SAP in Spotlight: Adonis James (A.J.)

Hi, my name is A.J. and I’m 16 years old going into the 11th grade. I’ve been at BYA for about 5 weeks and am a part of the Mural Team this summer led by Brandon. During my time here I have learned how to get better at painting, and more than anything how to practice patience.

This summer, our Mural Team’s main project is to paint a mural for the Office of the Public Defender (OPD). I’ve realized that when multiple people are working on one big project, there are often a lot of opinions to consider as well as guidelines to follow from our client and supervisors…this means we all need to be able to just trust the process and have a lot of patience. I’m thankful for that lesson and am excited for the final product, for which I actually posed for a part of!


Most of my art is inspired by me wanting to do and try different/weird stuff that people don’t often think about.  I see a lot of rappers doing and trying different stuff, which is what makes them unique. I am inspired by that in my art and as a person because I see art as a way that I can express myself. This is why I like astronomy and space - it’s a mystery, we don’t know a lot about it, and it’s different from what is normally around us. One of my favorite paintings that I made this summer is of a car going into a portal to another universe. Another (pictured below) is of an alien in a space craft abducting a human from Earth.


The best thing about my time as a studio apprentice at BYA this summer, besides the art of course, is getting to find new friends in my peers and building lasting relationships with a lot of them. I felt that especially during the trip to the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), where I got to know my peers in a different setting outside of the studio and experience the museum with them.

Going into my junior year and getting close to graduation, I want to focus my last few years on finding more of my interests, keeping my grades up, and finally going to a college where I can do what I love. And what I would love to do is study art, graphic design specifically, and get involved with cartoon drawing, gaming design, and animation. Growing up reading and watching Despicable Me, comic books on superheroes, and many anime shows, they do such a good job and I would love to learn how to create something like that myself. I specifically really loved Superman and how he was different as a mystery man from outer space with super powers. Like I said before, I love different and I love mystery. I don’t want to follow the trend of “what’s cool” in the moment. Instead I want to be remembered as someone who is constantly looking to be different, doing the unexpected, and being unpredictable.

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SAP in Spotlight: Leah McCollum

Hi, my name is Leah McCollum, I am 18, and a class of 2019 high school graduate! At BYA, where I have been working for about a month now, I am a part of the Mural Team instructed by Brandon and have learned many different painting techniques to help me improve as an artist. During our free paint sessions, I really enjoy looking up random things and then putting my own spin on them when I paint.

In this painting, I tried to capture the audience (a young black girl), who will actually be looking at my work so that they feel like they are a part of my art and the whole experience.

In this painting, I tried to capture the audience (a young black girl), who will actually be looking at my work so that they feel like they are a part of my art and the whole experience.

This summer, our team’s project is a mural for the Office of the Public Defender (OPD). As a team, we decided to draw four of our peers at BYA in the middle and from them are 2 different paths they can choose to follow. On the left are many paths leading to prison and on the right side there is one path leading into the sunset. This image means a lot to me because it portrays the reality of youth growing up in Baltimore neighborhoods. It serves as both hope to other kids that a path leading into the sunset exists even though it may not feel like it at times and as a reminder to the OPD of who exactly they are fighting for.

Progress on our mural for the Office of the Public Defender!

Progress on our mural for the Office of the Public Defender!

One field trip I really enjoyed this summer is to the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). It was inspiring to learn about the African Americans who paved the way for us. I’ve also really enjoyed meeting my fellow studio apprentices and learning about networking and handling my finances during career readiness. For the rest of the summer, I want to learn how to get better at drawing and painting portraits of people and myself.

As for next steps in life, I will be moving to Atlanta, Georgia soon to attend Clark Atlanta University this coming fall for both Art and Psychology. While I am sad to leave Baltimore because the people here are one of a kind, I am very excited to start on this next step in Atlanta. The thing I am most excited about is getting out of my comfort zone here, meeting new people and learning about their background while representing my artwork and myself for who I am as a person - someone who is shy when you first meet them, a good listener, and fun!

SAP in Spotlight: Vihtori (V)

Hi! I’m Vihtori but you can call me V, and I am 19 years old and graduated! I’ve been at BYA for 3 weeks now and am in Bomin’s Mixed Media group. I chose this group because my background is in graphic design and printing, both of which I am certified at from Mergenthaler Vocational Technical High School (Mervo). At Mervo I mostly printed words directly on jacket and shirts and in my personal time I got into making fanmixes, for which I put together a compilation of songs inspired by a character pairing I create and illustrate for the cover of the compilation using graphic design (you can see a fanmix I worked on at BYA studio below). Now, I want to learn more about graphic design and printing and the many different ways to do both.

Bomin does a really great job as an instructor and we’ve done a lot so far. First week, we went to the Hostel International where we are painting a mural that represents Baltimore City (you can see me measuring the dimensions for the space we have in the picture below). We also went to Press Press where we designed book covers and then made spiral bound and perfect bound books that people can use and buy (you can see some of the books I made below). Second week, Mr. Kyle Yearwood visited us and taught us about motion graphic art (you can see him showing us his camera and how to take pictures below).

This past week our group was getting ready for artscape, which means putting together our designs and mock-ups for prints, shirts, and tote bags. I even got to help vend a lot of the art we made and free draw at the BYA stall at artscape! Check out some of my sketches and designs at artscape below: the first one is called Molting and is of an angel that is bleeding to show that nothing good can come without pain, the second one is more cute and of a dragon that is slumped with the phrase “Everyone Needs To Take Breaks Sometimes”

A lot of my art is inspired by two important things in my life: my partner and my identity as someone who is transgender. I use both as well as my interest in social issues around disabilities, mental health, and LGBT rights to advocate and make meaningful art. I am enjoying my time at BYA a lot because everyone here is really fun and I am learning how to market myself as an artist. You can follow me on instagram @cxmplexfeelings to find out more about my art and life!

SAP in Spotlight: Bryon Oliver Bishop

Hey, my name is Bryon Bishop, I am 20 years old, and I am graduated! I’ve been at BYA for a good week. I say good week because even though it’s only been a week, it’s been a real good time so far. My fellow studio apprentices are a weird and artistic bunch, and I love that we can be crazy together. I’m a part of the Mixed Media Team this summer at BYA. My instructor is Bomin and she is really cool because she appreciates my constant jokes throughout the day. She knows a ton about Mixed Media so we’re learning a lot.

I chose to join her Mixed Media Team because I’m specifically interested in graphic design. I took my first graphic design class sophomore year of high school and really liked it because of my teacher, who was very passionate about the art and friendly. My love for video games is what has kept me going with graphic design since. I still remember my first assignment was to redesign olympic pictograms for each sport.

So far, in the first week, the Mixed Media Team has already done a lot and been a lot of places around Baltimore. On Monday we had an intro to mixed media, graphic design, and screen printing. On Tuesday we went to the Baltimore Hostel International (HI), where we will be painting a mural over the summer, to inspect and measure the area. The hostel is a really cool place and has some really large uno cards…we got distracted with those for a good 30 mins! On Wednesday, we focused on our own independent art, (Thursday was July 4th so we were off) and then on Friday, we went to Press Press to learn how to make our own books, both spiral bound and perfect bound. I definitely want to go back sometime soon to make more books with some more cover ideas I have.

As for what I’m looking forward to this summer, I can’t wait until Artscape when I’ll get to actually sell my art and hopefully get some feedback from people. I think this job at BYA as a studio apprentice is great because I get to go out and do what I love to do, while getting paid for it. I think more people should get out and look for jobs like this! In the future, I want to become a well-known graphic designer and also hope to meddle a little bit in film and photography. You can follow me and my art on instagram @bryonbishopdesigns, I have a new piece being revealed soon so look out for it!

ArtScape 2018

ArtScape 2018

In July 2018, BYA set up and ran a free, public Screenprinting Station where ArtScape visitors learned how to print and created messages related to youth advocacy, justice, and the justice system. BYA Studio Apprentices, Team Leaders, and Program Assistants developed each design and managed the tent, working with over 300 people over the three day festival.

This project was supported by the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts


Support the Truthworker Theatre Workshop for Baltimore Youth

+What we are raising funds for: 

Baltimore Youth ArtsWriters in Baltimore Schools and Baltimore Dance Crews Project are raising funds for Truthworker Theatre Company to run a workshop for 30-40 of our program participants on Friday, April 6 at OpenWorks.


+What funds will cover:

1. A performance and workshop for 30-40 youth participants from our three programs.

2. A workshop for youth currently held in the Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center, the city's youth detention center.

In both workshops, 12 members of the Truthworker Theatre Company  will put on a performance and follow it up with a talkback and activities inspired by Theater of the Oppressed.

+Who is Truthworker? 

Truthworker Theatre Company is a hip-hop based theater company for high school and college-aged youth in Brooklyn, NY that uses hip hop and theater to raise awareness about racial, gender, and economic inequity. They have a series of pieces that explore the impacts of mass incarceration - interrogating the school to prison pipeline, solitary confinement, recidivism and family dynamics after being effected by state violence. 


Truthworker Theatre Company-BAR CODE

IN|PRISM: Boxed In & Blacked Out in America

+More about BYA, WBS, and BDCP

Baltimore Youth Arts

"Our mission is to assist youth in gaining creative, personal, and educational skills that will enable them to become leaders in their communities. BYA uses the arts to engage youth with the goal of building long-lasting, mentoring relationships. "

Writers in Baltimore Schools

"WBS partners with Baltimore City Public Schools to deliver Common Core-aligned curricula in the form of weekly writing groups, which meet in-school or after-school."

Baltimore Dance Crews Project

"Through hip-hop dance, we initiate and strengthen relationships that support youth from school to career."

A big THANK YOU to Open Works for offering us space for this workshop to take place! Learn more about OpenWorks and all that they offer!

1 Week Until BYA First Art Auction & Halloween Fundraiser!

NEXT FRIDAY, join Baltimore Youth Arts for our First Art Auction & Halloween Fundraiser!

Come out in your best (and scariest) costume and support BYA as we raise money for our new Youth Gallery! The night will feature music by DJ Spotify, a photo booth to capture your best poses and face painters to transform you into a beautiful butterfly or ghoulish beast. Screen print a poster and get your future read by youth!

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to buy artwork from amazing local artists! Proceeds from purchases will go towards our fundraising efforts to support the Gallery. Learn more about the artists and their amazing work here.

Be sure to tune in to The Artist Exchange live broadcast of the event on

A HUGE and special thank you to Blacksauce Kitchen, Lebanese Taverna, Lagunitas Brewing Co,  Peabody Heights Brewery and Giant Food for their contribution and donations!  

We can’t wait to see you all next week at 6:30pm! You can purchase your tickets here or at the door! College students under 21 will receive a 50% discount at the door!

Disclaimer: Do not wear a racist costume, you will be turned away.


If you like what you taste at the party, click below to learn more about these generous and delicious restaurants and breweries!

blacksauce kitchen

Lebanese Taverna

Peabody Heights

Lagunitas Brewing Company

Artists Showing in the 1st Annual BYA Art Auction and Halloween Party

Below are the artists who will have work on display for the Art Auction on October 27, 2017! We are so honored to be able to show the work of these amazing local artists in BYA's first event in our expanded space within Platform Arts Center! 

Check out some of their work!


Khadija Nia Adell  

Shan Wallace

Jerrell Gibbs  

Megan Lewis

Alex Ebstein 

Dave Eassa 

Jesse and Katie

Markele Cullins

June Culp 

Brad Zeigler 

Margo Elsayd

Dre Britton 

James Bouche 

Rachel Hayden 

Shonta Watson IG: @aspire_by_tay

Louis Abbene-Meagley 

Richard McCarter