Young Artists Program

Arts and creative experiences for youth in high risk and unstable situation gives them a voice. Art programs lead by professional artists at local schools, youth shelters, recovery programs, and correctional facilities allow young artists to engage with art for personal exploration. They learn to express their identity and communicate their experiences in an artistic way that removes stigma and breaks out of social isolation for healing and rebuilding toward stabilityEvents.

The Arts Center’s Young Artist Program works with over 3,500 children per year who would otherwise not have access to art opportunities. Many come from families with low income, where English is not the first language, and/or more challenging situations like home insecurity or incarceration.  

Arts experiences designed for specifically for these youth in ceramics, sculpture, drawing, dance, music, poetry, theater, painting, and fiber arts. If you are interested in teaching for our at-risk programming, or would like more information, email Jen Cornelius, Integrated Arts Education and Outreach Coordinator.

Examples of engaging youth with creative experiences:

College Hill Tile quilt 3-1Weekly art at College Hill Alternative High School

The class surveys a variety of media.  The Art Center’s teaching artists work with a certified teacher so students receive credit.

Diana Ryan teaching drawing to Lincoln 4th & 5th gradersIn Public Schools

Professional teaching artists provide a variety of specialized artist residencies for students of all ages.

oak-creek-2Oak Creek Youth Correctional Facility

Young women (ages 12-21) in the transitional parole program at Oak Creek Correctional Facility participate in intensive visual arts and writing workshops with local artists.

Pinata made at Garfield ElementarySupport

Families can receive scholarship assistance so children can attend ceramics, painting, drawing, dance classes and arts camps at The Arts Center.


Every child deserves opportunities for creative expresssion that give them a voice. Thousands of students in Linn and Benton County no longer have the option of taking visual or performance art classes in their schools. Support for this outreach comes from funding sources with year-to-year variability.

From 2008-2016, funding for the Young Artist Program was provided by Maureen Ovregaard and her family. She gave an annual gift of $45,000 through a living trust that ended with her passing in Spring 2016. 

Donors who wish to remain anonymous have made a Three-Year Match Gift. Every individual donation up to $500 will be MATCHED dollar-for-dollar, up to $5000. Make a difference, and double your DONATION TODAY. Please consider making your donation part of a 3-year pledge. 

We also seek sustainable funding for this program. FMI Endowment Fund Giving.

Thanks to support for more arts experiences for youth from:

  • Oregon Arts Commission
  • Reser Family Foundation
  • Soroptimist International (Corvallis)
  • Consumers Power Foundation
  • Kiwanis Club of Corvallis
  • Many Hands Trading
  • Market of Choice, Art Bags 
  • Mullins Foundation