Fired Up! Teen After School Program
Award-winning teen after-school program that combines art-making with entrepreneurship
FIRED UP! was launched in the Fall of 2004 as a tuition-free, after- school program for Benton Harbor teens and holds the distinction of being the second oldest youth glass program in the country. The inspiration for FIRED UP! came from American Glass Master Dale Chihuly’s Hilltop Project for youth in Tacoma Washington. FIRED UP! is open to students ages 12-18 and requires a two-year commitment. Teen students work in one of four studios: glassblowing, glass beadmaking/jewelry design, fused glass, and glass mosaic. Students meet once a week and are taught by highly qualified instructors.
The technical demands of glass make it the ideal vehicle for personal change. In FIRED UP! teens learn teamwork, focus, patience, and trust which is turn raises grades, fosters leadership skills, and instills a positive outlook on their future. FIRED UP! teens become a part of the WSG ‘family’ and fulfill many public duties at the school as volunteer greeters, docents, sales assistants, studio assistants, etc. at events.
Fired Up! artists participate in a series of in-house and regional exhibitions. The Year culminates in a professional marketing experience at the Krasl Art Fair in neighboring St. Joseph, ranked in the top 10 art fairs in the nation. Fired Up! teens exhibit their work in their own booth and receive job skills training and proudly serve as cultural ambassadors for the community .
Teen artists also participate in area juried art shows and an annual field trip to experience other glass facilities and museums. Teens develop their marketing skills by writing professional artists’ statements, titling, inventorying, pricing and selling their work. These advanced requirements are geared to an early college level and set the program apart from the usual ‘make & take’ artmaking experiences.
In addition to their individual work, each studio is collectively responsible for designing and producing a production item to be sold alongside their work at the Krasl Art Fair. Artists receive 70% from sales of their individual work and 30% goes for their material costs. 100% of their sales of production work is reinvested into the program. The teens are very proud of this “pay it forward” aspect of the program and set a goal of seating one new student in the program annually.
Fired Up! needs more adult volunteers for the program to provide snacks, drive students, mentor and assist at the Krasl Art Fair. Get involved today and discover what it means to get Fired Up! Call the office for details at 269.925.5555.