New teen music scene on the rise

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Ana Beltran | The Daily Wildcat Band, Cool Funeral, playing at 191 Toole for Groundworks' fundraiser. The fundraiser event held on June 22, 2019 helped raise funds for Groundwork's main stage.

After Skrappy’s Tucson Youth Collective closed its doors in 2013, there has been a void in the local music scene for teens. Now, Logan Greene, a University of Arizona alumnus, is bringing  the arts back to Tucson. 

Since the end of last year, Greene has been working on Groundworks, a place for teens to learn about the arts.

“We want to make sure that there is a place where young people who are involved in the music and arts have somewhere to go,” Greene said. 

Greene got involved in the arts during middle and high school, which eventually led him to booking and performing his own shows. 

“I started to get really involved in the local music community while I was in high school,” Greene said. “There was a lot of cool venues and things like that where I could go and watch bands that were my age and bands that were on, so I started to start my own musical projects, book my own shows and eventually be involved in the local music scene as much as I could.”

Greene noticed the lack of teen-friendly places in the Tucson art community, ultimately inspiring him to create Groundworks. Greene’s goal was to create a space dedicated to youth-driven music and arts.

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“It’s a place where young bands can have their first show or somebody who just wanted to be able to display their art or create a class or workshop that is youth-focused or youth-driven,” Greene said. “That place doesn’t exist, so if you’re under 21, there’s no place you can really have as your home base in terms of music.”

Greene started the process of creating Groundworks by attending business classes and workshops and making sure it was a feasible idea. Once that was finished, Greene moved on to finding the perfect team.

“Logan has this idea of creating something like that in Tucson for a while, so when he said he was ready to start it going, I was all in,” said Sophie McTear, the managing director at Groundworks. “I’ll do whatever because I’m really excited about the mission and helping make it happen.”

In order to get the word out, McTear has been busy promoting the place on social media and by word of mouth.

"Now we are starting to get the word out,” McTear said. “We have a Kickstarter, and our goal is a little over $7,000 and we were able to raise almost $12,000, so that was really exciting.”

Groundworks will offer different classes and workshops for kids and teens that help them explore their passion for the arts. Classes will also explore the business side of music or the arts that will give them exposure to what it is like to be a working musician/artist in the real world.

“We are going to offer classes throughout the week that will be aimed to specific areas depending on interests,” Greene said.  “I’m a guitar teacher and can play the ukulele, so we will probably do a guitar and ukulele class.”

Most importantly, Groundworks will be a home away from home for kids and teens who are enthusiastic about the arts.

“I think that the big thing that we are passionate about is providing a safe place where artistic people could feel like they have a community and that they have a network and support system,” McTear said. 

According to Ondrea Levey, the leading arts director at Groundworks, Groundworks will also give the Tucson youth a fun place to hang out where they can feel supported.

“Teaching high school, I feel like I don’t really hear of hangout spots that are all ages for my students,” Levey said. “They are usually very niche. I think there needs to be a community space for kids to feel connected and a part of. Groundworks is going to be a really empowering space for youth. “

Not only will Groundworks offer a place for kids and teens to perform and create, but it also offers them the opportunity to learn more about the arts than a traditional classroom would.

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“Since I’m a teacher, I am in classrooms and I see how schools work, especially in Arizona where there is low funding and the classes that I teach are a little more crowded,” Greene said. “There is only so many options for somebody who is passionate about it, so providing another option other than school I think is super important.”

Levey believes that Groundworks is an important space to have in the Tucson community because not many kids are encouraged to pursue activities that will make them think creatively. 

“A lot of kids are pushed to do things like science, math and physical things like sports,” Levey said. “Rarely are kids encouraged to find a passion with something that is creative because it’s not seen as something that will set them up financially for the future, but I don’t think that should matter. The kids should find something that makes them excited to wake up every day, and if that’s music and art, then we need to support that.”

As for the future, Greene, McTear, Levey and the rest of the Groundworks team plan to move into their building soon and will be having a fundraiser on July 13.

If you are interested in getting involved with Groundworks and curious about becoming a volunteer, teacher or just want to learn more about the project, visit their website to contact them. 


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