PlatteForum’s ArtLab is an innovative year-round program for under-resourced high school youth located in Denver, Colorado.

Based on best practices for youth development programs, PlatteForum’s ArtLab program integrates the creative process and arts-based learning with academic, personal, and professional skill development. As an intensive program, we are limited to 18 youth;  all applicants go through a competitive application and interview process to be considered.

Applicants do not need to have an arts background to be considered. The program is tailored to serve youth who do not have access to learning through the arts and would benefit from structured immersion in the creative process.

Applications for ArtLab are currently closed and will re-open in early 2021.

Please sign up for our newsletter and follow us on social media to be alerted about future opportunities.

ArtLab interns pose in front of a mural they designed and painted at Crush Walls in Denver

PlatteForum ArtLab Interns and staff pose in front of a mural they designed and painted at Crush Walls, in September 2019.


PlatteForum ArtLab

Imagining working with artists from around the world, meeting new friends, building skills, and getting paid to learn and create! PlatteForum’s ArtLab Internships offer all of these opportunities and more to high school age youth in the Denver metro area. Selected participants are involved in the creation and presentation of major works for the public. Interns collaborate with and receive guidance and mentoring from working artists, local leaders and business professionals.

The program combines organic and structured activities with a respectful and affirming culture of learning. Participants learn to work together as a team, communicate, accept differences, and focus on completing projects as team. Previous interns report feeling a sense of accomplishment, pride, and shared purpose as ArtLab Interns.

We are proud to say that 97% of PlatteForum ArtLab Interns complete high school and 75% go on to university or college. Over half of our interns have been the first in their family to do so.

All projects by PlatteForum ArtLab Interns directly address social issues affecting their generation. Interns are supported in developing their leadership skills and becoming catalysts for change in their communities.


An ArtLab intern poses with a sculpture made in collaboration with artist Frankie Toan

Artwork by Frankie Toan

ArtLab Cultural Equity Statement

Created by PlatteForum’s ArtLab interns

Adopted and approved by PlatteForum Board of Directors on 8/17/2019 

As we acknowledge cultural equity, we must first acknowledge and honor that we are on the traditional territory of the Arapaho, Cheyenne, Ute and Očeti Šakówiŋ (Sioux) tribal nations.

Cultural equity within our community of PlatteForum interns, and staff, resembles a neighborhood. Our neighborhood has their own houses with intersectionalities, but every house has their own stories, their own truth. We as a community value those stories, regardless of age, identity, race, and any of the above.

Our community recognizes the privileges of people who make up our community and surround us, but we also do not use our privilege to mis- represent each other. We understand the world around us is a place of systematic oppression and we strive to act in ways that build cultural equity. We empower each other as a neighborhood would: help with our passions – art related or otherwise. We embrace the cultures of others and advocate for them. Ultimately, we value everyone’s experiences and how they’ve played into and will continue to play into our lives. We understand the process of becoming a person in a world of rejection, we value the process as humans and understand our staff. But most importantly we value our community as a whole.

Requests from ArtLab Interns to take action toward cultural equity:

  1. Create awareness of the structures of privilege within the dominant culture of the art and nonprofit world and how PlatteForum exists within those systems and structures.
  2. Hold anti-oppression and anti-racism workshops with staff, board and ArtLab.
  3. Have the board and staff take the implicit bias test and make space for reflection on an ongoing basis.
  4. Create policies of accountability within the organization to prevent and reduce harm.
  5. Create space for “Conversations with Gen Z” between ArtLab, board and staff in order to get to know one another and our different backgrounds.
  6. Encourage staff and board to develop self-awareness through research and taking the initiative to educate oneself and recognize privilege.
  7. Create an ally toolkit for staff, board and ArtLab.
  8. Honor complexity of social issues and identities.
  9. Have PlatteForum board report out on progress towards cultural equity.