YO! Watts College Center

YO! Watts College Center


Philadelphia based artist Nosego, or Yis Goodwin, delves into the undivided creativity of his subconscious for inspiration. Unrestrained by the limitations of reality, his imagination is given free reign throughout his creative process. Nosego’s works host a wealth of quasi-mythological characters often in varying degrees animal, humanoid and object. By defamiliarizing the known objects of the world through the absurdist reconstitution of their parts, Nosego’s works are like Frankensteinian aberrations: beautiful, odd and entirely unknown. Childlike and unerringly spontaneous, the artist’s creatures are whimsically grotesque and captivating; culled intuitively from images or themes that resonate and linger in the recesses of the artist’s imagination. With the skill of an accomplished illustrator and graphic artist, Nosego’s images are concise and graphically powerful, expressing the pure unadulterated enjoyment in the creative play of their making. They are equal parts fantasy and technique, and reveal the impressive breadth of Nosego’s uncensored vision.


Curiot’s works are similarly preoccupied with the expression of hybrid worlds. The artist draws his inspiration in part from traditional Mexican folklore to explore the contemporary re-expression of myth and symbolism. Based in Mexico city, Favio Martinez, alias Curiot, is inspired by the coexisting facets of urban contemporaneity and traditional Mexican culture, cultivating work that incorporates an appreciation of their intersecting cultural realities. The artist appropriates mythological narrative, and the totemic function of ancient and tribal art, to personalize the visual power of their archetypes. Curiot’s works are highly detailed, symbolist, and look to traditional ritual and even textile. The imagery is compellingly dystopian at times, suggesting some larger cultural conflict or irresolution at the heart of the work. With the inclusion of geometric patterns, beautifully vibrant colors and textures, tribal motifs, and folkloric imagery, Curiot creates highly detailed and saturated works that seek to engage the significance of cultural legacy from the vantage point of a contemporary psyche.

ABOUT YO! Watts College Center

The Los Angeles Youth Opportunity Movement (LAYOM) was created in 2000, when Los Angeles received a five-year Youth Opportunity (YO!) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to address the high rate of school-aged dropouts (over 50 percent) and unemployment among youth in the communities of Boyle Heights and Watts.

In 2002, with a grant from the city’s Community Development Block Grant, LAYOM replicated its YO! program model on a smaller scale in the community of Pacoima in the north San Fernando Valley. Pacoima has similar rates of poverty, violence and low educational attainment. LAYOM also manages two sub-grants: Rewarding Youth Achievement to help in-school youth enter post-secondary education and Intensive Transition to coordinate transition of probation youth.


The national YO! Initiative provides funds to increase long-term employment of youth who live in high-poverty areas specifically designated as empowerment zones or enterprise communities. This is to be accomplished by “saturating” these communities with services for a significant portion of all youth residents.


“To promote youth achievement by working with families and community partners to create opportunities for youth to reach their education, employment and personal development goals.”

Target Population

The three YO! Programs have enrolled and served 3,900 youth since September 2000. The youth are all residents of the target empowerment zones. Nearly half (48 percent) are between the ages of 14-16, with 52 percent ages 17-21. Fifty-seven percent were enrolled in school when they joined the program, and 54 percent are female. Sixty percent are white, 35 percent are African American, 4 percent are Native American and 64 percent are Hispanic. Fourteen percent have been involved in the juvenile court system.


LAYOM is a vocational, educational, career and social support system involving 37 local community-based organizations that provide services under contract to LAYOM. In addition, about 100 non-financial partners provide in-kind services ranging from rent-free space to training, education, corporate support and volunteers. LAYOM programs operate in three communities: Watts, Boyle Heights and Pacoima/San Fernando Valley.

Upon enrollment, each youth develops a plan that details long- and short-term goals for education, employment and skill attainment. Program participation is structured by individual needs and goals, and all participants receive follow-up services for two years following placement. On average, youth participate in the program for about one year before they are placed in employment, long-term skills training or higher education.

Activities are divided into two categories: pre-placement and youth development, and take place at program sites, schools and partner agency sites within the community. Pre-placement activities include job readiness training, GED preparation, college/SAT preparation, internships/subsidized employment, short-term occupational skills training and reading/math remediation.

Youth development activities include community service, sports/recreation, support groups, peer-to-peer mentoring, alumni groups, life skills training, tutoring and secondary school extracurricular activities. Adult mentoring is provided for each youth from outreach to exit.