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Illinois Art Station is pleased to announce that they have received a grant from Illinois Prairie Community Foundation’s Youth Engaged in Philanthropy group to help produce the first year of their new program, smARTs Lab. smARTs Lab is a STEAM-based program for youth ages 11 to 14 that uses the visual arts as a central point for building deeper understandings of larger topics. “We are truly grateful to YEP and IPCF for their support of this new program,” says Laura Jaster, Illinois Art Station’s Executive Director. “This program is so exciting because we are helping kids make connections between different aspects of the world through art and having the support of our community highlights how valuable this type of learning and engagement is for our young people.”

Illinois Art Station 2019 Youth Mural Project Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Youth Engaged in Philanthropy awarded IAS $1200 to produce smARTs Lab in the spring, summer, and fall of 2021. Funds will be used to help provide specialized art materials so participants can create unique and dynamic works of art that are a culmination of their experiences in the program. “What is unique about smARTs Lab is that, while our educators will design the lessons and guide the participants, the participants get to take the lead on deciding what they will create and what materials they will use, so the final projects are really a reflection of that particular group of kids and how they interpret the content and subject of the unit,” Jaster says. Upon completion, artwork from the program will be featured in special exhibitions at Illinois Art Station’s new facility along Vernon Avenue in Normal and on online at 

smARTs Lab will be offered in the spring, summer, and fall of 2021 in partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of Bloomington-Normal and is one of two new programs from IAS debuting in 2021. The second program, Arts in Action, is designed for teens ages 14 to 18 and will focus on current social issues and civic engagement.

Thank you to Youth Engaged in Philanthropy and Illinois Prairie Community Foundation for your support!

Illinois Art Station is a public nonprofit institution dedicated to providing all children, youth, and their families with transformative learning through hands-on experiences with the visual arts. For more information please contact Laura Jaster at 309.386.1019, email, or visit IAS online at