What’s #FosterCare Like? An #artexhibit shows us through the eyes of youth that lived it

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A San Francisco Bay Area museum is taking an unusual tack with an exhibition about foster youth in California. The Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History invited a team of former foster youth and advocates to help put the show together.

Five months before the show Lost Childhoods went up, around a hundred former foster youth and advocates began meeting at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History to talk about what the exhibition would look like.

Community engagement director Stacey Garcia explains, “We are not experts in what foster youth have gone through, what they want to share. We know how to make an exhibition, but we don’t know how to tell their story. They do.”

Jess Prudent works as an outreach assistant with Court Appointed Special Advocates of Santa Cruz County, which supports children in foster care.

Prudent was skeptical at first that the museum wanted anything more than superficial advice from the Creative Community Committee (C3), but was soon won over by the hands-on curatorial process.

Reaching Vulnerable Youth Through #Streetart in #Jamaica

Jamaica street art image courtesy of Streetartnews.

Jamaica street art image courtesy of Streetartnews.

The programme was conceived with the intention of finding the good that exists in these communities and using various art forms to highlight these positive elements so that youth living within these communities can use it as an encouraging reference point.

At the same time, it was envisaged that the programme would allow for the creation of a creative space where specifically targeted youth within these communities could learn and express themselves. Within this framework, participants would learn important skills, but more important, they would assist in creating the aesthetic that would better define themselves and their communities. For those who have shown clear artistic talent, they are expected to create at a level where they can become competent in their specialised area. They can even take it a step further and use their art to embark on their own entrepreneurial/professional path. Already, some of the art that is produced in the programme is sold through the Foundation.

Art on the Street is part of The MultiCare Youth Foundation's Visual Arts programme, which also includes the provision of training workshops and guided practice for teachers and students in a variety of art forms, with emphasis on the value of art for creative expression and as a career option.

More ‘inclusive and inspiring’ #publicart expected with city’s plan in #Chicago

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For Kamelia Hristeva, founder and CEO of Green Star Movement, art is about more than paint on walls or the tedium that can come from piecing a mosaic together.

“It creates a sense of place making, a place that’s inclusive and inspiring,” said Hristeva, whose non-profit, art-focused group is responsible for murals, sculptures and mosaics on elementary schools and underpasses throughout the city

“When you beautify a place people care more, it connects to people and helps them connect to different communities and learn about them.”

Through the city’s 50×50 neighborhood art project, Green Star Movement has been involved in creating murals at 65th and 67th Streets and at Belmont and Kenmore Avenues as well as other artworks.

And now more artists will get the opportunity to showcase their art in the city through Chicago’s first public art plan, which aims to showcase and generate more artwork in public spaces.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Friday announced the plan  – a collaboration between the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Department of Transportation, the Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Libraries and the Chicago Transit Authority among others.

“It’s the 50 year anniversary of the Wall of Respect and the Picasso sculpture. Those are reflection points for us in charting the history of Chicago and writing a new history,” the mayor said.

“We want to bring the city’s artists together to re-envision our spaces because they are places where we can bring people of different backgrounds together and create a common foundation.”

Whole Foods Market unveils public artwork, Harlem: Past, Present, Future

Mural at Whole Foods Harlem BILL MOORE PHOTO

Mural at Whole Foods Harlem BILL MOORE PHOTO

There was an official dedication of the public artwork, Harlem: Past, Present, Future, at Whole Foods Market Harlem Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017. Three large canvases were created as part of a Creative Art Works Public Art Youth Employment program, commissioned by Whole Foods. Nine students from A. Phillip Randolph Campus High School participated in this after-school program as paid youth apprentices. They were guided by CAW Teaching Artist Vince Ballentine, who previously worked on the Dr. Lottie Taylor Library Mural on the Fourth floor of A. Phillip Randolph, as well as the lunch room mural at PSMS 278 in Inwood, Manhattan.

Four APRCHS students participated in this event, including Matthew Smart (who also served as MC for a student question-and-answer session), Carla Mateo, who is represented as the face of Harlem’s youth on the canvas depicting the future, David Sarpong and Uriel Garcia Flores.

Also in attendance were James P. Thomas, constituent service liaison and community coordinator from the Office of Manhattan Borough President Gale E. Brewer; Lucia Albero, Whole Foods Metro Marketing team leader; Damon Young, Whole Foods Harlem Store team leader; CAW Executive Director Brian Ricklin; and CAW Program Director Daniel Bergman.

The youth apprentices who created this public art include Marcela Gomez, Julio Alvarez, Matthew Smart, Dorena Pink, Emilio Peralta, Halima Benjamin, Carla Mateo, Uriel Garcia Flores and David Sarpong.

#Str8Up Life Ministries aims to empower Indy urban youth

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The mission of Str8Up Life Ministries is to help kids in urban communities break the cycle of poverty.

Now they’re looking to expand and help more kids in Indianapolis.

“There’s a sense of despondency right now in youth culture, especially in urban youth culture,” said Str8Up Life founder Aaron Wilson. “For our teens, Str8Up is a bright touch point every week.”

Aaron and Jill Wilson founded the organization 17 years ago to help urban youth living in poverty and the dangerous lifestyle that often comes with it.

It’s grown from their front yard into a youth mentoring camp that reaches about 1,000 kids a year.

“I really don’t know where I would be without them,” said 23-year-old Brionna Tyson, who started attending at 7-years-old. “It’s like you get church on Sundays, but through the weekdays you have Mr. Aaron and Miss Jill.. just so they can try to keep you away from the streets.”

The organization works with schools to reinforce lessons of leadership, academics and life skills in kids who often deal with poverty, broken homes, gangs and drugs.

They’ve inspired others to volunteer, like Pastor Kenneth Johnson, the Indianapolis Colts Chaplain.