The Urban Arts Program teaches teen entrepreneurship

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky – There is a completely free program in Louisville’s West End that aims to help teens learn how to start their own businesses.


what you need to know

  • The Urban Arts Institute was founded in 2019
  • Program participants are trained using industry-standard equipment
  • The institute is an entrepreneurship incubator
  • It is a free program from St. George’s Scholar Institute

12-year-old Caleigh Thomas is in her element right now. For them, scratching the turntables and mixing beats is pure joy.

“The most important thing to me, you might say, is making people happy and doing something I love,” said Caleigh Thomas, a student at the Urban Arts Institute.

She talked about being a disc jockey or DJ. She has actually been doing it for the last four years since she was 8 years old.

Caleigh has played with DJ gear like this all her life. But actually it was her father who inspired her to become a DJ. He’s also a DJ – and she used to hang out with him in the studio when she was younger. She loves the musical side of things.

“Besides, I like the science and technology of it, plus it brings new techniques and a new learning experience,” she said.

For them, this learning is promoted at the institute. She is one of 19 students at St. George’s Scholar Institute’s Urban Arts Institute.

It is an entrepreneurship incubator located in the California Community Center in Louisville’s West End. Thomas is in the disc jockey group.

“I learned how to scratch, I learned how to mix. Of course I’m learning how to press play,” Thomas said. “I’ve learned how to set up my gear and I’ve learned quite a bit about technique.”

Founded in 2019, middle and high school students receive hands-on training in one of a few areas.

In addition to learning the true ins and outs of being a disc jockey, students can also learn clothing and apparel printing and graphic design.

Students can also learn photography, videography, and audio engineering. You will learn how to start and maintain a business through hands-on training using industry-standard equipment. It’s a 24 week program and it’s all free.

Walter Murrah says they use art as a launch pad for entrepreneurship.

“The goal is not only to introduce them to the cool stuff around the different creative fields, but also to teach them things like financial literacy,” Murrah said. “We want to teach them how to build wealth – something they can pass on to their children.”

13-year-old Alexis Williams said she wanted to make money in graphic design and clothing printing. One of her favorites is making clothes with photos of famous black Americans, artists and inspirational quotes.

“It just inspires people and makes people’s day better,” Williams said.

She learned how to create designs and print them on clothes. Alexis said her godmother inspired her to learn. Her godmother used to print things on mugs and wallets as a hobby and to make money.

Williams has learned to deal with any unexpected printing or design challenges that come with it.

“To keep trying, keep challenging yourself and never give up,” Williams said.

Caleigh passed this advice on to anyone who wants to hang up.

“Just never give up and keep trying, even when the going gets tough,” adds Thomas.

What these students learn now could lead to great success in their future. Caleigh told Spectrum News she has plans to tour with the artist That Girl LayLay.

To learn more about the Urban Arts Institute, call (502) 791-5856 or email UrbanArtsLouisville@outlook.com. To enroll your child in the Urban Arts program, click here.

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