The public at large, when they hear the term Urban Art or graffiti, think of vandalism and the desecration of what would otherwise be considered a beautiful city, but the fact is much different. A new youth program out of Milwaukee offers teens a chance to contribute in a very prevalent culture such as the hip hop scene in a constructive, beautiful, and positive way.
Offering classes in DJ music mixing and graffiti style art, TRUE Skool takes a keen interest that many kids in cities already enjoy and admire, and teaches them to make masterpieces with little more than a couple of spray cans of paint or a DJ’s mix table.
The story of Sarah Patterson, the school’s director, is a hopeful tale about a teen who had a child entirely too young, and who was in danger of wrecking her life with bad choices, but instead drew on the inspiration of the hip hop community around her. Strong role models like then rapper Queen Latifah served to inspire Patterson and her friends, and drove them to community service and urban beautification and renewal.
Patterson now works to give that same inspiration to at risk teens in urban cultures, giving them a positive artistic outlet for their creativity, instead of getting in trouble on the streets of a dangerous city, setting an even more dangerous precedent for the rest of their lives. Interviewed recently by Mad Kids radio, Patterson explained not just how TRUE Skool teaches urban art skills to students, but also how those skills are applied to the community, and other positive activities.