YUCA - Press Profile
2011 Union Square Arts Award Recipient1272 Ogden Avenue
Bronx, NY 10452
Media Contacts: William Acevedo, Founder and Executive Director
Young Urban Christians and Artists, Inc. (YUCA) aims “to identify, equip, and nurture young artists with the skills necessary to succeed in expanding their creativity. YUCA strengthens young people's confidence and competency in the visual arts by exploring their innate artistic gifts through the use of new technologies.” Since its inception, YUCA has provided arts education to 500 youth.
In 2004, William Acevedo began teaching art to children in a storefront church. Two years later, he formalized YUCA as a nonprofit organization and set up the foundational graphic/digital design curriculum to introduce visual communication concepts and tools as well as typography, layout, and design fundamentals. Beginning with computer competency, students learn graphic design theory and tools to produce projects that begin an artist’s portfolio suitable for employment or higher education.
In 2010, YUCA moved to a space in the Highbridge section of the Bronx. At this location, YUCA offers 12 to18 year old students a six-month certificate program. They are required to complete three projects and a successful portfolio review. YUCA also provides students with business skills through hands-on experience. By providing infrastructure – training, equipment, materials and venues - YUCA creates opportunities to allow young emerging artists to sell their work and strengthen their confidence as artists. “We want to create producers. It’s integral to our program,” states Mr. Acevedo.
YUCA also partners with public schools and community venues to offer off-site and weekend classes in graphic design, silk screening, and mural production that help students think critically about art, history, culture, and design, and how art is constructed, presented, and interpreted.
YUCA students are encouraged to take on pro bono projects. For example, students helped design materials for the “Stop Spofford Campaign,” a grassroots effort of several Bronx organizations to close down a local juvenile detention center.