Steam Exchange (StEx) is a grassroots nonprofit organization located in the Smoketown Neighborhood of Louisville, KY. Their mission is to facilitate passion-driven learning experiences where individuals explore the world, themselves, and the arts through creative play and production. Steam Exchange uses the arts to teach concepts in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEAM). They work toward greater equity in our community by amplifying voice, showcasing creativity and leadership, and co-creating collaborative, public art with youth of color and low-income youth. Dialogue with people who live, learn, work or worship in Smoketown directly shapes workshop content and community projects.
StEx was launched in 2014 in response to the lack of neighborhood activities available to youth, made especially acute with the closing of the Presbyterian Community Center in 2013; Smoketown neighborhood residents clearly expressed a concern and desire for safe after school activities and facilities for youth in two comprehensive neighborhood surveys (conducted by New Directions Housing and Kentuckians for the Commonwealth).
StEx provides free, safe, structured afterschool programs for Smoketown youth ages 7-21. They recruit youth not already involved in out-of-school-time activities. Over the years, StEx has taught classes in STEAM, screen printing, bookbinding, painting, textiles, stop motion, computer programming and more.