Cool Jobs Expo hit by freaky snowstorm; will be reprised Oct 2, 3, and 4!

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Day #1 of Cool Jobs ‘18, was Tuesday, March 20th, and marked the first day of spring. But that didn’t stop a wicked Nor’easter from blowing into town that night, bringing snow and a raft of school closings. No schools – no kids. We had to cancel the last two days of Cool Jobs. Major bummer!


Not one week after this setback, dates were set for a reprise of the complete Cool Jobs ‘18 – all THREE DAYS.  Leaving March to the lions, we’re moving this hugely successful career awareness program to the golden days of October from here out.


We will hold Cool Jobs Part Two on October 2, 3 and 4. All the Presenters, volunteers and schools are re-lined up and ready to go.

“I MUST finish this important event for the kids – I wouldn’t miss it for the world!”, exclaimed a 3rd year Presenter.


Still, we packed a lot into that one March day. Two hundred Philadelphia area public school students had one heck of a time.


Just ask 12-year-old Elli, a 7th grader from Baldi Middle School.


“The people [the presenters], it’s like they really had a big passion for their work. They really loved it,” says Elli.


She said she used to think all you could do with a talent for art was draw and paint.


“But now I see there are so many paths you can take. I can’t wait to go home and tell my younger sister. She’s really into art.”


Serenity, a 7th grader at Pennypacker Elementary School, was expecting the typical “career day.”


“I didn’t expect so much interaction,” she said. “Being able to ask questions. You don’t get that in a normal experience. It was amazing how everything was explained, even the salaries.”


Kids lucky enough to experience Day #1 of Cool Jobs met:


  • Fine Art Digital Printer (and Fresh Artists co-founder) Roger Allen, who, with Alex Boatman, demonstrated our large-format digital printers cranking out huge reproductions of children’s art before kids’ eyes. The 3D printer is always a show-stopper.
  • Industrial Designer Antonio Black, whose iconic kids products include a Hello Kitty TM lunch tote and a Dora the Explorer TM  play tent. Kids got that Antonio loves what he does so much, “it never feels like a job,” something most kids have never heard from a grown-up.
  • Producer/Performer Kaitlin Chin, who wowed the kids with her demonstration of acrobatic acumen, speaking to them from 18’ over their heads while wrapped in an aerial silk. “Wow” was the operative word when she showed them the costumes she designed and the airbrush makeup technique she uses to turn people into statues!
  • Puppeteers Michael Latini and Marc Petrosino, of Monkey Boys Productions, who designed and fabricated a now-famous prop for Saturday Night Live that enabled a sketch to go viral on YouTube last year.
  • Fashion Designer Jovan O’Connor, who demonstrated her craft by measuring kid volunteers to demonstrate how to drape and fit a garment. Kids were wowed to learn that Jovan designed a dress for Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Patti LaBelle!


As if this weren’t all quite enough to impress the most phlegmatic of 12-year-olds, Cool Job’ers got to watch Mark Dockum. Kenny Burns and Danny Gonzales from Axis Graphic Installations, entirely vinyl-wrap a Smart Car in artwork created by another Cool Jobs’ Presenter, famed muralist Glossblack.


The Expo’s finale was a stunning digital light show by Jefferson’s Fredric Fresh, Sara Boeno and Fresh Artists Board member and award-winning lighting artist, Lyn Godley. The kids got to control the digital mapping and animated music display on their way out the door!


Crate & Kids: a dramatic highlight

A dramatic addition to this year’s Cool Jobs was the unveiling of a new Crate & Kids line of bedding, designed by kids in Fresh Artists’ summer Design Camp. A flurry of national media attention heralded the collection and the idea that public school children were the creative force behind the launch! The products were on display at the reception the night before Cool Jobs and when the kids arrived the next morning. It was a thrilling crescendo to a jam-packed event.


Thanks to all our many creative friends who give up one to three days a year to produce Cool Jobs Expo for 600 young teens (this year we’ll serve almost 800 kids!)  A hearty thanks to the Specialty Graphics Imaging Association and their members for their strong support and participation as well as the thousands of ways they’ve helped build Fresh Artists with us.


It was a gee-whiz kinda day for the “tenders” and the “tended”! We can’t wait for October 2nd to finish what we started! Come join us in October when Cool Jobs crosses the paths of 800 young teens with the aim of influencing the trajectory they choose in life!