Poughkeepsie Youth Arts Initiative PK B.A.Y. Seeks Artist Proposals for Public Art


A  youth-led initiative known as the Poughkeepsie Board of Artistic Youth (PK B.A.Y.) is working to transform the blocks in downtown Poughkeepsie with new works of public art. Working with longtime arts nonprofit The Art Effect, youth are seeking proposals from professional artists of all ages for murals, sculptures, and media-based projects that will activate the Youth Arts Empowerment Zone (YAEZ), a multi-block area anchored by The Art Effect’s Trolley Barn Gallery on Main Street. 

The PK B.A.Y. is a first-of-its-kind initiative in Poughkeepsie that was developed by a coalition of local youth-serving nonprofits to promote youth leadership and civic engagement. The Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet is facilitating the initiative with grant funding from the national philanthropy The Wallace Foundation. The PK B.A.Y. is comprised of 12 City of Poughkeepsie youth, ages 14-17, representing four local, out-of-school time programs (The Art Effect; Family Services; Community Matters 2; and the Boys & Girls Club). All PK B.A.Y. youth are being stipend for their time working on the initiative, and are receiving instructional and technical support from The Art Effect staff. The initiative is using public art as a means to foster entrepreneurship, and civic engagement and build youth voice within community leadership. When describing the mission of the group, students highlighted phrases such as “making a difference is hard, but it is possible,” “inspiring and helping the community,” and “helping youth make a change.”

In keeping with the larger mission of the PK B.A.Y., the project will promote positivity, inspire the community, and support local efforts to stop violence and drug abuse. The selected artist will work alongside PK B.A.Y. to plan the work in early 2024, with production taking place during spring 2024.

“We are looking forward to seeing how the project will impact our community in a positive way” says Micah Jumpp, ACC Americorps Member and Digital Community Engagement Fellow and lead on the PK B.A.Y initiative. “The PK B.A.Y hopes that this project will reach both the hearts and minds of everyone who sees it in our city.”

Interested artists can view the full Request for Proposal, with project timeline requirements and instructions on how to apply, at: thearteffect.org/request-for-proposal. The deadline to apply is January 7, 2024, and questions can be emailed to micah@thearteffect.org. Preference will be given to works in high-visibility areas that foster positivity and incorporate at least one of the following themes: unity, anti-violence, Poughkeepsie’s indigenous history, or drug abuse prevention. Preference will also be given to artists who enjoy or have experience working with youth, and whose proposals have a community interaction component. Sculptural work is preferred but not required, and all artistic mediums including painting, video, sound art, etc. will be considered.

About the Youth Arts Empowerment Zone (YAEZ): The YAEZ is a long-term plan to establish a youth arts district along Main Street in Poughkeepsie, with The Art Effect at the Trolley Barn as the anchor arts institution. It will focus on youth-driven placemaking and place-keeping in and around the Trolley Barn. In its early stages, there will be annual arts festivals around community-inspired artworks, created by local youth and professional artists, all of which will empower the local community.

About The Art Effect: For more than 40 years, The Art Effect has empowered youth to develop their creative voice to shape their futures and bring about positive social change. As the largest nonprofit arts organization in the mid-Hudson region, The Art Effect facilitates educational programming for more than 3,000 students annually, inviting them to explore, experience, and excel in the arts. It engages an additional 5,500 visitors through exhibitions and events. Programs provide an introduction to visual arts and media, allowing participants to develop real skills and guiding them toward achieving their academic and career goals.

About The Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet (PCC): The Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet (PCC) is a collective impact nonprofit organization that was formed in February 2020 to develop a citywide cradle-to-career system for children, youth and families in the City of Poughkeepsie, New York. The PCC is guided by its North Star vision that, by 2033, over 5,000 City of Poughkeepsie young people and their families will be connected to transformative cradle-to-career opportunities that place them on pathways to postsecondary completion and socioeconomic mobility. Website: www.pkchildren.org