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Groundworks creates safe haven for local youth artists

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Logan Greene Courtesy | The Daily Wildcat

 Groundworks is a nonprofit organization for artists and creatives around Tucson. Groundworks lobby with Lauren Cabrera in front of her piece of art. 

Groundworks, a local youth-oriented music and art organization, is making some noise in the Tucson area by providing Tucson’s young artists with a safe community space to get creative.

Groundworks is a nonprofit organization that strives to make art education available to youth in the community. The team of musicians, artists and educators are working together to help promote creativity and talent in Tucson’s youth arts community, according to Groundworks’ website.

“We wanted to create and make sure that there is a place so that youth, not necessarily children, but people in their teens, people in college, have a kind of dedicated space. So it's really just about building a community for young people here in Tucson,” said Logan Greene, Groundworks’ executive director and University of Arizona alumnus.

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The Groundworks team solidified their idea of creating an organization in late 2018, eventually working their way up to earning the organization’s nonprofit status in the spring of 2019 and recently acquiring a building for the organization earlier this year, according to Sophie McTear, Groundworks’ managing director.

“I love being able to work with Logan on something we both have dedicated our lives to, art and music. I also love being able to lift up and promote young artists and musicians and provide a safe space to share their work with other people who are interested in similar things,” McTear said in an email. “When I was fresh out of high school, I found community in my local music scene in Washington, D.C. and I hope to be able to provide that to the next generation of young people in a city like Tucson that has so many amazing artists and musicians, youth and adults alike.”

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Groundworks offers local musicians and artists a dedicated community space, including recording studios, a live-music venue and an art gallery to create and showcase their work, according to the website.

“We are renting the space to bands for band practices," Greene said. "We're also allowing the space to be rented for things, like if somebody wanted to make a music video, or if an artist needed some studio spaces so that they could have a place to make a mess because maybe their apartment is not a good place for that or whatever."

Additionally, local artists can submit their work to be featured in Groundworks’ 150-square-foot gallery. Groundworks focuses on artists who are underrepresented, including members of the Black, Indigenous and People of Color and LGBTQIA+ communities, according to Groundworks’ website.

“I think the cool thing about Groundworks compared to other art and music programs in Tucson are how inclusive they are of different people from different backgrounds, with different stories and the one thing in common we all have is our love for art/music,” Karen Jacquez, a local Tucson artist featured in Groundworks’ art gallery, said in an Instagram direct message.

On Sept. 12, Groundworks held its virtual grand opening on its website. The virtual grand opening allowed visitors to experience an interactive 3-D model of the inside of their building, according to Greene.

“It’s hard to compare it to what our initial grand opening in April would have been like in person, but considering the circumstances of a global pandemic, I think it went really well...We got a lot of nice feedback and I think the interactive virtual tour was unlike anything I’d seen before, so I was proud of that definitely. It’s still available on our website to view,” McTear said in an email.

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Since COVID-19 hindered Groundworks’ original plans to host art education classes in-person, Groundworks is currently working on operating virtually for the time being, according to Greene.

“One of the things we're going to be doing into the fall, and hopefully into the winter, is creating online [content]," Greene said. "Whether it be a YouTube series where people can view different local artists showing off their talents and showing how they can how to do their art, or a Zoom class or something like a Google Drive that has step-by-step instructions that somebody could be learning at their own pace, like self-paced learning that is more text-based and less video-based and things like that,” 

Despite the pandemic, Groundworks is still here to serve and promote Tucson’s local youth art scene for the foreseeable future, according to Greene.

“I think the main idea is that we really need to be able to weather the storm that is this global pandemic and be able to provide our community with resources and togetherness even when we can’t physically be together," McTear said in an email. "I hope that in 5 or 10 years, we are still around, that the pandemic is squelched and that we are able to gather in person for all-ages shows and classes like we’ve always planned. We want Groundworks to become an institution in Tucson. We want young people to know that they have a place here."

For more information about Groundworks, visit their website.


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UA COVID-19 Test Tracker

Daily (10/22)
1,074 8 0.7%
Total (8/4)
54,122 2,441 4.5%
Includes tests since August 4, 2020
Data from https://covid19.arizona.edu/updates
Updated October 22, 2020