In The Margins



Arts education programs in inner-city, high-poverty school districts are often cut, or never funded at all.


An after school arts program that pairs students with teachers and professional mentors to explore and develop their own creative voices.

Program Summary

In the Margins is an after school program that pairs K-12 students with teachers and mentors from the visual arts community to give them the education they can’t get from school or through private means. It will run the length of one school year in six cities across the country, during which they’ll discover and develop their own creative voices.

Why This Matters to Me

My cousin took his first ever art class at age nine at a local rec center in Virginia Beach when he came to stay with me during the summer of 2002. When he went back home to Detroit, he was going back to a household that couldn’t afford arts supplies or classes, and a school district that couldn’t afford them, either. VSCO’s mission is to empower people everywhere to create, and kids like my cousin need that opportunity more now than ever before.

Program Introduction

In the Margins is a community effort to help empower kids and teens through creativity who don’t have public or private access to visual arts. To begin the process, a journal will posted introducing the program and its goals, urging community members to help out and take action.

Social Activation

VSCO has an immense community of creators–painters, photographers, directors, doodlers, sculptors–whose collective opinion can help shape the program. Through its social channels, VSCO will encourage users to post images to their VSCO app accounts using #educator, #workspace, and #mycity. This way, community members can have a direct impact in shaping the program.


Share and tag an educator that helped you become the creative person you are today.


Share images of workspaces that inspire you–desks, chairs, lights, decor, whatever it is that makes you feel comfortable, motivated, and creative.


There’s a reason some people gravitate toward cities, and reasons why you love the one you live in. Share your favorite parts, the best parts, of your city.


Aggregating the results from the hashtags, VSCO will release a curated selection of educators, workspace inspiration images, and cities where In the Margins will take place via their website. Community members can then vote for their favorites, and check for a special VSCO journal, along with an email, to reveal the winning educators, cities and workspace designs.

Program Start

The In the Margins VSCO journal will update to reveal the chosen educators, locations, and feature a collection of selected images from the new spaces in each city.

San Francisco, CA

Detroit, MI

New York City, NY

Baltimore, MD

Los Angeles, CA

New Orleans, LO

For each new space, a vacant property will be chosen and the interior renovated to suit the needs of the program. Many of these cities are undergoing or have undergone gentrification, and have seen as parts of neighborhoods razed to the ground to make way for “brands.” These spaces will retain as much original character as possible so they function as extensions of the neighborhood instead of intrusions into the neighborhood.


As the program progresses, VSCO will continue to post updated journals and collections of the work students are doing, to give community members an idea of how people can evolve when they’re given a chance and some tools and somebody that cares.


Students will have a chance to become published artists at the end of the program. Selected work–photos, or any work that lends itself to be photographed–will be published in a coffee table book available for sale online at, as well as other digital and physical retailers like Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Urban Outfitters.


Proceeds will go to the students’ schools and Right to the City.

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