Neighborhood Studios is the Arts Council’s arts education program for local teens, ages 14-18. During this six-week summer apprenticeship, students receive hands on instruction in an artistic medium, as well as career skills training to prepare them for today’s creative workplace. Each apprentice also receives a weekly stipend so they don’t have to choose between a quality arts education and a summer job. 

Working as paid apprentices at some of Hartford’s most renowned cultural institutions, students receive training in dance, theatre, photography, writing, stage design, music, and public art. Apprentices are paid a $100 weekly stipend, teaching them the important responsibility of a paying job. Throughout the program, apprentices participate in all-day workshops with master teaching artists including a career building curriculum that teaches resume building, interviewing and networking skills, as well as vocational skills necessary to succeed in today’s workforce: creative problem solving, multi-media communication, teamwork and civic responsibility.

This summer, Neighborhood Studios will focus on the theme of Identity. Who are we as artists? As individuals? As a community? Considering the factors that shape our identity – family, friends, expectations of society, our culture, the media, history, and places like our neighborhoods and schools – apprentices will create art that addresses the ways we perceive and express ourselves. In a unique setting, surrounded by dozens of creative minds, Neighborhood Studios apprentices will explore, shape and express their identities as artists.

SNAP! Photography

The Amistad Center for Art & Culture. Grow your photography skills!

  • Build your skills an knowledge of photography, including how to operate a camera and edit digital images
  • Creatively respond to history through photography, inspired by the Amistad Center's collection
  • Install a group exhibition at the Amistad Center

Write to the Point

The Mark Twain House & Museum.

Write where Mark Twain wrote!

  • Increase your creative writing skills through workshops and writing sessions at Mark Twain's Hartford home
  • Explore the role of place in a writer's work through poetry, creative non-fiction, and museum exhibition
  • Present two final projects, including a performance of original poetry and prose, and a group museum exhibit

Youth Jazz Orchestra

Artists Collective.

Enhance your musical abilities!

  • Increase your solo and improvisational skills while working as part of a larger jazz ensemble
  • Learn the history of traditional African American music, sight reading, and music theory
  • Perform concerts featuring jazz standards and original compositions

Making a Scene


Explore the art of theatrical production!

  • Participate in hands-on artistic training in stage production and set design
  • Shadow theater professionals, learn drafting skills, and operate power tools used in scenic construction
  • Transform a used pallet into a work of art using skills acquired in both design and construction

Breakdancing Shakespeare

Hartford Stage.

Put a modern twist on a classic!

  • Gain skills in breakdancing technique, acting, stage combat, and recitation of classical text
  • Participate in all-day rehearsals and workshops with master teaching artists and guest presenters
  • Perform an abridged Shakespeare production infused with hip-hop dance at Hartford Stage

Eye on Video

Real Art Ways.

Learn the art of filmmaking!

  • Learn the fundamentals of screenwriting, usage of professional filming equipment, and post-production
  • Develop independent film projects, reflecting on cultural backgrounds
  • Independent and group films will be screened at the Real Art Ways cinema at the end of the program

percent of apprentices interested in an arts career

Neighborhood Studios is supported by:

The Hartford
Lincoln Financial
Ensworth Charitable Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Trust
Bank of America
George A. & Grace L. Long Foundation
Charles Nelson Robinson Fund, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee
Farmington Bank Community Foundation
Berkshire Bank Foundation
Stanley D. and Hinda N. Fisher Fund at Hartford Foundation for Public Giving