The nonprofit media arts center Venice Arts has been awarded a three-year grant of $150,000 from the W. M. Keck Foundation to support the expansion of its award-winning art mentoring program.

Venice Arts officials say the funding will enable the organization to add new workshops, increase enrollment, provide additional mentoring hours, and prepare more youth for advanced learning and college. The art mentoring program has been offering free arts workshops to low-income youth for the past 19 years.

In the past year, students who participated in the advanced studies track of the program -which provides students with one-on-one mentoring, lab time, and advanced workshops – received scholarships to attend the Art Institute of Chicago, Reed College, University of California at Davis, University of California at Berkeley, and UCLA, among others, according to Venice Arts. Some of these youth will be the first in their families to attend college.

With support from the Keck Foundation, Venice Arts will be able to help students discover their passion for media-based learning, officials said. New and expanded workshops backed by the grant will help prepare youths for advanced learning and college through a new “bridge” component, targeting middle school students and their parents, as well as a small subset of older teens.

This fall, high school teens will have the opportunity to enroll in the new “video journalism” workshop, which offers a hands-on immersion in the filmmaking process as students work in teams to complete a short documentary film with subject matter tied to community issues and the world at large.

Middle school youth will be able to participate in the new, intermediate-level “Direct This!” workshop, which reinforces the basic concepts and technical skills of filmmaking, including effective use of shot composition, editing, and sound, while introducing more advanced skills in storytelling and directing through the creation of short, individual and collaborative films.

Venice Arts runs education and mentoring programs in documentary photography, filmmaking, and multimedia primarily targeting Los Angeles area low-income youth.