The Business Art Mentorship, known as BAM!, is a nonprofit organization for youth to learn artistic skills, and the entrepreneurial skills to turn their art into a business. BAM! Is a place to create healthy peer groups, meet local artists, create with quality art supplies, connect to community resources, gain life and business skills through community engagement, gain experience selling artwork at community events, and cultivate their art skills as well as learning new art and business skills.
BAM! Is no cost, and no commitment group for youth ages 12 to 21. The program is open to all youth in the grand valley regardless of their artistic ability. They strive to be a welcoming safe place where youth can make connections, face fears, and learn new skills. They provide snacks and even transportation when needed. Because of this, they are always looking for volunteers. Volunteers might help with teaching art or business classes, but they are also needed to help with book-keeping and finances for the program, public speaking about the program, grant writing, serving on the board, transportation for kids that need it, and helping in the kitchen teaching food prep and skills. They do background checks on all of their adult volunteers as well as provide training for working with youth.
As a 501c3 non-profit operating under Trail Lamp Youth Services, BAM! is able to take monetary donations or in-kind donations of art materials. In the future, they hope to be able to have their own space, create an art supply trade shop open to the community, as well as have a gallery for emerging artists.
Originally founded in inner city Dallas, by Tauma Lee, who was a working artist who had big dreams of sharing her skills and knowledge to make a difference in the lives and mental health of youth. The program moved to Grand Junction in 2022 when Tauma and her family moved here to care for her husband’s aging mother. The program started in Clifton, and later moved to Grand Junction. Tauma has been very concerned with the high suicide rates in Mesa County and wants to help build resources and safe places for youth. The program is currently housed in the First Congregational United Church of Christ (across from Grand Junction High School) until they are able to obtain their own space.
Welcoming all youth, BAM! hosts 1-2 classes per club, which equates to 6-8 hours a week. They are looking for more volunteers to increase these numbers. The classes have included photography, sculpture, and temporary tattoos, in addition to drawing and painting classes. On the entrepreneurial side, teaching includes projects to design, contract work, and implement and complete that work. They recently did a mural for a local paddleboard store and the youth were able to learn and implement each step of the process. As a youth, it can be hard to put yourself, and your artwork, out there. BAM! Works to foster the skills needed to complete their art and then get it out into the community. The BAM! Crew trains youth to set up displays at events, take payment, and break down the display at the end of the event.
BAM! was created with the purpose of creating a welcoming place for youth to develop healthy peer groups, gain life, social and business skills, and of course learn art skills and create their own works. Local artists teach not only art classes and skills, but also marketing and business skills. Within the program, there are internships that youth can apply for. The group shows their works of art at local exhibits, receptions, markets and festivals. They recently hosted their own art show with a Futuristic theme. The show included a showcase of all types of artwork, a skit, and a fashion show. The majority of the profits from the art sales go to the youth artists, with a small percentage reinvested to help keep the BAM! no cost to youth.
When asked what they wished the adults in their lives knew, the youth answered that it is really hard to be a teen, and that it is so important to take their mental health concerns seriously. When asked what they enjoyed about the program they said that they enjoy learning new things, that it gives them something to look forward to, and they are glad to make new friends. Director and Founder, Tauma Lee says “Youth Leave with skills, but so do we, and so do I. Learning every day.”
You can learn more, join BAM! or donate by visiting their website, bambizart.org.
“Youth Leave with skills, but so do we, and so do I. Learning every day.” - Director and Founder, Tauma Lee