Video courtesy of Greater Good Studio


Insight: Giving teens a creative key

For teens inside a juvenile detention center, arts education programs can help them invest in their talents, pursue creative expression - even develop a new outlook on life. But once on the outside again, kids can easily lose touch with all they've learned and the teaching artists they've met. We developed a digital platform to bridge that gap.


The Chicago region's major community foundation, The Chicago Community Trust, partnered with Greater Good Studio to design a digital resource that youth would receive on a USB drive as they're released from juvenile detention. It was originally envisioned as a simple directory of the arts organizations, which they'd been exposed to during regular programming at the jail. But after our research, it became something even bigger.


Greater Good Studio interviewed teaching artists within the JTDC, who talked about the realities of kids leaving the detention center: limited mobility due to parole restrictions, cost of travel and perils of crossing gang lines. All keeping the recently-released youth from showing up at arts organizations' doors. Teaching artists grappled with a heartbreaking reality: youth needed so much more basics, like housing and mental health services. During prototyping, youth tested our mockups and schooled us on exactly where our solutions failed. They wanted deep content on the creative disciplines they loved and practiced, not basic information on art forms that they didn't care about.


We created DRIVE, a digital platform on a USB drive, branded with a youth-focused voice and packaging. Due to security risks, the computers inside the detention center lack any outside internet connection, so we created a locally stored, hard-coded website with in-depth content on seven different types of art.

Together with arts education partners, we filled DRIVE with in-depth content that brings each art form to life. If teens can't travel to an arts organization's classes, this is the next best thing. DRIVE also features connections to housing and mental health services, how to expunge their criminal record, how to re-enroll in school, and lots more.

  • Client: JTDC at Greater Good Studio
  • Time:2013-2014
  • My role: Information Architecture, Interaction Design, HTML/CSS, Platform testing

  • Site:
  • Team: George Aye, Annemarie Spitz, Marlies Deforche