Late Monday afternoon, a Papa John's delivery man hustled through the the quiet gallery at ArtsPlace with a stack of pizzas and several bottles of soda.
Wherever teenagers gather, there has to be pizza.
The gallery and LexArts offices usually host events where wine and cheese are more appropriate, but the afternoon's event was a meeting of the Lexington Youth Arts Council.
"I know Lexington has lots of arts opportunities directed to older people," said council president Ashley Gumm, 17, a senior at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School. "It's great to have this opportunity to come over here after school and do artsy stuff. How many kids get to build a canvas?"
The focus of Monday's meeting was putting together a white 6-foot-by-8-foot canvas that will be the centerpiece of the YAC's participation in LexArts' Arts Showcase Weekend. Visitors to the ArtsPlace Gallery will have a chance to put their marks on the canvas, and LexArts community arts manager Nathan Zamarron suggested that it might become a traveling symbol of the group.
LexArts formed the Youth Arts Council in the fall as "an opportunity for the youth of Fayette County to design and implement peer programs for all ages of youth," Zamarron said.
LexArts staff organized the first few meetings of the group, which first met in November. The idea was to turn over the majority of operations of the council to students, and Zamarron said that has happened quickly.
Last month, he said, the group elected officers, and they were taking the lead on all aspects of the Arts Showcase activities — although he did carefully instruct some of the kids on how to use power tools to make the canvas' frame.
At Monday's meeting, council editor Ciara Thomas, 18, a Lexington Catholic High School senior, proudly showed off promotional cards for Saturday's activities that fellow council members could pass out at their schools.
"There are a lot of kids that wouldn't generally be interested in the arts, but they might come out if their friends invite them," Thomas said.
Many of the students on the YAC are involved in the arts at their schools and with organizations such as the Central Kentucky Youth Orchestras and Apprentice Players. They were eager to get in the new organization.
"There's nothing else like it, where kids from all kinds of arts and different schools can get together," said Sydney Steele, 18, a senior at the School for Creative and Performing Arts.
Some of the participants plan to seek careers in the arts. Others, including Gumm, are pursuing other job paths.
"I want to be a doctor," she said. "But I feel the creativity I have developed in the arts will help me as a doctor, and I want to stay involved in the arts by being on boards and things like that."
Arts Council seniors are aware that they will not be part of the group for long. But they say setting a stage for their successors is important.
"SCAPA has given us so many opportunities, and this is a way of giving back," junior Ellie Todd said.
Added Steele: "This is an experimental year, but I think it's going to take off."