Radiant City Arts, comprised of artists and educators Yusuf Lateef, Ben Cohen and Akili Jackson, strives to inspire area youth through collaborative visual art projects, poetry workshops and interactive music recordings. Past projects include This is Not a Performance, a multi-faceted presentation in conjunction with Toledo School for the Arts students, Radiant Sole, in collaboration with Toledo Public Schools students and the Toledo Museum of Art. Group members have also been musical ambassadors to the Democratic Republic of Congo and have led multiple Young Artists at Work activities at the Arts Commission.
Hear. I am
Most recently, Lateef and Cohen worked with students at Salem Lutheran Church over a 12-week session with hands-on instruction in multimedia artwork including screen printing, painting, sculpture, book binding, song writing, beat making and recording studio technology. Lateef explained, “With each learned skill, students are exposed to a different creative path and potential career direction.”
Showcasing the students’ work, a gallery exhibition titled Hear. I am: A Life in Process, highlights video samples, audio clips, screen-printed clothing and other pieces of original artwork, available for purchase. “They want to be seen and heard in the way that advocates and illustrates their true nature,” Lateef said, adding “‘Hear’ communicates ‘listen to me’. The students are constant advertising targets. Our mission is to give them the tools to communicate their realities.”
Cohen sees the program as centered around “highlighting creative pathways in artistic entrepreneurship to help inspire youth via greater access to technology, training and resources. Funds raised will go to both the responsible artist and an ongoing entrepreneurial fund to purchase supplies. Radiant City’s mission is to leave something that continues after our project is finished. The fund is a way to support continued research and product making for the participating youth.” Cohen explained.
Throughout a 12-week program at Salem Lutheran Church, the Radiant City team involved parents and community with the school. Lateef explained, “Radiant City’s work is geared towards listening and valuing others within the creative process. We provide outlets for creative writing, visual arts, and music for youth. We follow our process, creating pathways to create safe spaces for the arts experience to happen.” Hear. I am: A Life in Process allows the students to put on a gallery show, placing their message into the eyes and ears of their community.
“The presentation was well received,” Lateef said, adding, “We appreciate the support that the parents and community have shown for the well-being and belief in the potential within the Vistula youth. ”
Black Matter: A Living Experience
The exhibition features the visual artwork of Radiant City’s Yusuf Dubois Adbul-Lateef in collaboration with Easel People Clothing Co. Gallery walls are adorned with large scale murals. The artist describes the exhibition as “abstract visual echoes from the margins of which we experience, and move through consistently. What we wear, say, and do, seeps into the collective consciousness and is reflected back through frames of other cultural networks.” The result is a collection of paintings, sketches, and other artwork and contemporary clothing designed by Chris and Elliott Rogers of Easel People.
Black Matter and Hear. I Am are currently on view at
the Paula Brown Shop Galleries.
Closing reception is slated for 5:30-8:30pm, Friday July 12.