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YAYA Opens New Arts Center In Central City

For the past 27 years, Young Aspirations/Young Artists — or YAYA — has provided free arts and entrepreneurship classes for young people in New Orleans.

Now the group has a new Arts Center on LaSalle Street in Central City. They celebrated the grand opening on Tuesday.

Until now, YAYA had two studios. One in the Central Business District, the other in Mid-City.

"We really needed to be able to centralize our operations," says CEO Gene Meneray. "We wanted to find a neighborhood where it was easily accessible via public transportation and around a lot of schools. And this YAYA Arts Center on LaSalle fit the bill perfectly."

The new center includes classrooms, gallery space and public glass and ceramics studios. Also, a courtyard surrounded by trees. That appeals to artists Mia Davis, Ian Jackson, and Paris Vincent.

"I think artists are at their best naturally when they're around nature," Davis says. "So this is gonna help a lot."

Their last view, Jackson says, was "a Rouses. And a driveway. And a few parked cars."

"We have more things to see and learn from and feed off of," Vincent says.

YAYA hopes to attract more young artists from Central City and is currently accepting applications.

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