Young Artist Opportunities


Inspiring young artists ensures a greater commitment to creativity and community that has a lifelong impact. We encourage area teens to express themselves through our youth programs. Toledo's teens need access to arts and creative opportunity now more than ever. For more than 30 years our programs have inspired thousands of Toledo youth to explore their individuality while working as a team to change their city for the better and to develop more fully into thoughtful and responsible citizens. Our YAAW and Congressional alumni can be found all over  Toledo and the world making a difference. 


Since 1994, Young Artists at Work (YAAW) has offered paid summer apprenticeships to area teens to learn creative skills and job skills alike and to connect to community through the creation of public art and salable works. Each year more than 40 teens from diverse neighborhoods and communities in and around Toledo come together to find a completely unique summer employment opportunity and access to an experience designed to impact for a lifetime.


Since 1983, in partnership with Congresswoman Kaptur, the Ninth Congressional District Invitational Art Exhibition has offered a fine arts and commercial design experience for area high school teens. The annual reception and awards ceremony is host to hundreds of students, friends, and families from across Ohio's Ninth Congressional District, offering a curated fine arts experience in a professional gallery setting. Cash awards are given, with the first place winner receiving the honor of having their work displayed in the U.S. Capitol for one year. 

Seeking Applicants for the Young Artists At Work Coordinator Position

Would you like to empower a great team of creatives to inspire the next leaders of our community?


Opportunity:  The Arts Commission invites applications for contracted part-time employment for nine months (February thru September 2018) to coordinate our six-week summer youth employment program (June 25 – August 3, 2018). Responsibilities include but will not be limited to:  input in planning, oversight of all recruitment efforts, and supervision of the YAAW program's daily operations.

The ideal candidates have demonstrated experience working with youth from diverse backgrounds AND have demonstrated talents in an administrative environment.  Experience creating or facilitating community based or public artwork is also preferred but not required.

Qualifications:  Masters or Bachelors Degree in counseling, art therapy, art education, social work, humanities or professional artist; demonstrated experience coordinating youth programs (preferably ages 14-18); experience working with diverse populations; familiarity with the arts (visual, performing, or literary), demonstrated ability to lead & manage others and to problem solve; ability to communicate well in oral and written formats; proficiency with email, Google Applications and Microsoft Office Suite.

This position is an independent contractor position with a fixed rate salary, disbursed in several installments.

Apply to be a YAAW apprentice

Are you 14 - 18 years old? Do you want to apply for the job of your life? Has a friend urged you to become a YAAW apprentice?

Application Deadline for the 2018 Program: Friday, March 23.  Applications submitted after this deadline will be marked for possible consideration by the hiring committee.  Applications received after March 23rd are not guaranteed to be accepted.  All applicants will be notified in mid April regarding the status of their application.

If you consider yourself creative, being hired as a Young Artists At Work (YAAW) apprentice will be an amazing summer experience.  During an intense 6 weeks, you will meet new people and develop your skills in art making and creative expression.  You will also learn more about who you are, creating a greater sense of self, to push your creative limits.


What is expected of YAAW apprentices?

If employed, you will be assigned to work on a variety of VISUAL art projects either in groups or individually.  These projects may include but are not limited to: painting a community mural, sketching/drawing and creating saleable works of art in the form of ceramics, bronze casting, photography, printmaking, and sculpture.  You may also be asked to perform in a play, write poetry, or design and update websites, brochures, and posters for the YAAW program.


The position as a YAAW apprentice is a paid job.  As good employees, all apprentices will be expected to arrive on time, be productive, be respectful of art staff and fellow apprentices, follow directions and dress appropriately.


The YAAW program will take place June 25 – August 3, 2018.  Missing more than three days of work is cause for termination.  If an applicant has other summer engagements (family vacations, football, band camp, etc.) that will require missing more than three days, he or she will be required to choose between YAAW employment and the other engagement.


Apprentices are also expected to have reliable transportation every day to your job.  This could include the use of the TARTA bus system.


How much will I get paid as a YAAW apprentice?

YAAW apprentices are paid minimum wage ($8.15 per hour) and work 30 hours per week for 6 weeks:


Daily Monday – Friday

From 9:00am – 4:00pm with a one hour unpaid lunch.

For six weeks Monday, June 25 – Friday, August 3, 2018

YAAW will NOT be in session on Wednesday, July 4, 2018 in observance of Independence Day.  Apprentices will not receive holiday pay for this day.


How do I apply to be a YAAW apprentice?

  • The youth applicant should fill out his/her online application at the below button no later than Friday, March 23, 2018.  Applications submitted after this deadline will be marked for possible consideration by the hiring committee.  Applications received after March 23rd are not guaranteed to be accepted.  All applicants will be notified in mid April regarding the status of their application.
  • Let your parent(s) / guardian(s) know that they will have a form to fill out as part of your application no later than Friday, March 30, 2018.
  • Invite a person who you are NOT related to, but who knows you well to serve as your recommender.  This person should be able to detail your art skills and interests as well as describe who you are as a person.  Let this person know that they will have a form to fill out as part of your application no later than Friday, March 30, 2018.


What information do I need to have ready to apply to be a YAAW apprentice?

 The on-line application for this job will ask you to provide the below information

  • Your personal information (name, address, phone, alternate phone, email, birthdate, name of school, year in school)
  • If you had a prior job(s), the name of your employer(s) and position(s)
  • An explanation of why you would like to be selected for the YAAW program
  • Your creative talents in the visual arts, digital media or performance arts
  • Name, email and phone number of a Parent / Legal Guardian.  By providing their contact information, we have a way to get the required form to them for completion.
  • Name, email and phone number of a someone NOT related to you that still knows you very well and who would be good for filling out a recommendation form for your application.  By providing their contact information, we have a way to get the required form to them for completion.
  • Are you a US citizen?


What if I need help with my YAAW application or need access to technology to fill out the online application?

 Call 419-254-2787 extension 1015 to schedule a help session or other accommodations.

What happens after I submit my online application?

Your parent / guardian will be emailed a link to complete a form needed for your application to be considered complete.  Similarly, your non-relative recommender will be emailed a link to the recommendation form also needed for your application to be considered complete.  Please note that the parent / guardian will be emailed immediately upon the youth applicant submitting his or her application.  The non-relative recommender will receive an email within 3-5 days of the youth applicant submitting his or her application.


Please be sure to tell your parent / guardian AND your recommender that you have applied to YAAW, and they should be receiving an email to help you complete your application.


All three parts of the application must be received in order for the applicant to be considered for employment.


The status of your application will be communicated electronically, which will be sent to the email address you provided on your application.  If your email address, phone number or mailing address has changed since your application, please call our office ASAP to update your application information.  All applicants will be sent an email no later than April 13 confirming application status.  Please call our offices at (419) 254-2787 and press 0, if you have not received an email from us by this date.

All candidates will be asked to bring in a portfolio or samples of their VISUAL artwork if scheduled for an in-person interview.  We suggest bringing in 3-5 samples of your best VISUAL artwork, which may include digital imaging.

Parent and Guardian please note

As the youth applicant engages in this online application process, not only is he or she being considered for a summer job in the arts, he or she is also gaining the valuable experience of applying and interviewing for employment.  The Arts Commission has an expectation that the youth applicant completes the youth application to gain professional experience.



Want to recommend a young artist for YAAW?

Teacher, counselor, minister, mentor, or parent. You know our community best.  Do you know a 14-18 year old student who would benefit from the Young Artists at Work experience?  We're interested in your recommendations for area youth who would benefit from a dynamic six-week paid summer apprenticeship in the arts. Click on the below button to submit a recommendation on his/her behalf. Remind the youth to complete his/her youth application at the button above.

Inspiring a Vibrant Toledo

Student Artists recognized with awards during 34th annual Ninth Congressional District Invitational Art Exhibition for High School Students

A Moral Quandry by Amanda Gargac. This artwork received top award in the 2017 Exhibition, with granted privilege to display in the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington D.C. for one year alongside artworks representing other Congressional Districts across the nation.

Congressional Winner - Amanda Gargac (Cardinal Stritch)

Congressional Runner-Up Awards - Anyse Doss (Whitmer) and Elyza Mihalski (Lakewood)

Congressional Honorable Mentions - Andrew Blachowski (Whitmer), Jake Boyk (St. John's Jesuit), Micah Inak (Lakewood), Miranda Mauk (Bowsher), Amelia McDonnell (Lakewood), Cameron Jackson Patton (St. John's Jesuit) and Alyssa Radtke (Cardinal Stritch)

Commercial Design Winner - Ambrosia Trout (Bowsher)

Commercial Honorable Mentions - Lillie Boose (Perkins), Christina Daniel (Toledo School for the Arts), Olivia Parr (Toledo School for the Arts) and Josh Trout (Perkins)

Baldwin Wallace University Award - Emily Rodriquez (Bowsher)

BGSU School of Art Awards - Amelia McDonnell (Lakewood), Zachary Miller (Toledo School for the Arts) and Alyssa Radtke (Lakewood)

UT Center for the Visual Arts Awards - Jake Boyk (St. John's Jesuit) and Josh Trout (Perkins)

Lourdes University Department of Art Award - Samantha Cornell (Toledo School for the Arts)

Law Firm of Eastman and Smith Award - Paige Davis (Notre Dame)

Valko and Associates Award - Crystal Buckman (Whitmer)

Inspiration Award - Victoria Gregg (Lakewood)

Rudolph Libbe Companies Inc. Award - Adrian Yerdon (Perkins)

HCR ManorCare Awards - Christina Daniel (Toledo School for the Arts), Zachary Miller (Toledo School for the Arts), Andrea Oltean (Lakewood), Cameron Jackson Patton (St. John's Jesuit) and Hannah Wilson (Perkins)

American Frame Rising Star Award - Maggie Marx (Bowsher)

Law Firm of Spengler Nathanson Award - Gabriella Tatkowski (Bowsher)

Downtown Toledo Coffee Cup Awards - Ben Carr (Bowsher) and Micah Inak (Lakewood)

The Arts Commission Instagram Feed