The Bubbler Gives Madison Youth a Voice through Art
We have a growing number of local programs to involve youth and focus on racial equity in the City. We are providing free youth bus passes this summer, supporting Greater Madison Music City, and supporting young artists on State Street among other things. I am pleased that we can include the Bubbler program as one of these initiatives.
Since 2013, the Bubbler program at Madison Public Library has successfully supported over 60 artist residencies, contributing to arts education throughout the City and supporting the arts economy in Madison. Past artists in residence have gone on to launch their own art spaces, contribute to other City-wide arts projects, and gained more visibility for their work.
Bubbler artist residencies have traditionally focused on a single artist working with the library for several months. In addition to offering general sessions and drop-in arts programming at the library, many artists in residence worked with specific groups of youth involved in the justice system. This summer, the Bubbler is launching a new model focusing on collaborating with teens in the community, where six diverse teaching artists will work together to create community connections and creative opportunities around a single theme. As part of a larger equity initiative by Madison Public Library called YOU(th) Belong, the artists will collaborate over the course of six months (July-December 2021) to explore the spectrum of “Belonging” with youth aged 8 - 18 years.
The artists selected for the inaugural cohort are Papa-Kobina Brewoo, Gabrielle Javier-Cerulli, Sylvie Rosenthal, Amadou Kromah, Teena Wilder, and Anwar Floyd-Pruitt. These artists were recommended by local community arts organizations and other youth-focused partners. Additionally, Madison Public Library’s Racial Equity Change Team, Youth Services Team, and Community Engagement Team contributed to the cohort selection process. The artists will work to center and elevate the voices of youth, particularly youth of color, through hands-on creation. Throughout their 6-month residency, the artists will attend various library- or community-hosted programs and lead thought-provoking activities and engage with youth at multiple locations throughout the City.
The YOU(th) Belong initiative and the new Artist in Residence program are part of larger library and City initiatives aimed at improving opportunities for Madison’s youth and increasing representation of people of color in City services at all levels, from program participation to contractors to employees. Collaborating with other City initiatives such as the Wanda Fullmore Youth Internship Program and the Northside Block Parties, is one more way our City can work together to make Madison better for all of us.