Youth are on a quest to reclaim a Safe Milwaukee

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“A community is only as good as its people,” is the message a group of teenagers want to convey in a painting they recently completed called Rise Above That Life.

The painting will be displayed in the exhibit Stand-Up, Speak Out and Make Some Noise:  Reclaiming a Safer Milwaukee.  For the exhibit, youth are exploring violence, anti-violence and substance abuse themes and issues that concern them.  Art from the exhibit will be on display for 10 days from Oct. 28 – Nov. 8 during business hours in the lobby of the Zeidler Municipal Building, 841 N. Broadway St.

Coming together to mark this year’s Crime, Bully and Substance Abuse Prevention Month, October, the young people are raising their voices against violence and substance abuse using art as a means of self-expression.  They represent several of the Safe & Sound Safe Places afterschool programs, including Agape Community Center, B&G Fitzsimonds, B&G Mary Ryan and Urban Underground.  Also displaying art created by youth at their Safe Place sites will be ArtWorks for Milwaukee and Hmong American Friendship Association.

Joining the arts against violence workshop to assist the young people with their projects have been college students from the Marquette University Volunteer Corps.  The group of seven students, mainly freshmen and sophomores, is taking part in this newly formed service program for the opportunity to give back, build personal relationships and engage with the teens.

Youth were asked to create works of art focusing on the prevention of bullying, violence, gang activity or substance abuse, or to share their vision of a safer, healthier community.   Through the workshop, youth have been able to visually promote a culture of nonviolence, while inspiring open dialogue among themselves and the Marquette students.  They hope to spark a broader community conversation as well.

The youth will be joined by parents and Safe Place staff to view the exhibit when it opens from 5:30 – 6:30 pm on Monday, Oct. 28.  The arts against violence workshop and exhibit is a joint initiative of Safe & Sound, Inc., the Violence Prevention Initiative of the Medical College of Wisconsin and the Marquette University Volunteer Corps in conjunction with the aforementioned community partner organizations.

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