If you haven’t heard yet…

The news about the tropical storm that mysteriously swept through the Gowanus section of Brooklyn in early June, is a story worth telling again and again! It’s all about generosity, cooperation, and incredibly good energy. It’s about a common vision of social justice, youth development, and public art.

Of course, its about kids. Lot’s of them!

Tropical Storm: Gowanus photo by Vince Maximum

Recruited from Brooklyn’s Public High Schools for the Art School Without Walls, Vol. 1

Twenty + art students were recruited from Brooklyn’s high schools to participate in Ray Smith Studio Presents! The Art School Without Walls, Vol.1

When Seven Become One
Los Galeristas with Sofia Maldonado and Tom Otterness
Crystal Gonzalez – Project Outreach Coordinator

Brewing for some time …

Although brewing for some time in the fervid mind of Mista Oh!, tropical storm clouds began to gather in earnest in early April, when the painter Ray Smith, offered up office space at the Ray Smith Studio in the Gowanus Canal section of Brooklyn, as Cre8tive YouTH*ink’s temporary headquarters.

Los Galeristas w/Sofia Maldonado and Ray Smith

The Art School Without Walls

It wasn’t long before Ray and Mista Oh conceived of the Art School Without Walls, a venture designed to side-step traditional arts education by reviving the spirit of apprenticeship — directly engaging inner city kids in the creation of public and other significant works of art.

Acclaimed super-muralist Sofia Maldonado, and super-good friend of Los Galeristas, just returning from several public projects, immediately signed on to lead a mural workshop for Vol. 1 of the Art School without Walls.

The Art School without Walls, Vol. 1.

We secured an 80-foot private wall (avoiding permits & red tape) on 4th Street between Hoyt and Bond streets on a lot being developed by architect Peter Moore and whom Ray Smith had enlisted to the cause.

Top l to r: edwina p, lalita s, jesus s, johnny walker

Things really started to pick up though, when ARTnews Executive Editor, Robin Cembalest got involved, spearheading a kickstarter fundraiser, and ultimately raising $3,000 to finance the project.

The Art School w/out Walls, Vol. 1 – Tropical Storm: Gowanus
The Art School w/out Walls, Vol. 1 – Tropical Storm: Gowanus

Over the course of the three days, and completely on schedule, 20+ young artists assembled at the site working under Sofia’s good-natured direction — delivering such a luscious downpour of tropical color that the sculptor Tom Otterness came out of his own studio (across the street), commissioning the crew to extract an element of the completed mural and have it float over the fence to drop onto his own studio’s front wall.

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