Meet the Changemakers: What becomes possible when disenfranchised teens become authors of change for the better

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Our founder, Antony Posada was mentioned by nonprofit, Sheltering Arms, which provides services and support to underserved youth and local families to help them out of the cycle of poverty.

How Training Works: A Snapshot

Anthony Posada is surrounded by soda, water, takeout Chinese food, and staff and Youth Corps members, as he launches into “Know Your Rights Training on Police Encounters.” A Legal Aid Society Public Defender, Mr. Posada also founded the non-profit, Project Attica, leveraging his own brand of “artivisim” – social justice-themed art activities that help underserved communities. Posada has been on the wrong side of “stop-and-frisk” himself, so his knowledge goes deep. But so does his belief in the transformative power of art.

“Raise your hand, if you know what your Miranda rights are,” he encourages. Hands spring up everywhere – and fast. “I think you have the right to not give them your name?” someone volunteers. “I got a question,” another member says. “Don’t you have the right to remain silent?” Posada captures their ideas on the board, as the room leans in to decode mystifying laws.

For the role-playing improv on positive interaction with law enforcement, he asks, “Who wants to be the criminal?” Again, hands spring up, as do a few enthusiastic participants. “Sit down and eat your eggroll!” one jovially teases.

After role-playing, Mr. Posada pivots: “I take my cue from you – what’s on your mind most?” A lot, it turns out, based on their responses: “I feel like I would be much better on community boards. It’s a much more personal thing.” “I really want to talk to the elected officials in my community.” “We’re preaching to the choir.” “We need to write this down.”


Arts Council of Southern #Indiana exhibit showcases work of at-risk youth

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NEW ALBANY — Today marks the start of a month-long art show in New Albany exhibiting the works of at-risk youth as they work through trauma with art.

Kentuckiana's Inspired Building Bridges opens to the public today at the Arts Council of Southern Indiana in New Albany, featuring the portraits of community leaders, painted by students at Maryhurst, a private non profit agency that cares for more than 400 children and families each year, according to a news release.

The annual show, in its eighth year, has been hosted at different cultural spots each year; past locations include the Muhammid Ali Center and the African-American Heritage Museum.

The program pairs the kids with local leaders for interviews and photos the children then use as a marker for painting the portraits. The project not only gives children who may have experienced trauma a creative outlet, but seeks to inspire them by showing them their potential in the community.

Youth group #Groundswell aims to expand #art and #activism work

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In 1996, Groundswell’s first mural went up on a building in Williamsburg. That piece, addressing the topic of tenants’ rights, no longer exists. It’s been whitewashed. But the nonprofit, which is dedicated to student art and activism, is still making its mark across the city with 500 murals and counting.

Robyne Walker Murphy, the social justice organization’s new executive director, has noticed Groundswell’s work as long as she’s lived in New York, some 18 years now.

“These murals were just a part of the landscape — part of my daily walk or just being in the neighborhood,” said Murphy, an art and social justice educator and administrator who joined the organization a year ago. “You would just see them everywhere.”

The murals are a large part of the organization’s mission — working with teaching artists, students primarily from ages 16 to 19, local groups and schools to address issues affecting the community and creating public art that reflects those issues.

“We’re not just painting things to make it really beautiful,” Murphy said. “We’re speaking to issues like police brutality and sexual harassment. We’re also talking about possibility and celebrating the beauty in these communities, too.”

In recent years, Groundswell has also expanded its programming to reach more students and people interested in “artivism” — a portmanteau of art and activism.

Former foster youth share stories of resiliency

Jamie Lee Evans, director of the Foster Youth Museum, introduces the speakers at the foster youth panel held on Sunday at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History. (Lucjan Szewczyk -- Santa Cruz Sentinel) 

Jamie Lee Evans, director of the Foster Youth Museum, introduces the speakers at the foster youth panel held on Sunday at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History. (Lucjan Szewczyk -- Santa Cruz Sentinel) 

SANTA CRUZ >> The difference between walking out of foster care empowered and walking out having sustained lifelong injuries could be as simple as the homes in which you were placed. But the uniting factor that brought several former foster children to speak out about their experiences on Sunday was resiliency.

During the Fostering Resilience event held at the Museum of Art and History, panelists from California Youth Connection opened up to discuss how they found their way.

The panels and accompanying art activism workshop and youth-led performances tie into the larger theme of the foster youth experience explored by the museum’s “Lost Childhoods” exhibit on life inside the California foster care system. For at least one of the panelists, Summer Rae Worsham, 21, just being able to come and see the exhibit was something to cross off her bucket list.

“There is a lot of stigma around foster youth — they are bad, they are not going to amount to much — all these statistics packed against us,” Worsham said. “I challenge people to do the research, experience foster kids and learn what they have been through.”

It is exactly this message that some of the attendees took to heart and walked away with.

More here.

Photos from our #Art and #Activism workshop at CAMBA-Beacon

We were invited by CAMBA-Beacon to conduct an Artivist workshop focused on Anti-Bullying/Anti-Violence. Project Attica conducted two workshops serving 60 participants in total.

CAMBA-Beacons are community centers serving the whole family (children and adults) and offering a variety of services and activities to enhance community engagement and healthy living. Beacons operate after school, during the evening and on weekends and represent city-wide cooperation with the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) and the Department of Education.

All of CAMBA’s Beacon Centers offer Teen ACTION programs, which seek to cultivate an ethic of service, develop life skills and critical thinking skills, develop leadership skills and promote commitment to academic achievement through a chance to engage in structured learning, service projects, and reflection.

Check out our photos below!

Would you like to host one of our Artivism workshops at your school or non-profit? We would love to hear from you! Contact us!

Since 2011, Project Attica has brought Artivism – a free, dynamic, visual art, interactive workshop to students in New York City. Held in middle schools, high schools and community organizations in the city, Artivism provides students with a space to create works of art by expressing their views about social justice issues on wearable canvases.