Artists ~ Scott Yi ~ Providence

Artist’s name: Scott Yi
Shop name: The Youth Collaborative
Twitter: @theyouthcollab
Instagram: @theyouthcollaborative

1. Tell us about your work
I started the Youth Collaborative as a 501c3 to empower urban teens in the Providence area. Specifically, we teach entrepreneurial skills and creative skills to our teens by working with them in our team-based business projects. Together, we've come up with shirts, buttons, cards, mugs, and a handful of other products that the teens are proud to have their names attached to.

2. Is there a story behind the name of your business?
We wanted to emphasize the "collaborative" aspect because the teenagers are not just our students, but they are co-owners. We empower them to be part of the designing and decision-making process, letting them know that they have unique voices that matter. They have a unique perspective and a unique sense of humor that comes through in our products!

3. How did you come to be a professional artist/crafter/designer?
I studied art at Brown but a lot of my skills were self-taught. That's an important trait I want to communicate to our kids: anyone with an internet connection and determination and a bit of cleverness can set themselves up for success. So we do a lot of product testing together to see what works and what doesn't, as we're always tinkering with new product ideas.

4. Where do you draw your inspiration?
A lot of our shirts feature social justice quotes. What inspires me are the civil rights leaders whose visions of inclusiveness and diversity have helped to drive our urban focus. We have teens from immigrant families, from single parent homes, from refugee camps. We want them to celebrate who they are and where they're going.

5. What’s your favorite item to create?
My wife and I have a cat named Sonia that we've put on a couple of our items, so we enjoy it a lot when customers show their mutual love for Sonia.

6. What’s your best seller?
One of the reasons why we enjoy going to local art fairs, as opposed to just doing online sales, is because we can share our Rhody love with our neighbors. Our sailboat shirts do well and also our "I Love RI" buttons.

7. How long have you been in Rhode Island?
About 15 years. I first came to attend college here and then fell in love with the city of Providence after graduating and stayed ever since.

8. What do you {heart} about Rhode Island?
The land is so diverse here. You have beautiful beaches, a strong agricultural industry, and then of course an exciting urban setting as well. All within minutes of each other!

9. Favorite place to take out-of-towners?
Authentic taco places like La Lupita, Taconazo, and Emmanuel's. Best Latino food around!

10. Any advice for new/wannabe makers?
Start today. A lot of times people are overwhelmed by how big their ambitions are. It's easy to get stuck forever in the planning stage. The important thing is to just get started, and then learn as you go.

11. Please include anything else you’d like to add:
Our organization always welcomes donations! We have a donation page on our website, and it's the easiest way for others to partner with us and be part of the process of giving a brighter future to the next generation.


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