After receiving a grant from the Minnesota Humanities Center, NOC launched its first ever youth arts program this summer. The program, called It’s Your Neighborhood: Change It Up! was designed for youth ages 12 through 18. The program utilized what is called a story circle format, which meant that at the beginning of each session the group of participants would be asked a specific question, after which participants would then pair off and tell their stories to a partner. This activity served to ground youth in the space and also served to create a sense of group cohesion. Each day, after the story circle, the youth would then meet with a different local artist who would lead a workshop related to the artist’s specific medium. The workshop would also relate to the question of the day.
The program was initially designed to last three weeks, but it was shortened to just two weeks. Instead of using the usual format for the third week, during the last week NOC partnered with EMERGE’s StreetWerks team. NOC’s facilitators, Junauda Petrus and Tyrone Raino, led one class with EMERGE’s youth on the life and history of Assata Shakur and a second, smaller class with the youth on photography and mural making as they both related to the realities of the Northside.
To culminate its first ever youth arts program, NOC hosted a block party where youth artwork was displayed and a community mural was painted. There was lots of good food thanks to Avenue Eatery, Little Ceasars and the Cookie Cart. The party also featured DJ Advance and performances by CoolCiti, Elsa Binyam, Tatiana Buckner and Calvin Banks. For more pictures look here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151555798653742.1073741838.371080253741&type=1