Check out this building…
Doesn’t look like much… yet.
But in just a couple weeks, we’ll witness the grand opening of the new Oakland Green Youth Arts & Media Center, an outgrowth of the hugely successful Turf Unity Music project operating out of this same space, previously a youth homeless center (Covenant House California).
Turf Unity is a joint project of Cov Records, Art in Action, and Silence the Violence (one of the Ella Baker Center’s campaigns), and initially, the Ella Baker Center offices were transformed into a music studio one weekend each year to house the project. (See my previous post on the Ella Baker Center.) Now Turf Unity has its own year-round location, as do a number of other programs.
The Chronicle featured a short story about the new center earlier this week, titled “Oakland studio tries to put youth on right track“. It includes a story of one young man, his life affected by gang violence and later transformed through his involvement with Silence the Violence… he’s now the music production manager at the center, “his first real job.” That’s the kind of positive change I’ve been talkin’ about.
The Center has a number of funders, the most prominent being the superstar hip-hop group Black Eyed Peas, through their non-profit initiative the Peapod Foundation. Offering entrepreneurial, vocational, and green job readiness training for youth from historically disadvantaged communities, activities will include leadership development, new media, arts training, music production, community organizing skills, and green job education to Oakland youth between the ages of 18 to 25.
Five organizations will run out of the new Center:
- Grind for the Green – committed to moving youth of color from the margins to the epicenter of the environmental movement.
- Turf Unity Music Project – brings together turf rappers from neighborhoods throughout the Bay Area to promote unity through music, business partnerships, and community action.
- Colored Ink – a Bay Area Based Hip-Hop Theater Group that uses the Urban Arts to inspire urban communites for social change.
- Art in Action – committed to building youth leadership for social justice.
- Community Rejuvenation Project – transforms blighted areas of the community through murals, community clean-up, landscaping & gardening, and community celebrations.
If that last one rings a bell, it’s because I’ve already featured a number of their murals on this site:
They’re producing their next mural project on the exterior of the new center, planning to finish for the grand opening party on January 14th. My plan is to cover this process and highlight a bit more info about CRP, so stay tuned for future posts…