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Comstock Youth Works teens explore career and college opportunities

By Miriam Hodgman

career fairThis month, St. Mary’s Art Center served as the site for a Comstock Youth Works college and career fair with over a dozen informative booths, and also provided the teens a private tour of the Center’s current exhibitions.

In addition, the young interns were treated to an in-depth “Q & A” with London-based artists Stewart Easton and Claire Scully about their careers as successful professional artists and their work as the Center’s current Resident Artists.

Claire Scully explained to the students that she works in the contemporary graphics industry as a free lance illustrator, and much of her work is print-based or multi-media based. She has created book covers for Penguin and Random House, illustrations for The New York Times, The Guardian, The National Maritime Museum, and artwork for music albums, Burton Snowboards, Christmas wrapping and t-shirt designs. She said she gets a great deal of joy from her personal work as well, some of which can be seen at St. Mary’s this summer.

Scully told the students, “I was given an opportunity to go to university at 22. And I loved every single minute of it. It’s much harder to go out there and work at something that doesn’t give you any feedback. So instead of getting up at 6 a.m. every morning to get on the Tube at rush hour as I had for over five years, I went to university. My driving focus was to be a creator. And lots of people I studied with have gone on to work with massive advertising firms in places like Hong Kong and London. The people I studied with have spread across the globe; it’s an amazing, creative job.”

Stewart Easton told the students that he didn’t find his true life’s work until he was in his 30’s, but has been very productive in the art world since then. He works as an illustrator as well, but he also hand embroiders folk tale and folk song-inspired narratives. For instance, he’s recently been commissioned by groups such as the English Folk Dance and Song Society to create a mural in the Cecil Sharp House, the London folk arts center, with his interpretations of the song ‘The Tailor and the Crow.’ He told the Comstock Youth Works teens, “At school, art was always the subject which came easily.”

Nearly 40 teen interns from communities across Storey and Lyon attended the multi-faced event at the art center. The experience was designed by Comstock Youth Works staff to provide the teens with a glimpse into a wide range of higher education and career opportunities through interviews with professional artists, a tour of diverse types of visual art, plus information booths hosted by the following: Western Apprenticeship Coordination Association, Sierra Nevada College, Sierra Nevada Job Corps, UNLV, Grand Canyon University, Army National Guard, Career College of Nevada, Redken, Air National Guard, Milan, Marines, and Marinelle.

After the college/career fair, the teens enjoyed a picnic lunch on the lawn of St. Mary’s Art Center, followed by a treasure hunt through Virginia City that helped the teens learn more about the history of the town as well as about job opportunities in the busy tourist attraction.

Each year, about 50 teens from the Storey and Lyon regions participate in Comstock Youth Works, a program that allows Lyon and Storey teens to gain paid work experience and learn new skills on the job. This summer, the students will also complete the Ropes Course at Mount Rose to learn teamwork skills; will offer volunteer service to their towns through the River Wranglers; and will take field trips to Western Nevada College; the Nevada Appeal; Animal Ark; Spooner Summit (careers in Forestry and Parks); and Computer Corps. The program includes paid summer job internships; career and college exploration field trips; job skills training; coaching in academic success and scholarship searches/applications; leadership training; volunteer service projects; and much more.

The annual program is sponsored through Community Chest Inc, and staff from Healthy Communities Coalition of Lyon and Storey (HCC), Central Lyon Youth Connections and Community Chest Inc (CCI) implement the program. It is funded through NevadaWorks. Comstock Youth Works program is especially important due to the high youth unemployment rate in the U.S.
Contacts: Call Lavurne Jeffreys at HCC 246-7550 or Sabrina Lupo at CCI at 847-9311 for more information.

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