerance: Through art and photography, inclusive dialogue, and exposure to others from diverse backgrounds, cultivate empathy and tolerance amongst youth participants to foster a healthy, vibrant, and more equitable society.
How We Teach As an arts education organization that uses photography as our tool, we strive to find a balance between teaching young creatives about photography in an environment conducive to encouraging growth, emotional learning and strong, independent thinking. Classes are a mix of art and technical instruction, activities and projects that provide a framework for a diverse student body to learn, grow, ask questions, take artistic risks, challenge the status quo and explore their own artistic voice. Course Overview Youth in Focus syllabi offer a thoughtful and comprehensive exploration of the discipline of photography and can be designed in partnership with the School Arts Team incorporating the following development skills:
  • Creativity, Decision Making, Communication, Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Leadership, Perseverance, Goal Setting & Planning, Self-Advocacy, Responsibility/Accountability, Mindfulness and Reflection, Visual Literacy
Sample Workshop Description: Teacher Professional Development

Areas of Experience and Expertise

Approved Professional Development Provider
Approved Classroom Residency Provider
Experience with English Language Learners
Experience with Students in Special Education

Lesson Plan

Integrated Art
Cultural Art

Teaching Approach

Teaching Philosophy + Approach
We believe all youth, especially those furthest from educational justice, should have equitable access to high quality arts education to develop their creative potential and the 21st century skills they need to become successful leaders and positive contributors to their communities.     High quality arts education programming provided by Youth in Focus yields not only these skills and outcomes, but also teaches empathy and tolerance, which ultimately fosters a healthy, vibrant, and more equitable and just community for all. Photography is an exceptional art form for working with youth to create authentic engagement, address barriers, and to combat isolation and disconnection. In our classes, youth will have the opportunity to collaborate to provide feedback and reflection to strengthen their communication and art-making skills to produce excellent photographs that reflect the unique voice of each participant.
Curriculum Integration Possibilities
Digital photography can be universally integrated into any curriculum because it teaches youth how to engage their peers through visual communication and how to tell a powerful story to promote awareness and personal voice. For 2019/2020, we are focused on these four YQPI areas that can be integrated into classroom curriculum:
  • Reflection/Feedback, Leadership, Collaboration, Mindfulness
In addition, our digital photography workshops also include a Visual Literacy and Vocabulary which go hand in hand with our guiding principles of creating equitable access to the arts. This includes: elements and principles of design, being able to read and interpret an image, and being able to effectively communicate with others (in writing and verbally) about images. These areas of youth development and creative arts education pair well with media, technology, arts and humanities classes.
Special Skills and Areas of Expertise
Youth in Focus is dedicated to providing our teaching artists with hands on activities and strategies for high quality arts instruction, integration and continued YPQI and 21st Century skills building. They attend workshops facilitated by School's Out Washington, ArtsEd Washington, MENTOR Washington, the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture and Seattle Public Schools. All of our professional teaching artists are experts in their respective photography fields and have ample experience both in the classroom and on location at various photography shoots. They receive ongoing support and training from Youth in Focus staff members when developing their lesson plans and curriculum and value collaborating with schools. Our teaching artists also have experience with various grade levels and youth with different learning needs.
Testimonials from Schools
  • "We loved working with Youth In Focus! When providing programming inside a juvenile detention center adaptability is crucial and I appreciated willingness to cater the program to the interests of the youth!" - Alder Interagency
  • "We were thrilled with how photography went in the fall and we would love to have you back." - Hamilton Middle School
  • "The program that Youth in Focus delivered into our Launch classrooms was exceptional! They were able to transform their program into 10-weeks of virtual instruction that smoothly integrated photography concepts, technology, camera use and youth originality.  Lastly, I (a Latinx/immigrant identifying person) was SO appreciative that Youth in Focus included BIPOC teachers in their videos and that instruction was curated for the development of 3rd-5th grade because as a camper stated, 'YIF was the only vendor that didn’t talk baby-ish to us!' Launch is so in love with how empowered our campers and teachers felt in becoming observers of their own lives." - Launch


- Three-hour program minimum, can be split up between 1, 2 or 3 days - Hourly rate is $75 for up to 10 students and includes all digital photography equipment; one or two prep hours may be needed depending on scope of the workshop - Additional $10/hour per youth over the initial 10 - Optional supply costs vary such as Polaroid film and sunprint/Cyanotype paper


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Youth learning about natural lighting
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Students leading critique
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Our digital lab
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Youth show off their self portraits
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Our youth photographing while on a field trip


Video Description
Learn More about Youth in Focus!
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