Nano-Interview with Kahmal London of the Clubhouse Network

Kahmal LondonName: Kahmal London
Organization: The Clubhouse Network
Title: Coordinator/ Program Manager
Artistic Genre: Fantasy Art
Years in the Field: 3 Months

What do you do at the Clubhouse Network?
At the Flagship Clubhouse, I work as a Coordinator who manages the Clubhouse space and all the materials present. Most of my time is spent encouraging the youth to be inspired and take ownership and responsibility for their work and desires. I work to help the youth take pride in the amazing work they create, and am passionate about helping them achieve their goals. I work with and discover new, innovative ways to be creative with the tools we have available, and share them with Clubhouse members and Mentors. I also perform outreach to various organizations within our community to attract more members to our space and increase productivity.

Why do you do what you do?
I was a member of the Clubhouse as a youth in high school and learned many different techniques on how to apply myself artistically. I was offered techniques and tools that I would not have had the chance to experiment with outside of the Clubhouse, such as Adobe Creative Suite. I work as a Coordinator to ensure that youth are offered the same experiences I had that they may not have at home. I aim to encourage and inspire youth to use their imaginations to be as creative as possible and apply that to their careers and educational goals.

What comes easiest to you in this work?
I’m a highly optimistic person who sees the potential in everyone I meet. I feel one of my greatest strengths is discovering creativity and helping it flourish in the best way possible. I love meeting new members, discovering what they like, and inspiring them to continue to build upon their work to take it levels above what they originally imagined.

What challenges you in this work?
Two challenges I’ve discovered so far are planning and community building. I have long term plans of how I imagine the Clubhouse to be, but could do better at creating short term steps on how to achieve these goals. As I am a relatively new Coordinator, there are many long-term members that have their own visions on how they see our space. With more time, I would like to know each and every member and formulate a way to respect everyone’s wishes and desires of how they operate in our creative space.

What does it mean to your community that you do this work?
The Clubhouse serves as a creative space for underserved youth who may not have the equipment needed to expand their imaginations. In my youth, I was one of those individuals who did not have the creative equipment available, but had a wild imagination. The Clubhouse inspired me to use my artistic talents to attend a four year college. It is very personal and important to me that we provide a space for youth to be creative for those who have never had the opportunity to do so. There are some very creative youth in my home neighborhood that could benefit from being a Clubhouse member and exploring their creativity. I am very passionate about my community acknowledging that we care about our youth’s dreams and aim to provide many opportunities for them to grow and know they are amazing!

How do you blow off steam?
Drinking water really helps to calm me down. I am patient person and rarely get angry, but if I do, I drink water. I also laugh a lot.

What do you create in your free time?
I illustrate many different concepts in my free time. I’m an animal lover so I practice drawing different animals often. I also grew up reading comic books and playing a lot of video games so many of my drawings may revolve around those. When I have time, I also animate my illustrations, sculpt with clay, and paint.

Whose work in the Creative Youth Development field do you admire and why?
I attended Artists For Humanity when I was younger and was mentored under Robb Gibbs. He is a big influence on my creative style and how to manage myself artistically. His work is inspiring not only for me, but many others I grew up with and has done a lot for our community. I aim to inspire others the way he inspired me to never give up on my passions.

Seen any good movies lately?
Avengers: Infinity War was a big deal to me and was everything I wanted out of it. I love Marvel comics so I watched it expecting a lot to be influenced off the comic series and was so excited to learn it was completely different. Very creative and well done.

The unauthorized biography of your life is titled:
Small Canvas – Big Imagination

What’s next?
Continuing to be creative and inspiring!

 

See Kahmal’s work:
http://www.wisemidasworld.tumblr.com/
https://www.instagram.com/violx

Podcast: Rooted in Arts, Activism, and Social Justice

Vanessa Calderon-RosadoOn the Mass Cultural Council’s podcast, Creative Minds Out Loud, we spoke with Vanessa Calderón-Rosado of IBA-Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción.

Vanessa Calderón-Rosado, Ph.D., is the CEO of IBA, a community development corporation dedicated to empowering individuals through education, workforce development, and arts programs. She shares IBA’s holistic approach to youth development and how the arts unleash the collective power and voice of the young people they serve.

Listen to the episode.

Read the transcript.

Check out other episodes featuring Creative Youth Development leaders.

Artistic Noise’s Ubuntu

Each year, Artistic Noise creates group projects using the theme “Ubuntu”. A term from Southern Africa referring to humanity, Ubuntu means “I am because you are.” In other words, ‘my humanity is inextricably bound to yours.’ It is the belief in a universal bond that connects all humanity.

This year, two projects were created using this theme, “Our Common Thread” and “The Cards You’re Dealt.”

Our Common Thread

A wall hanging of a multi-colored, crocheted hexagon
Teaching Artists: Vanessa Ruiz, Minotte Romulus, Erin Porter

Youth Artists: Aaliyah, Angelina, Dani, Genea, Genezza, Kyla, Karmen, Jada, Jeante, Jenna, Shana, Taylah, Takari, Thiarra, Trinidy, Quasaia, Xianixia, Zainab, Zyikeya.

“[Ubuntu] is about how one person cannot live independently of their community. Ubuntu has us think about the impact we have on our communities and how they also influence who we are. We realized that there is a common thread weaving us all together so we made this piece by crocheting yarn. The interlocking loops of yarn represent all of us and our connections to one another.

 The center piece is a rainbow that represents the idea of Ubuntu. All its colors represent all the people and their differences and how beautiful diversity is. The triangles that surround the Ubuntu rainbow symbolize the words that represent what we want for ourselves and our neighbors. We chose the colors that we felt best matched those words and crochet the triangles. The colors of the triangles are part of the rainbow the way we feel that these words represent elements that are very important to Ubuntu”

Ubuntu: represented by the rainbow center

Believe: the blue triangle; Change: the multicolored blue and purple triangle; Peace: the purple triangle; Resilience: the multicolored red triangle; Growth: the green triangle; Community: the multicolored blue and green triangle

The Cards You’re Dealt

Four panels hanging on a gallery wall.
Teaching Artists: Vanessa Ruiz and Minotte Romulus

Interns: Sam Zicolella, Clara Clough

Art Therapist: Hannah Fulkerson

Youth Artists: Dani, David, Khaliel, Shana, Takari, Travin, Quasaia, Zyikeya

“The Cards You’re Dealt” is an eight by five foot painting, separated across four panels. The quadtych represents the uncontrollable aspects of our human existence and how we choose to live given those circumstances. The first three panels portray how we do not have the choice to pick our race or ethnic background, the socioeconomic status we are born into and how that affects our climb to the top, or many of the fortunate and unfortunate events that happen to us throughout our life. The last panel asks us to consider how we grow and develop as people in response to our circumstances and to also consider the circumstances of others.

The last panel is for reflection. You will find a rap composed by Takari (Artistic Noise youth artist) which speaks to some of the harshness in the world and encourages us to appreciate what we have and keep pushing til the end.

This is an interactive art piece that requests everyone’s participation. The artists encouraged you to take a gamble at each panel, think about the cards you’ve been dealt, and then share your thoughts with us on the last reflection panel by writing your response directly below Takari’s lyrics:

Gotta play the cards you’re dealt
Ain’t no choice in the pull
Young kid ain’t have no money he was chasing them bulls
Another kid up in the burbs he was swimming in pools
Kid back up in the city he was following fools
He was ducking from the people and rejecting them schools
Rich boy was talking back and he was thinking he’s cool
Met each other on the train and they was chattin’ it up
Tommy claiming that he bad but he ain’t backing it up
Davi, see the kid got future but he cracking it up
He’ll give anything and everything to turn back in time
Every time he leave without it put his life on the line
Tommy said you made ya choice now just let me make mine
Now the life that he was living wasn’t choice but by ways
He was tryna find the light in this world full of pain
Money can’t feed your emotion that’s the way he was feeling
Money buying fame that’s the reason he win
Don’t nobody really judge him in this world full of sin

This piece represents the understanding of Ubuntu as we should show love, care and understanding for one another because we do not get to choose the life we have, but are still responsible for the person we become.”

Youth artists standing in front of their installation, their faces obscured with yellow masks.

Putting the CYD National Action Blueprint to Work

June 19,  2018 12 – 1pm ET

Free and open to public; pre-registration required
REGISTER

Learn how you can use the recently released Creative Youth Development (CYD) National Action Blueprint as a resource in your work to advance the role of creativity in youth development. Led by the CYD National Partnership and a cross-sector coalition, this one-hour, interactive forum is designed for CYD practitioners and alumni, funders, researchers, and allied youth sector leaders.

During the forum, we will discuss:

  1. The CYD National Movement and Blueprint goals
  2. How CYD aligns with the priorities of allied youth sectors, including education, juvenile justice, and afterschool
  3. Recommendations for advancing CYD in three strategic priority areas
    VISIBILITY & IMPACT: Documenting and Communicating Outcomes and Impact
    FUNDING: Expanding Pathways to Funding
    FIELD BUILDING: Professional Development, Networking, and Technical Assistance
  4. Opportunities to get involved

Read the Creative Youth Development National Action Blueprint and subscribe to the CYD Partnership email list to receive regular updates on creative youth development (CYD) news, opportunities, and resources.

We Are a Part of OrigiNation

Last month, for the first time in over a decade, pop legend Janet Jackson launched an open call for dancers to audition for upcoming projects. Using various social media platforms (including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Musical.ly), dancers were encouraged to upload a 30-second video either performing famed Jackson choreography or freestyling to favorite songs by Jackson using hashtag #DanceWithJanet.

One of these submissions will include Boston’s very own OrigiNation. Here they are freestyling to Janet’s “Rhythm Nation”.

Origination, an Afrocentric performing arts organization, produces innovative and dynamic programs which motivate, challenge, and inspire youth of all levels of training to be the best they can be. Offering quality dance, theater arts, public speaking, and African history education programming, special emphasis is placed on teaching young people ages 2 to 18 the importance of self-respect, health, nutrition, civic engagement, education, self-esteem, as well as the extent of African influences on various contemporary art forms.

See more OrigiNation videos.

Amplify Grantees Honored at State House

Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez speaking at Amplify reception in the State HouseOn May 3, Mass Cultural Council partnered with 15 organizations across the state to bring youth voice to the Massachusetts State House, and celebrate the young leaders who are recipients of this year’s Amplify grants.

Framed by Andrine Pierre-Saint’s thrilling spoken word piece and introspective chamber music performance by Neighborhood Strings, the day brought Representatives Christine Barber, Paul Donato, and Jeffrey Sánchez to celebrate culture’s capacity to empower, elevate, and connect, magnified tenfold by the young performers, activists,  and leaders present.

Amongst congratulations and applause, Rep. Sánchez said, ”To see you here and to see the power of what Mass Cultural Council is doing with state resources is dramatic to me… I see what it’s doing, it’s giving all of you a voice.”

Información del evento de ‘Amplify’ en Español.

Podcast: Youth Community Built on Firsts

Julie LichtenbergOn the Mass Cultural Council’s podcast, Creative Minds Out Loud, we spoke with Julie Lichtenberg, Director of The Performance Project, and Artistic Director of First Generation Ensemble.

The Performance Project’s First Generation brings together young adults ages 14-23 for intensive artistic training, leadership development, and inter-generational mentoring. Forming an artistic ensemble, the First Generation youth create original multi-lingual physical theater performances based on their discoveries.

Listen to the episode.

Read the transcript.

Check out other episodes featuring Creative Youth Development leaders.

Creative Youth Development

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