Youth Art Connection (YAC) uses the arts as a means to connect with underserved children and teens in Atlanta, Georgia. As a program of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta, YAC utilizes the arts to address issues related to youth culture and collaborates with multiple sectors of the community to provide innovative and challenging cultural enrichment programs for young people.
From 5,000 square feet of gallery space in downtown Atlanta, YAC annually serves more than 8,000 kids, ranging in age from 6 to 18. Throughout the year, numerous youth exhibits are displayed in the gallery, and all are open free to the public.
YAC endeavors to assist youth in understanding themselves and their world while exploring individual creativity and self expression. Artist-driven programs play a major role, engaging national and regional artists in projects that challenge both the artists and their young collaborators. Each year, YAC hosts a variety of programs and workshops in many media ranging from fine arts to photography to creative writing to digital creations.
YAC is also home to International PaintPals (IPP), a program originally created in former President Jimmy Carter's The Atlanta Project. Over the last ten years, IPP has organized numerous major exhibitions for the Olympic Games in both Atlanta and Greece, the United Nations, UNICEF, the Goodwill Games, the Admiralty in St. Petersburg, Russia, and more. With over 100,000 young people from more than 55 countries on 6 continents, IPP continues to grow and expand the international reach of YAC. IPP organized an exhibit in conjunction with the Beijing Youth Federation to in June 2008 in celebration of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.