By Derek Peebles
August 26, 2012
Tafari McDade poses in front of a LED projected mural. SCPA students learned different styles of photographing street art.
Imagine moving from a single bedroom efficiency house to a multi-bedroom with all new furnishings. For seven years Elementz Hip Hop Youth Arts Center operated on the corner of Central Parkway and Liberty in that “single bedroom” house. Earlier this year, however, they moved into a new location on 1100 Race Street and exciting things have been happening.
Elementz works to build up a group of talented urban-inspired artists here in the Queen City using the very popular Hip Hop culture as a platform to inspire and engage inner city youth. Leveraging the core elements of Hip-Hop (dance, spoken word, graffiti, DJ’ing) we help youth develop leadership skills and unleash their creativity to produce and perform conscious hip hop that is respectful, insightful, and uplifting.
This summer our young people have had multiple performances at the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day Parade, the 20th Century Theatre in Hyde Park and Fountain Square, among others. The most recent performance was a hip-hop dance show at the Reds vs. the San Diego Padres baseball game on July 31, 2012.
Connecting with students from the School of Performing Arts (SCPA)
David Rosenthal of Prairie Inc, organized and produced a project in the last days of occupying the old building through creative writing and photography. Twelve students from the SCPA and five Elementz artists collaborated on capturing arts activities in Elementz. The work was documentary in nature as well as interpretive, responding to the themes and qualities of visual and performance art produced by Elementz artists. It was a fantastic effort on the part of the urban community because young people from all walks of life were able to connect.
Mario Miller is observed during an urban exploration activity. Over the 8 week photography program, SCPA students were also able to observe the Elementz artists’ in the community of over-the-rhine and write about it.
“The stiff outer core runs deep and soothes the entering pain. The millisecond of raw feeling that lets in the emotion of the world only for enough time to taste feelings but not leave a scar. [Nyjul] is a strong person that shows more in his eyes than any other feature. He seems to have a hard outer shell, but you can break through that shell by observing him through his movement (dance) and pictures.”
- SCPA student Emma Gilkey in reference to Elementz artist, Nyjul Byrd
“I’ve grown up in a very judgmental environment. I’ve worked hard to mold myself not to be that way. Working here with these artists has really helped me with that. You must remember everyone has a story, and they’ve been through something in their lives just like everyone else. I feel like my pictures tell that story.”
- SCPA student Emily Wuerdeman
Elementz visual artist is photographed drawing sketches before class. This is often the first step in designing graffiti-style art work.
After the program ended on May 8, 2012, David Rosenthal organized an art exhibit featuring images and writing by students from the SCPA and Elementz who participated in the program. The exhibit titled “New Voices” is on display at the Cincinnati Art Museum through the month of September.to top ↑