Just over 15 years ago I was 12 years old and looking for trouble with some friends outside of the former Warehouse 21 Teen Arts Center in Santa Fe. We didn't get far and despite our questionable youth antics, the W21 employee on duty did not call my parents but told me to come to the back of the building for the screenprinting class that was about to begin and she put me to work. I learned the grunt work of cleaning and prepping screens, how to make my drawings into single color images on clear transparency paper and how to get that image burned onto a screen. I saw my single drawing replicated over and over again with each print and how I could transfer it onto any flat surface. I saw how I could make my art more accessible and found a skill and an artistic discipline that I could dive into. That day changed my life.
The screenprinting program that got its humble start in the back of W21 has impacted hundreds of lives in the 20+ years since its inception and this summer it found itself looking for a new home as the teen center that housed it changed hands, rebranded and sought to dissolve the program. Printers like myself for whom the shop has been an integral part of our lives (as both youth and adult artists) banded together to find a new location, one that would enable it to continue its mission to work with youth and offer access to the community at large. After much searching, our group, now called the Santa Fe Community Screenprinting (SFCS) shop, found that home in Santa Fe Youthworks, a local non-profit that provides shelter, counseling, education and jobs training for at-risk youth. Through this new partnership, the screenprinting shop will be able to continue offering community workshops and access to printing equiptment while also expanding its youth-focused programing.
On August 4th Matron Records threw a benefit show at Rufina Taproom for SFCS which was a great success and went a long way towards raising the funding needed to properly outfit the new space for the printing equipment and to support new programing. Youthworks has also been working on grants to help with the transition and sustainability of the program in addition to adding a page to their website where people may donate directly (see below). As someone who has been so deeply impacted by this program and seen the many ways it has benefited people and youth in particular over the years, I urge those who can to donate to this program by clicking on the button below. Certainly without this program there would be no Matron Records and far fewer local band shirts out there for you to enjoy!
This month Youthworks will meet with SFCS group member to plan out this new stage of the program and set a launch date for public workshop hours to resume. Matron Records will keep you posted on these SFCS updates and you can also follow YouthWorks on Facebook or at their website for more details.