W21 was founded in 1996 to carry on the legacy of the former Center For Contemporary Arts Teen Project. W21 has served thousands of teens since its founding and thrived for more than two decades, providing essential youth arts programming, performance space, and many partnership opportunities.
The Board reconstituted itself this August and has been attending to organizational and facility maintenance needs to reclaim the strong history and community value of W21 programs. The need for W21 is greater than ever, given the status of youth, the opportunities presented by creative innovation, and the struggles of schools and low-income families in Santa Fe. Approximately 16,000 youth ages 10 - 19 live in Santa Fe County; almost 22% live in poverty and some 30% of local youth do not graduate from high school.
While W21 primarily aims to serve youth enrolled in school, we also are in the process of assessing needs and opportunities to serve youth who are not in school, and also to provide specific programs for homeless youth. It is vital to provide safe, supportive evening and nighttime activities for a range of youth at W21 in order to provide healthy alternatives and positive community events.