From neighboring high school partners (Simon Gratz Mastery Charter, Multicultural Academy Charter School, El Centro de Estudiantes, Samuel Fels High School, Kensington Creative and Performing Arts High School, Franklin Learning Center, Philadelphia Military Academy, Philadelphia High School for Girls, Julio de Burgos and Audenried High School) five students each year are selected from a pool of recommendations made by area high school teachers, principles, and guidance counselors to comprise the YAC. Led by YAC Program Director Kehmari Norman in consultation with Temple Contemporary, this group meets once a week throughout the school year. During this time they discuss topics of personal relevance, go on tours to local cultural organizations, and learn the rudimentary skills of arts management. Throughout this same time, the advisory council chooses 2-3 topics they are interested in pursuing collaboratively to create a public event and/or display. This has included coming up with the conceptual design for programs, marketing, planning and the eventual mounting of the exhibition or program, and assessing its success.
In 2012, Temple Contemporary received funding from the Samuel S. Fels Fund to initiate a program within Philadelphia to establish a training program for local high school students of color who are interested to pursue a future in arts leadership. The interest in this initiative began when Temple Contemporary director Robert Blackson asked the question, “How can we help to support a local, young, and diverse stream of arts management leaders?” We recognized that there is a large economic disparity between the surrounding neighborhood and Tyler School of Art where Temple Contemporary's offices are located– the zip code we share is 88% African American with an average family income of less than $18,500. Coupled with the fact that most schools in the area offer very little, if any arts programming, the odds that any school age student would be interested in pursuing a future in the arts are very slim. By introducing select North Philadelphia students to the field of arts administration and leadership training we take an active part in diversifying the profession of cultural management and arts leadership.