Its long past time to give credit to young black and brown artists says Amanda King, whose art collective Shooting Without Bullets is breaking down barriers
A black-and-white photograph shows two young men in the door frame of an abandoned storefront. PRIVATE CLUB is written on the boarded-up door. NO Weapons, Drugs, Purses it says.
The photograph, taken by Lai Lai Bonner, 19, spread quickly. It was featured in the local paper, The Plain Dealer, sold at a gallery in the Cleveland Print Room, a local art studio, and currently sits in an exhibition at the Grasselli Library at John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio.
The exhibit is close to East Cleveland where the photo was taken, but it is a world apart. The university sits on the edge of wealthy neighborhoods such as Shaker Heights, which are teeming with mansions.
Meanwhile, East Cleveland has abandoned houses, empty lots, potholes and higher crime rates. The life expectancy is as much as 10 years lower compared with the life expectancy of their wealthier neighbors.
The photographs in the exhibition, like Bonners, provide a contrast to the world right outside the librarys walls. The pictures were all taken by members of Shooting Without Bullets, a not-for-profit organization that coordinated the exhibit and that gives young black and brown teens the artistic tools they need to express themselves.
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