urban renewal

Harris' Heroes: #CommonGround uses art to combat neighborhood crime

Common Ground uses art to combat neighborhood crime.  Photo by Common Ground  2008 “Turning Point” painted mural; Montgomery County / Prince Georges County border, MD

Common Ground uses art to combat neighborhood crime. Photo by Common Ground 2008 “Turning Point” painted mural; Montgomery County / Prince Georges County border, MD

SILVER SPRING, Md. (ABC7) — It wasn’t long ago that parents in the Silver Spring neighborhood known as Quebec Terrace didn’t feel it was safe for children to play outside. But inside a small community YMCA, young residents are working to improve their neighborhood.

It’s a program called Common Ground, run by the nonprofit Arts on the Block.

The youth are making mosaic-tiled stepping stones that will become part of a rain garden.

Previous projects have included illuminated mosaic address plaques, painted windows, and the largest project, a pair of mosaic staircases leading into the community.

In the process, the young artists learn leadership and teamwork skills, and they gain self-confidence.

“We’re using our own creativity, expressing it,” says 11-year-old Montserrat Esquivel.

Adds 12-year-old Jefferson Umanzor, “It makes me feel good. It makes me feel excited.”

Seventeen-year-old Dee Lam has been a part of Common Ground since eighth grade and now is a teen mentor.

“It’s everybody’s artwork. It’s like part of the neighborhood and I’m just proud about being in the Y,” says Lam.

Click here to read more from WJLA.

All I really need to know in life I learned from doing graffiti

Des Moines graffiti at the Des Moines Social Club. Photo by  Regan76  on Flickr, labeled for reuse.

Des Moines graffiti at the Des Moines Social Club. Photo by Regan76 on Flickr, labeled for reuse.

The Des Moines Register, February 26, 2016 by Michael Morain, mmorain@dmreg.com.

About 50 local high school students gathered downtown Friday for an unusual workshop that could have been called “All I really need to know in life I learned from doing graffiti.”

Start with an outline. Fill in the details. Fix the mistakes. Work together. Step back and admire the results.

“You can’t short-cut things. There’s a certain level of discipline to it,” the local graffiti artist who goes by Asphate told the group. “You’ve got to set yourself up for success.”

The graffiti project on a train car-size wall in the Des Moines Social Club courtyard was one of a handful of hands-on art activities at the third RunDSM Teen Summit. The two-day event organized by students in the Des Moines Public Schools’ Urban Leadership program encourages their peers to raise issues that concern them — racism, sexism, violence, social injustice — and then brainstorm solutions.

About 200 students from all the Des Moines high schools gathered for various town hall sessions titled “The N Word,” “White Privilege” and “Media Influence on Society,” among others. Afterward, they split up to put those ideas into spoken-word poetry, photography  — or spray paint. The mural took shape over the course of an hour, first with a basic outline, then with jumbo turquoise letters that spelled TEEN SUMMIT.

Jaihon McCaleb, a North High School sophomore, stepped away from the mural for a moment to explain that the activities teach participants how to “be free,” how to “be comfortable and be yourself.”

Roosevelt High School senior Zakariyah Hill went to a morning session titled “Confidence in Color: Knowing and Embracing Your Roots” and said she learned about “our history, our roots, and then how to express that through art.”

Click here to learn more.

 

CHOP research shows fixing urban blight may reduce youth homicide, violence

DRUGS create thugs. GUNS kill sons. LOVE makes love. The choice is yours.   by  ESPO . West Philly, Philadelphia, PA. Photo by  venusinorbit .

DRUGS create thugs. GUNS kill sons. LOVE makes love. The choice is yours. by ESPO. West Philly, Philadelphia, PA. Photo by venusinorbit.

Philly Voice, March 7, 2016 by Elisa Lala

A newly published study by the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, found environmental commonalities in cases of street shootings that result in death - vacant lots and insufficient lighting nearby.

The team looked at Philadelphia residents ages 13 to 20 who were killed between 2010 and 2012 and found that the odds that a young person being a victim of a homicide were significantly higher in locations near vacant lots, homes with security bars on windows and streets lacking lighting.

This suggests that conducting a simple and inexpensive revitalization efforts in blighted urban areas, including targeted areas in Philadelphia, could reduce the rate of homicides, particularly those involving young people.

Click here for more.