It’s an idea so simple as to be brilliant: Marshal five already-effective community-based arts organizations under one banner with a commitment to help underserved youth access experience and education in the visual, literary and performing arts, including one-on-one tutoring and mentoring. The result: Campus MLK. Their online presence says it all: “Block by block, building connections for Hilltop youth to access the best in local culture.”
We’re excited to see what this powerful collective will produce as it develops in the coming months. The five grassroots organizations that form the “faculty” of Campus MLK have the bases covered for starting a rich conversation in the community:
• The award-winning nonprofit, Fab-5, is a proven magnet for creatively inclined youth, cultivating community through urban arts education. The FABITAT Expressive Art Center on MLK Way provides a place where youth from diverse backgrounds can gather, collaborate, learn and share ideas.
• Write@253 is a writing and mentoring center with a mission to inspire the latent writer in everyone, and celebrate the tremendous talents of our community. Inspired by Dave Eggers’ successful San Francisco writing lab, 826 Valencia, Write@253 works within the Tacoma Public Schools and runs a center on Martin Luther King Jr. Way.
• Post Defiance is an online magazine, the latest comer to stir the pot of independent journalism in Tacoma.
• The DASH Center provides quality performing arts instruction, education and mentoring to lower-income families in Tacoma-Pierce County, offering programs to directly counteract gang and drug influences and empower inner city youth.
• The Warehouse is a Tacoma-based production company committed to bringing high-quality music experiences to various locations around the city. The Warehouse showcases both new and established talent, local and otherwise, creating DIY pop-up events in unlikely venues and underused spaces.
Fab-5 is an alumni of Spaceworks Tacoma’s creative residency program; Write@253 are current artists-in-residence; and the Warehouse has hosted a pop-up event in a Spaceworks space.
The Campus MLK website states its mission as such: “Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood is home to dozens of community organizations, agencies, and businesses who offer creative opportunities to our young neighbors: Campus MLK will reach out and share these opportunities in a comprehensive and captivating way, allowing youth to pick and choose, using their neighborhood as a student would a campus.” The Hilltop is a vibrant, dynamic, multifaceted community and this sounds like a potent concoction for creative learning – stay tuned.