Pictures & Videos

We Still Live: Culture, Identity and Art

This Summer 2017, Arts Street embarked on an amazing adventure into culture,identity and self-reflection: We Still Live (WSL). This community-based art project, in collaboration with 46 Arts Street@YEA youth, artist Thomas Evans and Denver gang prevention programs, worked with youth to combat gang recruitment by exploring self-identity and cultural heritage through art. Participants spent 6 weeks exploring their identity and how to build community wealth through visual and spoken word art and youth-led community initiatives.

This collaborative project was inspired by a survey given to youth where they revealed gang violence was the primary issue in their communities. According to the Department of Justice, young people get involved in gangs due to a “need for family” and “generational involvement.” It became clear that to strategically respond to this issue, youth need pro-social activities that address elements of gang participation and provide youth the opportunity to explore cultures and collective creativity.

Inspiration also came from Thomas Evan’s artistic work, They Still Live (TSL). We felt an extension of this project would be a perfect model for exploring gang issues. Evans developed TSL as a journey into self-discovery. He worked with local African-Americans to portray their culture and identity. The exhibition combined photographic portraits, African artifacts, and the models’ DNA results to link each to their heritage. Their DNA was revealed at a gallery opening next to their portraits. The project gained national recognition and participants were greatly impacted.

After their 6 month intensive, students came away with a better knowledge of how to be a part of their community and what cultures exist in Denver. In the fall, these same youth will receive the results of their own DNA test and begin to use different art techniques to determine how they relate to their heritage.

We were so impressed by these young peoples’ hard work this summer and look forward to seeing its completion in the fall.

Stay tuned for final exhibition details and WSL updates. 

La Alma Connection Master Art Plan, Art Celebration Block Party and Parade

In 2016, Arts Street worked with over 100 Denver area, underserved, high school to college-age youth, facilitating sustainable urban design and creative placemaking classes and workshops to problem solve traffic congestion and neighborhood issues in the La Alma Lincoln Park neighborhood. The five-block walk on 10th Ave from the Osage St. light rail stop to Santa Fe Drive has little appeal for pedestrian use so students created a Master Art Plan to create suggestions for possible improvements in the area. By integrating functional art and community activities into the streetscape, the La Alma Connection project hopes activate and encourage alternative transportation.

During 2016, students not only interviewed local community members to find out what they would like to see, but they also compiled their suggestions, created proposals and did three public art installations along the route. After highlighting the area during the La Alma Connection Art Celebration and Block Party, Arts Street published the La Alma Connection Master Art Plan.

The final hope for this project is that other artists will take this research into consideration and create a more inviting space along W. 10th Ave.

For the full Master Art Plan click here 

A picture is worth a thousand words: we’d love for you to enjoy browsing our class photo albums and the videos made by Arts Street students for events, and for paying clients.

In 2012 when Arts Street received a permanent home from Denver Housing Authority, students came together to create this amazing hummingbird mosaic that has become the iconic Arts Street entrance.