Nicole J. Caruth, consulting program director for The Union for Contemporary Art, can attest to the importance of inspiring youth through hands-on experiences with, and exposure to, art.
“I never went to a museum until I was in my 20s, and it was a life-changing experience,” she says. “I left my job as an accountant and went to school for art history. I’ve been working in museums and galleries ever since.”
Caruth joined The Union two years ago. Her role, she says, involves two personal passions: art and social justice. Through programming, she is helping to broaden worldviews and bring relevant and diverse perspectives to the forefront through art and conversation.
Co-op memberships give local artists access to five studios and equipment at no charge. Participation in workshops and special events is available at a nominal fee.
Thursday nights, The Union invites the public in to make pottery and practice other creative techniques under the supervision of seasoned professionals.
The Abundance Garden is a way to immerse youngsters in growing their own produce. Including a large dome greenhouse, the free-pick garden has about 1,000 square feet of raised beds.
Taking it one step further, The Union also has a full kitchen and culinary classes for youth.
“Accessibility is central to all of these things,” says Patrick Mainelli, communications manager. “With the community garden, kids can see that it’s easy to grow a tomato… pick it and incorporate it into a meal. They have access to grow things that they wouldn’t have had otherwise.”