The ARTS at Marks Garage engages teenagers in a research-based after school arts mentoring program, in which they learn about arts industries, deepen intellectual and social skills associated with arts-based learning, and learn about opportunities for college and careers in and through the arts.

The teenagers in our program range from 13 to 18 and are from the Chinatown/Kalihi area and beyond. High numbers of secondary students here score low on standardized tests, and the 2011 dropout rate for public school students was over 25%.

In addition to benefiting at-risk youth, these are opportunities for creative industries leaders and artists to develop culturally responsive curriculum and deepen teaching skills. Finally, families of participants attend their children's exhibits and performances, promoting broader community awareness of and participation in the arts.



  • Program Executive Director
  • Chinatown Artist Lofts
  • Resident Service Coordinators from public housing
  • Mendonca building owners
  • 13 ARTS at Marks partners
  • 15 Chinatown Artists Loft partners and members of neighboring businesses



Teens are given hope to do more with their lives than they ever thought possible.

  • Jamaica Osorio learned here to perform her spoken word, "Kumulipo," for President Obama at the White House. She now mentors younger students in English and is a PhD candidate with a Masters in Arts Politics from New York University.
  • Short films produced at the very first Summer Reel Camp for Girls, organized by Hawai'i Women in Filmmaking during the summer 2012, were officially selected at the 32nd Hawaii International Film Festival Student Showcase. The camp, now offered annually, provides a safe and creative space and time for girls to unleash their creativity, build confidence, and initiate a long-term individual transformational journey from passive recipients of content that others create, to active creators, and media makers of their own stories--stories that need to be heard. More info on this program is available here.
  • Youth Speaks Hawaii practiced here to win two national slam poetry championships. They brought a tremendous amount of respect and pride to their Hawaii families and community. Many have since been given full scholarships to innovative university programs nationwide.
  • Two of the neighborhood teens from Teen ARTS at Marks went on to a creative yet "practical" field in science (medical studies and chemistry). Another went off to Apple Computers to work on the graphic design interface of the MacBook Pro.