B-Tech Student Artists to Travel to New Orleans During Spring Break

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday March 28, 2008

Five students from Berkeley Technology Academy (B-Tech) will fly to New Orleans Sunday as part of a week-long spring break arts and culture trip to help Hurricane Ka-trina victims and to mingle with local artists. 

The teenagers belong to South Berkeley-based Youth Spirit Art Works—a new interfaith nonprofit involved in providing jobs and training to homeless and at-risk young people. 

The teenagers competed with 50 of their peers in their art program to paint the most chairs, and won the trip as a award. 

Although six students qualified to participate in the trip, only five of them will be able to make it, said Sally Hindman, executive director for the organization. 

The group will meet with young artists from the New Orleans-based arts non-profit Young Aspirations, Young Artists (YaYa) to discuss their work and exchange ideas. 

“We are very excited about this opportunity to meet with so many talented artists,” said Hindman, who will be accompanying the students on the trip. “They have so much to teach these kids. We will attend YaYa arts workshops, tour their New Orleans studio and shop, and meet the YaYa board.” 

The group will also spend a day volunteering for Habitat for Humanity to help with Katrina clean-up efforts. 

“I am very excited about volunteering in the clean-up,” said B-Tech sophomore Charles Hutson, one of the winners. “I want to go and help rebuild homes and stuff.” 

Hutson said he had never picked up a brush until he became involved in the arts program at Youth Spirit. 

“I had never painted anything in my life before,” he said. “I was a bit nervous painting chairs, but it was cool in the end.” 

Founded in 2006, Youth Spirit works with 16- to 25-year-old youth from schools, shelters and youth programs to paint chairs, create murals and participate in other community arts activities. 

Although the trip is costing the organization $9,500, individuals and local businesses have stepped in as sponsors. 

“We are paying only $2,680,” said Hindman. “We will be living at the United Methodist Church. Our food will be provided by Narsai David and Ann Cooper. We also received five free plane tickets.” 

The group will also have their artwork featured in the Youth Spirit Artworks March exhibit at the Sweet Adeline Bake Shop, 3350 Adeline St., till Monday. 


To support Youth Spirit Artworks, checks can be sent to: YSA, c/o CIF of San Francisco Fdn., 225 Bush Street, 5th Floor, San Francisco CA.  

See www.youthspiritartworks.org for information about its art programs.