By Makenzie O'Keefe

DENVER (CBS4) – A new program part of the Art Students League of Denver called “Teen Art Nights” will help students express themselves through art. One thousand kids have taken advantage of studio space in the last year.

“It’s just a way of self-expression that I don’t think I’ve found in any other form,” Isabella Ocana says.

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Ocana is talking about her artwork – jewelry and wearable art that allows her to set her creative mind free.

“Being able to physically manipulate the medium is something I just really enjoy doing,” Ocana says.

She’s been participating in Teen Art Nights since she was in 6th grade. It’s a program that provides open studios for teenagers to work with professional artists and learn more about expression through their hands, paintbrushes, and pencils.

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“I’m actually able to sit down and work on it for however many hours and I have access to materials I wouldn’t otherwise have,” Ocana said. “I think it gives them the opportunity to work with professional-level materials, and really hone their skills.”

The studio recently received a grant that allows them to lower the drop in rate for teens, with the hope that more students will be able to utilize this resource, becoming a place for art but also a place where young minds can gather as one.

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“This is their space,” Rachel Basye, the executive director of Teen Art Nights says. “They can do what they want – talk about things that are important to them, they can bring in music and make it their time.”

LINK: Art Students League of Denver

Makenzie O'Keefe