POP Art Academy painting a broad stroke of hope for Philly youth

The Power of Paint Art Academy is doing their part to Save Our Streets.

On a Sunday, several kids, who have never met, came together over paint brushes and good vibes in West Philadelphia.

For three years, Vanessa Young and her business partner have been giving children from rough areas a place to come and create.

"Teisha and I both use our skill sets," Young said. "Her with therapy and wellness and me with my talent with art and just connecting with kids to show them different career paths. If a lot of kids know they can be artists, one of these young Black boys might be the next Virgil Abloh and become a billionaire just from their art skills."

12-year-old Nykira Murray said she feels like a free spirit when she’s got a brush in her hand. She’s focused in on her masterpieces and it helps quiet the violence of the world outside.

"I just lost one of my cousins to gun violence," Murray explained. "It helps me a lot making sure everything’s okay. It teaches me that even if you live near the streets you don’t always have to grow up in the streets or take the lifestyle of it."

Young helped one student go even further than just canvas. 10-year-old Aaron Burke started his own clothing brand called Aaron Athletic Apparel.

"It’s really for my love of sports and I want people to have a healthy life style," Burke remarked. "Really just buy hoodies that don’t cost $60-$100."

Aiden Darcisse is a 14-year-old counselor who says it’s important to have spaces like this in red zones around the city.

"I try to tell parents that their kids can come here and feel safe," Darcisse said.  "They can have friends and build positive energy around them."

The picture perfect moment for Vanessa is seeing the kids faces shift into a smile and their confidence transition into power.

"They are taught coping skills, conflict resolutions skills, alternative means to making money so they don’t have to go towards a certain life of crime or violence," she added.

Showing that these kids are born with love in their heart that can turn into something beautiful with the right palette of care.

"Be powerful, be strong, and keep your head up," said Murray. "You’re the most powerful person in the world."

The POP Art Acadamy painting a broad stroke… to Save Our Streets.

They’ve got an art show on Saturday December 4th at 49th and Pentridge. It’s their annual fundraiser with artwork from the kids.



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