Known for its celebration of the arts, New Orleans has a new creative asset a 6,000-square-foot home for the Young Aspirations/Young Artists program (YAYA) designed by the architecture firm of Tulane University professor Byron Mouton.
The new YAYA Arts Center opened in June at 3322 LaSalle St. in Central City to serve as headquarters for the 27-year old organization, which teaches young people creative and life skills for a career in the arts. Offering free after-school programs in painting, sculpture and glassblowing, YAYA also has a gallery where the budding artists sell their work.
“Anyone in the creative world here knows what the YAYA organization is about. It was great to be invited to get involved.”—architect and professor Byron Mouton
The new facility has a gallery and a large studio in the front, custom-designed space. A modular metal building in back is “a raw industrial studio” ready for a second-level mezzanine later. The project was fast-tracked for quick completion and with an eye to minimizing costs.
With the dust still clearing from the move, YAYA anticipates a full complement of programs this fall. Workshops will feature local community members, in keeping with YAYA"s mission as a hub for the arts.
“We want them to feel like YAYA is an extension of what"s already going on in the community,” said Timeka Junius, YAYA"s executive director of programs. “We want them to feel like this is a home.”
In other words, that dust on the floor may be permanent, which is exactly how YAYA likes it.
Freelance writer Benjamin Morris contributed to this article.