THE YOUNG ARTIVISTS LAB
Founded & Produced by Laurel Butler
Arts for Incarcerated Youth Network, 2018-19
From April 2018 to May 2019, Laurel served as The Arts for Incarcerated Youth Network's Youth Development and Leadership Specialist. Using the ACT TWO Performance Project as a model for arts-based re-entry programming, Laurel served as a lead consultant for the iteration and implementation phase of AIYN's re-entry pilot programs. She supported the development and coordination of the Youth to Power program, a community-building program for youth recently released from incarceration, in collaboration with Fabian Debora of the Homeboy Industries Art Academy.
She also founded the Young Artivists Lab, a paid, experiential, project based learning program for systems-impacted youth to engage in political education, activism, and healing through culture, community, and the arts. In the Fall of 2018, Laurel supervised a staff of Teaching Artists from the Boyle Heights Arts Conservatory and Write Girl/Bold Ink Writers in the design and implementation of a 12 week poetry, zinemaking and podcasting program, culminating in a youth art festival and open mic at the Latino Producer's Action Network. The poetry zines created by these young artivists were curated into the 2019 Los Angeles Zine Festival.
In the Spring of 2019, with a Teaching Artist team from ArtworxLA, Laurel oversaw the development of a PhotoShop and digital media program, which culminated in a gallery show at Inner City Arts in Downtown Los Angeles. Along with teen participants from the Young Artivists Lab, Laurel also attended and presented at the Create Justice conferences at Carnegie Hall and the Pasadena Armory for the Arts. Prior to her departure from AIYN, Laurel designed a community-based Fellowship program for young artivists to be placed in paid positions within LA-based arts organizations.