Young Nation promotes holistic development of youth through mentoring, community education, and passion-driven projects.
Held as weekly arts education workshops and attended most often by younger residents, Open Studios are a vehicle for multi-generational mentoring through the artistic and cultural expressions. Open Studio welcomes guest artists throughout the year. Mary Luevanos, an artist and activist who has lived in Southwest Detroit for decades, has been our artist-in-residence for open studios since their inception. Her storytelling and facilitation of creative processes are valued by families, youth and peers. We are privileged to have access and be inspired by her talents and advocacy work.
In 1998 Victor Villalobos created the Blessing of The Lowriders as an intersection of culture, faith, and community—and a celebration of youth and their creativity. After a several-year hiatus Young Nation approached Victor, offering support and organization in reinstating the event. The Blessing has since become an official program of Inside Southwest Detroit, framing and supporting Victor’s and Young Nation's annual collaboration.
Each year Young Nation, Uso and GoodTimes Car Clubs, Motor City Street Dance Academy, and Grace In Action come together to bless the cars, the culture, and a community of lowriders.
The Blessing celebrates all dimensions of our neighborhood culture found in the cars, music, dance, food and the visual arts with vendors, artists and performers from the neighborhood. The Blessing brings together residents past and present where they re-connect with each, the neighborhood, the cars and culture they love.
Blackbook sessions happen weekly led by a guest artist or as a collaborative artistic conversation between participants. The sessions are a time to come together with fellow artists to support each other by sharing skills, utensils, and tips. It is also an opportunity to create and display artwork in a peer-reviewed setting. A blackbook is a sketchbook and journal of concept that becomes a dynamic collection of relationships and artists that the owner has come in contact with or been influenced by. Blackbook sessions celebrate the sharing and mentoring aspects of the culture and advance artistic practice.
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In 2002, Expressions was formed through the awareness of the potential of youth to pursue their passions in one of two directions: exploitation and abuse of themselves and others or the positive development of themselves and their community. For this reason Expressions began as an unfunded youth program dedicated to positive, personal development through creative outlets. Using the resources they possessed as young citizens and professionals, mentors' focused their energy on teaching the youth in southwest Detroit how to shape their own paths. Expressions began to show youth how to use the things they are passionate about—specifically low riding, aerosol art, and media—as a means toward positive development..
"Children need to see people of their culture working with them, talking, listening, interacting. I was one of those kids that did not experience people who looked like me doing things in my neighborhood. TAP provides a space for this."
-Mary Luevanos, Community Activist and Artist