LAYC’s Art and Media programs operate three days per week to develop the creative abilities of young people. Our  dedicated space for arts and media programming includes an art studio, a Macintosh media lab, and a recording studio. Youth have access to and instruction in the most up-to-date industry standard software such as Pro Tools, Final Cut Pro, and Photoshop. Interested youth can also cultivate their skills in digital media—radio, photography, music/poetry and design; and art—drawing, painting, mixed media, and murals.

Through the creative process, youth critically examine issues that impact their lives, practice leadership, and build collaboration skills. Youth share their ideas with a wider audience through community exhibitions, performance and dialogue. Young people make positive transformations when they begin to understand themselves and the world around them. Youth discover the power of their art!

Youth are guided by professional artists and arts educators through foundational skills in art and media. Then, as they develop their skills, youth design their own projects to highlight issues in their community. All participants produce at least one artistic work accompanied by a written artist’s statement. Participants are exposed to the experiences of working artists through field trips behind the scenes of museums and studios, creating artist books and portfolios, and exhibiting at the conclusion of each term. The Art and Media program develops the whole individual by promoting writing, oral presentation, and self-expression of each student’s vision.

Sample Class Descriptions

Current classes include Music Production, Audio Production, Poetry, Photography, Guitar, Comic Book Club, and Jewelry-making.


PhotographyIn the photography program, students use both digital SLR and point and shoot cameras for their everyday shooting. Their main goal is to photograph images without limits and to create a body of work for their final project. Youth learn elements of composition: pattern, texture, and lighting. Youth explore photography through self-portraits and reflections. Youth experiment with a Holga manual camera and medium format film. Using the Holga allows for double exposure and natural light leaks while creating a vignette effect. All youth work is exhibited in a community presentation.

Video Production/Digital Storytelling

The video production program explores the art of personal storytelling through the use of visual media. The class has three stages: pre-production, production, and distribution. In pre-production, students focus on script writing and enhancing their creative writing skills. In the production stage, students use DSLR cameras to record on-location shots, demonstrating leadership and collaboration skills. Non-linear editing software, such as iMovie and Final Cut Pro X, are used to juxtapose the images to create the story. During distribution, the finished videos are shown to peers and shared on social media.

Music Production

Music productionThe Music Production program is designed to offer students a working understanding of fundamental instrumental and lyrical composition strategies. Students participate in a series of creative, theoretical and technical workshops to learn skills to produce and arrange original musical compositions. Students gain a basic theoretical understanding of rhythm, beat, instrumental identification, and song arrangement. Students learn technical skills in beat mixing, recording, sampling, soundboard operations, and digital audio workstation software programs including: Machine and Adobe Audition. Students also learn proper microphone etiquette and stage presence techniques for a final exhibit performance.

Youth Radio

All students in the radio program are introduced to the core elements of journalism, music, and multimedia. Youth rotate through the three elements to get experience in each. When in journalism, youth get experience in commentary writing, review writing, newscast writing, roundtable facilitation and hosting, and voicing for radio. Music teaches the basics of music production and broadcast via a live radio show. Students perform as DJs and sound engineers, creating basic musical beats, playlists, and running the show board. In multimedia, students learn the basics of digital photography, web management, and social media promotion.  Youth produce a weekly radio show. Developing youth leadership and critically examining issues relevant to their lives and communities is woven into the production approach.

2nd Nature School-Year

The program goal is to teach students how to think, not what to think, about the environment. The program has a place-based focus to help create a bond between youth and their communities. Youth begin by examining their own feelings and experiences with the environment, and then move into mapping the community and interviewing others about their relationship to nature.  In this way, youth learn cooperative teamwork, problem-solving, and authentic assessments. Students will explore current and future community environmental issues, enabling them to make informed decisions about those issues. As a final project, youth produce a 1-minute video PSA targeted to their peers. Studies show that an outdoor learning component drastically improves test scores and student achievement, particularly in science and math.

Guitars Not Guns

GuitarThe program fosters youth to learn to play guitar. Each class consists of a maximum of 10 students with three adult instructors. Each program is eight weeks long with a one-hour session each week. In addition to learning how to master changing from one chord to another, youth learn perseverance and discipline and build self-esteem.  Youth who complete the full eight-week program have earned the right to keep the guitar and are invited to return for a second eight-week session of more advanced instruction.

  • Must attend school or a GED program on a regular basis
  • Must adhere to LAYC guidelines
  • Must be between the ages of 11-21 years old

Program Hours

During the school year, the activities are offered after school Monday through Friday 3:30-6:30 p.m. During the summer, the Teen Center is host to a daily youth employment program and recreational hours.  

You may also be interested in the DC Teen Center.


Washington, DC: 1419 Columbia Road, NW, Washington, DC 20009.


Marie Moll Amego, Program Manager,, (202) 319-2280.