Latino LA, Apr 2012

¡LATINO LA! Inner Circle Youth Community Art Show: From Here to There
[Curated by Willie Middlebrook, 1957- 2012 R.I.P.]

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Inner Circle Youth Programs in Watts is grooming a new generation of young artists. Established artists such as Peque Brown, Carlos Spivey, Amanda Ferrell-Hale, Ethel Powers, Laura Aguliar, Lili Bernard, Cola Smith, 3rd, Zeal Harris, and Jose Lozano, will display their artworks next to art created by the young people from the Inner Circle Youth Program (ICY) in Watts.

The evening will consist of an opening reception, and will be hosted by the ICY participants. The young artists will have the opportunity to meet established artists and experience a showing of their artwork in an actual Gallery. Their will be music, food, and live airbrush demonstrations; items will be airbrushed and sold to support ICY programs.

ICY Director Sheila Lewis has worked diligently to make sure the young people in her program are encouraged to see past their circumstances and envision a life with no limits. The program provides instruction in fields such as visual art, culinary presentation and preparation, media communications, and glass blowing.

Lewis states, “The students enrolled in our after school programs are amongst some of the most innovative spirits that are humbled and innocent. They are full of energy, vigor and creativity. In our program the students have been challenged to step out on faith within themselves to uncover their latent talents while embracing the beauty that this community of Watts beholds regardless of the challenges the inner city represents.”

Community artist Willie Middlebrook played a key role in bringing in established artists to participate in the community event. “I am very excited that ICY asked me to assist in organizing this unique and thought-provoking exhibition,” said Middlebrook. The event is the first in a movement by ICY to impart culture, healthy living, and social empowerment to the youth participating in their programs in the Watts community.

About ICY
The Inner Circle Youth Program (ICY) aims to help youth attending Green Dot Schools in Watts and surrounding areas break the cycle of poverty and become self-determining, self-sustaining leaders in their community by turning youth into business owners. ICY encourages entrepreneurial exploration and development not only through traditional vocational training but also encourages talent development and the pursuit of dreams in the arts and media, including ceramics, glassblowing, silk-screening, embroidery, woodworking, jewelry making, web and graphic design, culinary arts and photography.

Sponsored by: California Department of Education, Watts Labor Community Action Committee, Green Dot Charter Public Schools and United Way Los Angeles

Scroll down to view article as it appears online or click here to read the article in the ¡Latino LA! website.

Lili Bernard in Latino LA