Young Artist Background


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.

Young Artists at Work Pop Up Shop

July 31 & August 7

Support our Young Artists at Work Program by visiting the Pop Up Shop at the Toledo Farmer’s Market! The shop features original works of art like watercolors, stickers, embroidery, collage, and more. All funds raised support the continuation of the program.


Elevating Arts Education

Program Sponsor

At The Image Group, we imagine a community where everyone who is in need is served and everyone who is fortunate does something great. While our business serves clients across the United States, The Image Group believes strongly in making a positive social impact in the communities where we work and live.

Be Seen. Be Remembered.

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YAAW 2020

Young Artists at Work

For the first time in its 26 year history, YAAW was remote due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 40 teens were hired to make art from home and collaborate on projects.



The YAAW 2020 apprentices made a zine.

Introspection is a collection of works from teen apprentices interpreting a self-reflective theme. Special thank you to Olivia Anderson, Jessika Letson, Melissa Mintz, Nick Felaris and all contributors.



The 2020 Senior Apprentices made a podcast.

YAAW TALK explores the issues young artists are dealing with today. Dylan Smith asks apprentices about their experiences. Produced by Alexandra "Sunny" Rohloff. Animated, edited, and mixed by Nick Felaris.


Hear from apprenitices

Watch videos the 2020 apprentices made to share the experiences of teens.

Zoe Kuehn cut together footage apprentices recorded on various topics. Teens share their thoughts on being isolated, the ongoing civil unrest, and how it has affected their art.


Featured Supporters


Thank you to all of our generous sponsors of the YAAW program.

National Endowment for the Arts
Ohio Arts Council
The Arts Commission
City of Toledo Department of Neighborhoods
Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan
Directions Credit Union
Fifth Third Bank
Grand Lubell Photography
Greater Toledo Community Foundation
Handmade Toledo
Hylant Family Foundation
Kingston HealthCare
The LaValley Foundation

The League of Women Voters

Lucas County Job and Family Services
The Martha Holden Jennings Foundation
O-I Glass, Inc.
Ottawa Tavern
UToledo Interprofessional Simulation Center
Suzanne Hargrove and John Barfield
Ms. Julie Beckert
Ms. Sally L Binard
Mr. R. Todd Bothwell
Mr. and Mrs. Dale A Bruhl, Jr.
Scott and Beth Carpenter
Ms. Allyson L Day
Sara Jane and William DeHoff
Ms. Holly DuVall
Mr. and Mrs. Rodney Eason

Mr. John Eikost
Mr. and Mrs. William M Eikost, Jr.
Dr. and Mrs. Mohamed El-Shafie
Ms. Linda Ewing
Ms. Beth Genson
Charlene Gilbert
Mr. and Mrs. Stuart Goldberg
Ms. Robyn Hall
Ms. Barbie J Harrison
Ms. Julianne Jardine
Ms. Caroline Jardine
Ms. Kara Jennings
Kristin Johnson
Dr. Ardenia Jones-Terry
Ms. Tamika Kemp
Sharon and Lawrence Kerstetter
Ms. Kelly Kessler
Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth K Kilbert
Ms. Adrienne King
Ms. Kirsten Koschnitzke
Ms. Betina Layson
Jamie Lefevre
Mrs. Patricia Levey
Ms. Carol A Lewandowski
Mrs. Linda Liber
Mrs. Suzanne Lind Liewald
Ms. Jonelle Massey
Ms. Sonia Flunder McNair
Mrs. Mary Igoe Meyers
Mr. and Mrs. Michael Muse
Ms. Elaine Nicol
Ms. Teanya Norwood
Michelle Arnold Paine
Diane and Jerry Phillips
Ken Pitsenbarger
Mr. Matthew Pollzzie
Kelli Stegman and Gene Powell
Ann and Bill Riddle
Mysoon Rizk
Ms. Janet C Rogolsky
Ms. Mayka Rosales-Peterson
Ms. Marilyn Rudolph
Mary L Sawers
Mr. Bradley Scherzer
Ms. Catherine Schrein
Ms. Judy Schwind
Ms. Diana Schwind
Ms. Mona Shousher
Ms. Sarah K. Skow
Mrs. Patrice C Spitzer
Mr. Peter C Taylor
Scott and Margy Trumbull
Jim Moore and Tim Valko
Amanda and Frank Viviano
Ms. Richelle D Watkins
Dr. and Mrs. David Weinberg
Mr. and Mrs. Richard E Wolff
Ms. Kim Turner Young
Dr. and Mrs. Robert A Zimmerman


Let us know what you've been up to!

After 25 years of YAAW, there are so many stories to capture. Stay in touch with the Arts Commission to stay in the know about events and opportunities.


Inspiring a Vibrant Toledo