PPA Youth Programs

photo by Virginia Lee Hunter

photo by Virginia Lee Hunter

In the fall of 1999, Agnes Wilcox began teaching a series of acting classes part-time at St. Louis City Juvenile Detention Center called I’m an Actor. Later that same year, a performance series, Arts Alive!, featuring artists from the St. Louis area, began at St. Louis City Juvenile Detention Center. 

In 2005, I’m an Actor transitioned into Learning Through the Arts, expanding the scope of classes being offered to include music and dance. That same year, programming began at Hogan Street Regional Youth Center.  Shakespeare Festival St. Louis partnered with PPA for the first year of programs at Hogan Street starting in 2005.  Prison Performing Arts, Young Audiences of St. Louis, and the Family Court – Juvenile Division partnered for the first version of The Hip Hop Project during spring break of 2004. PPA and the Family Court continued on with the partnership after 2004.  Since then, this program has been held annually during spring break when regular classes are not in session and youth remain in the Center. In June of 2010, a summer version was added offering the program to youth at the Center twice per year through the summer of 2014.

PPA's Current Youth Programs: 

  • Arts Alive! creates partnerships with performing artists and arts organizations in the St. Louis region to provide performances of music, dance, opera, and theatre for young people at St. Louis City Juvenile Detention Center and Hogan Street Regional Youth Center. In many cases, this is the young people’s first live performance opportunity.

  • Learning Through the Arts provides year-round after-school and weekend performing arts classes in acting, dance, music, visual arts, and writing for youth and young people at St. Louis City Juvenile Detention Center, Hogan Street Regional Youth Center, St. Louis City Justice Center, the Family Court’s Detention Alternatives program, St. Louis County Juvenile Detention Center, and City of St. Louis Medium Security Institution. Classes are designed to help justice-involved youth learn life skills:  focus and concentration, impulse control, cooperation and collaboration, commitment and responsibility.

  • The Hip Hop Poetry Project provides intensive performance arts programming — classes, performances, and workshops — during spring break at St. Louis City Juvenile Detention Center. Our goal is to have each young person in the facility spend every day of the project in constructive and creative activities. This project provides workshops in writing, performance, design and dance. The youth’s writing is shared through a concluding performance, an anthology, and a music sharing platform (https://audiomack.com/artist/jdc-poetry-project).