artworks_kids_web.jpgMIAMI — This summer, Arts for Learning (A4L) launched its newest initiative “ArtWorks,” a paid internship program in the arts for high school students who live in the surrounding neighborhoods of Miami’s Wynwood Arts District — Overtown, Little Haiti and Liberty City.

Students must apply and be interviewed to qualify for the six-week program, housed at the Bakehouse Art Complex in Wynwood and made possible through a $75,000 grant awarded by the global financial services firm UBS. Direct inquiries to Ivy Bennett, program director at

Tagged “Hired to Create. Inspired to Succeed,” ArtWorks is designed to engage students in the art-making process while providing meaningful employment as they develop an understanding and appreciation of the arts.

Excursions to Wynwood Art District businesses as well as workshops with visiting guest speakers, such as a UBS-hosted financial literacy workshop, allow the students to learn about the impact of the arts on a community’s social and economic bottom line.

Sheila Womble, A4L executive director, said that the key to a student’s success is the development of strong communication and presentation skills as well as knowing how to effectively work as a team.

“We want the ArtWorks participants to not only understand what it takes to work as a professional artist, but also gain the skills necessary to be successful in any endeavor,” Womble said. “College and career readiness are also important program components.”

At the end of the internship, each student leaves with both a resume and a portfolio.

For the pilot initiative this summer, 20 students from Miami Northwestern Senior High are divided into a team of 8 to 10 students called a “co-op.” A co-op focuses on a specific art form such as dance, theatre, printmaking/painting, graphic design, fashion, film, photography, creative writing, music, sculpture, animation, or architecture. Each ArtWorks co-op is responsible for creating works of art, organizing an open house event, marketing, and producing a culminating performance/exhibition.


Teaching Artist Carlos Noguera, lead art teacher at Miami Edison Senior High School since 2009, and whose art has been exhibited in Boston, Holland and Miami, leads and facilitates the visual art co-op.

“I am happy to come back to Arts for Learning for a second summer and excited to pilot the ArtWorks program,” Noguera said. “ArtWorks is helping to fill some of the gaps that exist between content and the applications of knowledge. This program provides students the opportunity to apply the concepts and skills learned in school’s studio art classes in a challenging and nurturing work environment.”

Alejandro Bahia, professional dancer and General Manager of Miami Contemporary Dance, leads and facilitates the performing art co-op.


A4L’s goal is to hire 40 students next summer. “We would like to focus on students from Miami Northwestern, Edison, and Booker T. Washington Senior High,” says Womble. “However, long-term, we see this as an opportunity for all high school students.”

 “The arts are woven into the fabric of this great city,” said Marsha Askins, chief communications officer for UBS Group Americas. “We are proud to support ArtWorks and help provide young people in Miami with a unique learning experience.”

Inquiries about ArtWorks can be directed to Ivy Bennett, program director at and frequently helps with cooking parties, team building events, and social and corporate gathers.

“Families, friends and associates who cook together, stay together,” said Nolan-Ryan. Sponsors included GA Telesis, Bambi Leo- Channel, Coventry, Norwegian Cruise Line, Samantha Gamero, Leadership Palm Beach County, Marchesa Private Equity, Office Depot, Everglades University, Wolfcreek Consulting, PNC Bank, John Schobel, Publix, Altier Jewelers, IBM, Descartes Capital, and more.

Photo Courtesy of A4L