Since 2001, FutureSelf has been providing creative outlets and programming for youth in our community. In the last decade we have provided services to over 2,000 young people, where they created original artwork, developed various skills, and had positive interactions with peers and adults.
FutureSelf youth have earned jobs in creative industries, earned income through their sold artwork, gained friends of all ages, and had unique experiences. Not only have the lives of young people been touched, but the community as a whole as been impacted and the conversation of the importance of art continues every day.
After a thorough financial analysis, the board of directors decided to dissolve the organization at the end of 2011. The decision did not come easy and was made in order to be responsible and respectful to our donors, our stakeholders, and our youth. Over the past year, many measures were taken to reduce our organizational costs. Our own struggle with funding was exacerbated by the recession and increased cuts in arts funding nationally. It created a 'perfect storm' situation for FutureSelf.
I would like to thank the Colorado Springs community, our youth, Wendy Mike, Amber Cote, volunteers, artists, former staff members and stakeholders for a decade of support. The organization could not have made the impact it did without you. Although FutureSelf may be closing its doors, the power of art remains constant and the need for youth arts is still present.I have spoken with some of our partners and know the needs of young people will continue to be met through the commitment of organizations like the Colorado Springs' Fine Arts Center and Bemis School of Art, Concrete Couch, Imagination Celebration, the Colorado Springs Conservatory and other youth serving arts organizations; we know they will carry the torch for youth expression. Longtime partners such as Urban Peak and Inside/Out Youth Services will continue to provide a safe place for young people to feel welcome.
The mission of transforming lives through the creative process will always be a part of my core beliefs. I plan on staying in the Colorado Springs area and continuing to be a champion for arts and a voice of support for youth in the community. Thank you to everyone who has made this last year possible for me and everyone who has contributed to the mission of transformative arts.
Abby Laine Sienkiewicz