Latin American Youth Center’s Vision Becomes Reality

Infectious enthusiasm was in the air as the crowd gathered to listen as Lori Kaplan, Director of the Latin American Youth Center, announced the Art and Media House open and ready for business. Located at 3035 15th Street NW, the Art and Media House is the LAYC’s latest innovative effort to connect area youth to the creative arts and to spur the revitalization of the 3000 block of 15th St. NW.

The Art and Media House, fitted with a darkroom, radio broadcast studio, loft paint studio, computer room, and kiln offers a variety of classes and programs in the creative arts. The LAYC will use the space for youth art programs and will offer classes to the general public.

The vibrant and energetic building that stands today was once one of four vacant, adjacent structures along 15th Street NW. The LAYC approached LISC in 2001 with a vision for this row of vacant houses. They planned to purchase, redevelop and convert them into transitional living facilities for male and female young adults and an Art and Media House.

In support of that vision, LISC has provided a $50,000 recoverable grant to cover the predevelopment expenses for all the properties, a $175,000 loan for the renovation of the Art House and $38,000 in grant funding as operating support for the Art and Media House and the urban garden in the backyard.

In 2005, we will continue to support the Art and Media House and provide loan funds for the renovation of the last property.

Today, thanks to the vision and tireless work of the LAYC, the 3000 block of 15th St. NW is barely recognizable from what stood just four years ago. In addition to the Art and Media House opening, in 2002 the transitional living house for male youths opened and currently houses six. The home provides
a safe, structured environment with a full time counselor living on the premises. The home for young females is currently under construction and expected to open in winter 2005.