The YouthArts Project, one of the most unusual youth publications on the World Wide Web, quietly celebrated its Independence Day by putting some final touches on its western edition's move to an independent new home on the Web.
With an Annenberg grant, co-publisher John Waiblinger had acquired his own server and six Apple computers, then created a public-access Internet facility that he named the Queer CyberCenter. A few weeks ago, he moved YouthArts West to the QCC from its former home on the USC server. The QCC is located in the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center. YAW's new URL is now http://www.qcc.org/yap.
Founded in July 1995 by Wharton student Darin Weeks and author Patricia Nell Warren, and expanded three months later when USC librarian John Waiblinger joined the volunteer staff, the YouthArts Project has made its mark on America in its baby year. It now publishes some of the solidest young (25 or under) gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender writing, art, opinion and style. YAP got in the face of the Justice Department about CDA censorship on the Internet. Three of the four youth affidavits filed with the federal district court, in this case affecting millions of young people, were YouthArts voices -- Hunter Allen (17), Rheana (Juno) Parrenas (16), and Christine Soto (19). Their affidavits, posted on YouthArts West, are searing statements of the need for youth free speech.
Last Saturday, YouthArts West resumed the regular workshops which make it unique on the Web. Interested local young people converged on the computer room with their latest work, to participate in the publishing process, learn about html and graphics programs, and get career boosts. They included several regulars and a new African-American writer, Armond Anderson-Bell (19), with chapters from his hypertext fantasy novel. YAW has already helped boost some careers, publishing awardwinning talent like photographer Chris Balian, Filipina poet Juno Parrenas and Latina poet Christine Soto.
YouthArts East continues to be webmastered by Darin Weeks, and is located on the U of Pennsylvania computer, courtesy of Penn's LGBA, at http://dolphin.upenn.edu/~lgba/youtharts. From time to time, similar workshops happen at LGBA, with input from writers like Daniel Sloane, Leah Sheppard, Maria Gonzalez, Lani Ka'ahumanu, Vanessa Eisemann and Paul Lukasiak.
Unlike most ezines, the YouthArts Project does not have monthly issues. It is more like a museum of contemporary young gay talent, with the most prolific contributors able to turn their pages into growing "museum wings." Nor are the two sites formally "bi-coastal" -- their pages are peppered with work from the Midwest, Texas, the South. The first few submissions have arrived from other countries.
Among the new additions to YAW:
For its part, YAE has moved into cutting-edge investigative reporting, in Paul Lukasiak's hair-raising report on ROTC on campus.
To come: YouthArts chats. John Waiblinger is getting the chat software up and debugged. When it's ready, our scattered participants will be able to network more easily, have online learning sessions with established professionals, and talk about how they will make a deeper mark on America.
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