Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Below is a email I got a few days ago about how art can change live and inspire as well as giving one a voice.

I thought I should update you on my students art projects. I had you make a Don't hate appreciate piece for me to use with my middle school art group. I wanted them to see art that was simple uncomplicated or refined. It worked! the kids were unintimidated by your style and so were open to the idea of communicating through art.

they started making positive word art. They began painting positive words on found surfaces. then they put them in classrooms etc. They love the word change.I have it written in Arabic, spanish, English and a few others. Many of my kids are minority males and Obama's election really did open their eyes to their possibilities.

They adopted don't hate appreciate as the art group motto.they said they liked that i took them seriously. (no brainer for me)

In jan a 15 yr old classmate died suddendly. The kids worked through much of their grief through this art style. Some young graffiti artists actually did a dedication piece on a train car.( I had to work on administration not to file charges.) The grieving family was given pieces of art memoralizing their son.. The kids asked the entire school to embrace their motto in honor of the deceased student who they said "lived it".

A few weeks later I started having kids approach me about making changes in their lives.

One student approached me and said I've been thinking about the stuff you've been talking about and our art. I think I made a mistake getting involved in a gang. can you help me figure out how to stop. I did and he did.

Another serious graffiti artist who had trouble in school and lots of suspensions, some for grafitti told me he wanted to do more positive things with his life. The boy who died was a good friend of his. We talked and made a plan. Long story short he is mentoring younger students, has commissions for 3 signs and asked me to create an art show for the community. He wanted a way to show grafitti style art in a positive way. He felt most people just think it is gang tags.

So we have a show scheduled in May. The theme is Teens for Change- Positive word art.
All art will be painted on recycled stuff that Habitat for Humanity can't use for home building projects. Kids have to work in teams of 3 or 4 to make an art piece. Working together was part of their idea. They will sell or auction off the pieces. The money will support art programs for teens in the area. I have at least 20 kids participating.

Three of the kids are going to make sign/word art to sell at the local farmers market this spring. MI economy sucks right now so I was impressed that they thought of alternative ways to earn money other than sell illegal goods or other options.

So many thanks to you for your inspiration through art. I love that I know what makes kids tick and can find artists who speak the same language.

I have not shown the students your site because I don't need education folks or parents in an uproar over inappropiate art. If you can think of a way for me to showcase a censored group of your photo's let me know. I'm not so tech savvy,but I have plenty of help. PLeASE know that I find all your stuff incredible. I work with kids that many people do not want to work with so I have to be careful not to give anyone anything to complain about. These kids are 11-16 yrs. I personally LOVE the doll art!

Regardless Etsy has been a great way for me to prove to kids that people really can do art and they do. That it isn't only for the famous etc.

Thanks again for impacting my streets from your streets. or my corner of the world from your corner of the world.

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