We are Water

Charleena Lyles.   Say her name.   Say her name.   This weekend, Charleena Lyles was shot and killed in her home, in front of her children, by two police officers. Charleena Lyles was a 30-year-old Black mother. Charleena Lyles was a member of the Sand Point community. Charleena Lyles was pregnant. Charleena Lyles was […]

Charleena Lyles.
 
Say her name.
 
Say her name.
 
This weekend, Charleena Lyles was shot and killed in her home, in front of her children, by two police officers. Charleena Lyles was a 30-year-old Black mother. Charleena Lyles was a member of the Sand Point community. Charleena Lyles was pregnant. Charleena Lyles was shot and killed Sunday morning by two White police officers while they investigated her report of an attempted burglary. 
 
We at Arts Corps, grieve for Charleena’s four children, for the child in her womb, for her extended family, and for her community. There is a hole in their hearts that can never be filled.  We also feel saddened for the school community at Sand Point Elementary where Charleena was a parent and where Arts Corps’ Creative Schools Initiative  integrated arts into academic curriculum, boosting students’ confidence and creative freedom.  
 
It is too early to determine if the officers involved will be brought up on charges. It is not too early, however, to advocate for justice. Arts Corps calls for a fair and thorough investigation into these events. Knowing that the criminal justice system disproportionately affects people of color, we ask that the police departments reexamine how officers are trained. Police in other countries are trained to deescalate a situation, fire warning shots, or aim for non vital areas. Yet, that seems to be missing from US training protocol. Why?
 
Black people are repeatedly killed by police officers. The police officers responsible for the shootings are either acquitted, or not indicted at all. We, at Arts Corps, mourn. We cry.
 
We demand justice.
 
Charleena Lyles is the most recent victim of police violence, but unfortunately she is not the only one. Arts Corps continues to grieve the countless other black lives lost at the hands of police officers, including Philando Castille, whose shooter was acquitted in court on Friday. In May, the Department of Justice decided not to bring charges against the killers of Alton Sterling despite cell phone footage of the incident. Officer Betty Shelby was recently acquitted of murdering Terence Crutcher, though that was also caught on video. The officer that killed thirteen year old Tyre King killer was recently acquitted, and his actions justified. 
 
Say their names.
 
The criminal justice system in our county has deep-seated biases that urgently need to be addressed, and Arts Corps lends our voice to the growing movement of individuals and organizations calling for reform, namely the Black Lives Matter movement  and its work to “build and nurture a beloved community that is bonded together through a beautiful struggle that is restorative, not depleting.”
 
Fred Hampton said, “you can’t fight fire with fire, you fight with water.” Arts Corps knows the power of the arts, and wants to extinguish inequity in our communities. We need to come together as a community to help end this brutal cycle of police violence and create a better world for all of us.  
 
If you wish to donate directly to Charleena’s family, please visit her gofundme page: https://www.gofundme.com/bdgbc8pg
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Questions from our Executive Director

Last week I saw “Barbecue” at the Intiman theater where one conceit was telling the same story through a lens of whiteness, and through the lens of blackness. “Barbecue” was story of a down on its luck family trying to save their drug addicted sister. The play started with an all white family planning an […]

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Last week I saw “Barbecue” at the Intiman theater where one conceit was telling the same story through a lens of whiteness, and through the lens of blackness. “Barbecue” was story of a down on its luck family trying to save their drug addicted sister. The play started with an all white family planning an intervention, and after the blackout, the story continued, but the same characters were now all Black. It was interesting how race shaped the narrative. I won’t ruin the rest of the play, but I began wondering how a paradigm shift would impact other stories and possibly boost empathy, in audiences.

Then I saw Wonder Woman.

It was an enjoyable movie (quite enjoyable actually), and examined feminism through the lens of whiteness. The first time we meet Diana Prince she is being sought after by her black mammy. The next black woman we meet is a brute that speaks no words but is beaten with a large bat, yet feels no pain. That is the extent of women of color in that film.

Wonder Woman fights for humanity, but not all humans. This of course, is fine, but I wonder what would happen if the same story were told with black women. Black heroine chased by her white nanny. Big white woman hit with bat and says no words. Then black Wonder Woman battles the evils of African genocide and saves us from 500 years of oppression.

Or, would she fight alongside the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II? Would we see the character the same way, or would she be too militant? Would the movie get cancelled like ‘Underground,’ on WGN? Would white women be upset because they couldn’t see themselves in the character? Would the actress be chastised for supporting Black Lives Matter? Would it be a feminist movie or a black movie? Would my daughters leave the theater looking proud, instead of confused? Would she fall in love with an abolitionist? Would a love story even exist? Would Ares be the Egyptian god, Set? 

Would young people still make art?

Would it matter?

Would there still be educational inequity? 

What does representation mean, in 2017?

I guess we will find out next February…

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Announcing The Residency

Arts Corps, MoPOP and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are collaborating to host year 3 of The Residency (formerly known as  Hip Hop Artist Residency) from July 31- August 23, 2017.  The Residency breaks down the barriers of access to equitable arts experiences for underserved youth, ages 16-19, in the Seattle region in order to build […]

hhar-pinon-102Arts Corps, MoPOP and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are collaborating to host year 3 of The Residency (formerly known as  Hip Hop Artist Residency) from July 31- August 23, 2017.  The Residency breaks down the barriers of access to equitable arts experiences for underserved youth, ages 16-19, in the Seattle region in order to build their skills in collaboration, self-expression, technical acumen, leadership identity, and confidence as cultural change-makers. The intensive program will serve 40-45 emerging artists through two tracks over three weeks.  Each track will be led by two teaching artists and a youth intern serving 15-20 youth. 

hhar-pinon-255The Vocal Track will  foster self-expression through lyricism, rhyme structure, and delivery and the Production Track will emphasize media literacy, beat-making, and song construction. Participants will feature their work at the culminating event taking place at MoPOP’s SkyChurch.  The final three days of the summer intensive will focus on music industry business training and program evaluation with participants.  In the fall,  youth will participate in four monthly 3-hour cyphers, from September through December, as a way to advance their collaborative learning, workshop ideas with their cohort artists, and sustain the sense of shared community and motivation gained through the summer intensive. 

To apply to the program, go to the link below:

APPLY HERE

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Youth leaders: apply to be on our Board of Directors!

Youth of Seattle! Are you incredible? …YES! Do you have incredible leadership skills, a passion for the arts, and a vision for your community’s future? …Obviously! Apply to be on the Arts Corps Board of Directors! We are seeking youth members for the Board! We need you to keep us honest, visionary, & make sure […]

2016-alli-pinon-005Youth of Seattle! Are you incredible? …YES!

Do you have incredible leadership skills, a passion for the arts, and a vision for your community’s future? …Obviously!

Apply to be on the Arts Corps Board of Directors! We are seeking youth members for the Board!

We need you to keep us honest, visionary, & make sure all we do is dope as shit.

View the application for more information!

Arts Corps is a non-profit arts organization dedicated to battling racial and social injustice through the arts and providing free programming for K-12 students in King County. We have an incredible opportunity for 2 young leaders to join our Board of Directors.

The Arts Corps Board directs all the youth programming we offer, builds our vision for social justice and social change, and ensures that the entire organization listens to the communities and youth we serve. The board’s responsibilities range from revolutionary strategy to the nuts-and- bolts of running an organization (budgeting and management).

As a member of the Board, you will have the chance to connect with local artists and activists, gain visibility in the community, and help shape this beloved organization. You will speak for yourself and your peers, and ensure that all the work we do is directed to liberating and invigorating the young leaders of today. You will have mentorship opportunities from fellow board members to grow your leadership skills, and to mentor other young folks in organizing. In addition, you will collect powerful experience for your education, work, and life.

Apply online here!

Apply online above or print the application and mail to Arts Corps, 4408 Delridge Way SW Suite 110, Seattle, WA 98106

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Arts Corps and Youth Speaks Seattle is HIRING!

We are both sad and grateful to honor the 2-year service of Youth Speaks Seattle coordinator Christina Nguyen as she transitions out of her role this summer. Christina will forever be a member of the YSS fam and will be stepping into new roles. We celebrate her amazing leadership and are beginning to plan for the […]

We are both sad and grateful to honor the 2-year service of Youth Speaks Seattle coordinator Christina Nguyen as she transitions out of her role this summer. Christina will forever be a member of the YSS fam and will be stepping into new roles. We celebrate her amazing leadership and are beginning to plan for the coming year:

Arts Corps and Youth Speaks Seattle is HIRING! We are seeking an AmeriCorps Artist-in-Service Youth Speaks Seattle Coordinator for 2017-18. 

Want to collaborate with the dopest youth artist leaders (aka the SPOKES) in this town?

Want to coordinate the epic Youth Speaks Seattle Poetry Slams, open mics and writing circles?

Want to develop job skills as a teaching artist and arts administrator? 

…And so much more! Consider applying to be the next AmeriCorps Artist-in-Service Youth Speaks Seattle Coordinator at Arts Corps!

View the job description here for details.

How to apply:

Must complete online AmeriCorps Application and two complete reference checks: https://my.americorps.gov/mp/listing/viewListing.do?id=55951&fromSearch=true

Please send resume and cover letter to mail to pd@artscorps.org.

Applications turned in before July 12th will be prioritized.

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#RethinkHighschool

#RethinkHighschool: Youth Speaks Seattle and Brave New Voices Poetry Town Hall Youth Speaks Seattle and Arts Corps are partnering with XQ and Youth Speaks National to put on this event #RethinkHighschool, one of a series of events happening around the country We aim to: Share stories and perspectives from different people’s high school experiences Address […]

#RethinkHighschool: Youth Speaks Seattle and Brave New Voices Poetry Town Hall

Youth Speaks Seattle and Arts Corps are partnering with XQ and Youth Speaks National to put on this event #RethinkHighschool, one of a series of events happening around the country

We aim to:

  • Share stories and perspectives from different people’s high school experiences
  • Address issues that people face in Seattle’s education system
  • Begin the conversation on how we want our education to look

Spokes youth will be hosting the event, featuring a panel of community members, performances from local youth poets, three youth lead workshops and FREE FOOD!

Sunday, June 4, 6:30-8:30pm at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (4408 Delridge Way SW)

#RethinkHighschool poster

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