Using visual arts as a vehicle, City Faces works with children, teenagers, and young adults living in public housing in inner St. Louis. Through the visual arts process, young people learn about problem solving, cooperation, self-evaluation, and long-term planning, while discovering talents they did not know they had and developing employable skills.
The program is run by Bob Hansman, a professor in the architecture school at Washington University in St. Louis, whose goal is “to change the course of the children’s lives by offering art as one alternative to selling drugs and becoming involved in gangs, and to teach kids employable skills to better their situation and get them out of the projects. Most importantly, City Faces strives to become a stable component in their lives, supporting them emotionally and professionally.” This program has been a vital part of many children’s lives and will continue to be only with support. Currently City Faces is not funded by the government, the city of St. Louis, Washington University in St. Louis, or any other organization. While the program receives some private donations, substantial donations are necessary to keep the program running.
The majority of the funding goes towards purchasing art supplies and other necessities to keep the studio open. In addition, some of the funds are used to purchase healthy snacks for the children who participate in the program. Recently a tutoring program has been set up in conjunction with the art program. Washington University students spend afternoons tutoring the children in various subjects – funding is necessary to purchase essential school supplies and books. As some of the kids become de facto Teaching Assistants, funds raised could go toward paying them officially to teach and keep the studio open. Proceeds will help explore entrepreneurial opportunities to display, commission, and produce their work. Ultimately, all donations go toward the operational costs of maintaining the City Faces program.
To see pictures and videos of the City Faces studio and facilities check out our Photo & Video Gallery!