Current ArtLab Interns

Based on best practices for youth development programs, PlatteForum’s ArtLab is an innovative year-round, out-of-school program for under-resourced high school youth that integrates the creative process and arts-based learning with academic, personal, and professional skill development. As an intensive program, we are limited to 15 youth who go through a competitive application and interview process. Learn more about our current ArtLab Interns below. For more information on ArtLab or to learn about sponsoring an ArtLab Intern contact Esther Hernandez or Rogelio Munoz-Vargas.

Xanayia McKinneyXanayia McKinney

Contemporary Learning Academy

I am interested in art of any kind, they are all beautiful in their own ways. I love every kind of music, every genre has something for everyone if they look hard. In the future I’d like to be on a team for designing video games and for making Manga comics. Performing with the Denver orchestra is a goal I’d like to accomplish as a musician (I play the cello). Going to college is a must for me.

Axel LeonhardtAxel Leonhardt

Golden High School


Queer artist that specializes in watercolor, oil and ink. Dabbles in traditional photography and printmaking. Favors tea over coffee and dogs over cats. Aspiring tattoo artist and hopefully art professor. Always changing, always happy to be here.

Jailyn FrancoJailyn Franco

Academy of Urban Learning

I’m Jailyn Franco! I’m a 15 year old junior at Academy of Urban Learning in Northwest Denver. I was born and raised in Denver and have lived here my entire life. Some of my interests are: art, animals, my Native American culture and nature. I like to paint, go to the mountains, take care of my animals, including my pet dove, Bagheera. I joined ArtLab to challenge myself and to learn new and exciting techniques. Some of my future goals are to travel the world and even move out of state and live by the beach.

Aaliyah DiGiacomoAaliyah DiGiacomo

Golden High School

I’m very interested in photography and poetry. My dreams are to never stop learning and to travel the world. I hope to see change in the treatment of LGBTQIA+ as well as women, POC and all around more kindness and inclusiveness in the world. In my teens I hope to achieve attending college and finally accepting the entirety of who I am.

Francis AlmanzaFrancis Almanza

Mapleton Expeditionary Arts School

Oh hi world, it’s Francis. I’m 17, bigender and pansexual. I’m in love with art and making youtube videos about random things. My favorite genre of music is all types of rock from indie to modern to punk to heavy metal. My favorite type of art is abstract. I feel like there is a very hidden and sometimes visible beauty in each piece.

Sophie JeanelleSophie Jeanelle

JeffCo Open School

My whole life I have been surrounded by art. I grew up with a mother who is an incredible installation artist. From her I have learned to see the world in beauty, art and concepts. I am very interested in psychology, the paranormal and para-pyschology. With these interests I make myself vulnerable by putting these subjects into my artistic process through 8mm film, fashion design, painting, writing and make-up. My art is very important to my identity because it is the most intimate way of putting my philosophies, concepts and experience into the physical world.

Isnino SalatIsnino Salat

Rocky Mountain School of Expeditionary Learning

My name is Isnino, I am a Junior at Rocky Mountain School of Expeditionary Learning. If I were to be given an empty building in a cool city, I would renovate it to make it a girl cave where I and others can come to relax have a thrill or express their creativity.

Zaida SeverZaida Sever

Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy

I have been working on my skills as an artist since middle school and I hope to use my art as an asset to the community.

Destany RodriguezDestany Rodriguez

Montbello High School

In my lifetime I want to see myself change. I want to see less systemic oppression within my community and see my brothers and sisters succeed without intentional problems in the way. I want to see myself find my calling in art and know what I am.

Celestina PopelkaCelestina Popelka

Bolt Academy

My dreams are to become identified as a well know artist. With my art I would like to make big changes in our community. Being an introvert and dealing with a lot of personal problems I would like to let people know who I am using art as my voice.

Lucina RojoLucina Rojo

DSST: Cole

I am interested in music, theater and art. I speak both Spanish and English. In the future I’d like to travel to many parts of the world.

Jojo ValdezJojo Valdez

Abraham Lincoln High School

I am a newfound artist that dreams of one day becoming a manga artist. I would love to send a profound message to myself and  the world that I am something to look up to. I have the strangest feeling that I will find the true meaning of what it means to be a manga artist with ArtLab.I have a belief in my art career that I have thought about, “Reinvent yourself,” and live my life to this saying, “the world is mine!”

Mixi BautistaMixi Bautista

North High School

I’m Mixi, 16 years old and a digital artist who enjoys all art mediums from traditional pencil drawing to dancing and singing. My main interests are mostly around digital and cartoon design but I usually just do it for fun. It’d be nice to make it a career but I’m primarily interested in Forensics, which I think is an art of it’s own. I joined ArtLab on a whim. I literally just got attracted by the fact that I would get paid for working with art in all it’s forms but I stayed for the people and the environment I was in. I’m learning a lot of new things and the people I work with are all inspirational. My goals for the future is to be happy with myself and to hopefully change the world for the better with what I know, and what I will learn. I want to help others understand how wonderful art can be and how one can accomplish a lot through speaking through art when they can’t use their voice.
Zarion CrewsZarion Crews

Rise Up Community School

I am a music producer of 5 years, a dancer and abstract artist with my work I want people to get inspiration ,strive for what they want in life and understand that there are no limits in this world.

Fania SwadenerFania Swadener

Abraham Lincoln High School

I’m Fania, i’m 16 years old and have considered myself an artist from age six. I’ve been surrounded by art my whole life which has influenced my view and relationship with art. My main focus is always to grow as a person and to treat myself and others kindly, often you can tell in my art what mindset and place i’m in when I don’t do these things for myself. PlatteForum has helped me in numerous ways to grow and push myself, and i’m grateful for where i’m at.
Jay CarterJay Carter

“We all have a monster within; the difference is in degree, not in kind.” – Douglas Preston
for most of my life i grew up afraid of the things i was good at. but over time i became a new person. a new identity. this one is called: my name is jay (carter)lugnii, or nolabledyouth if you will. i’m 16 and i go to mapleton expeditionary school of the arts or just MESA. i don’t have any special talents other than the one i was born with. the talent that is called activism. i’m not a superhero, i’m a youth voice fighting for justice.
… oh and art too.