Organization Street-Level Youth Media
Executive Director: Manwah Lee
SAAP Teaching Artists: Diana Nucera, Co-teacher Cindy Kudelka
Still We Stand For, a group gallery exhibition of contemporary art, consists of ten multimedia installations, each interrogating an aspect of the First Amendment from an urban youth perspective. This visually exciting, digitally innovative and thought-provoking collection of youth media, premiered at Chicago's Acme Art Works and drew exceptionally large and diverse crowds of viewers during its month-long run from October -November, 2006. Among the several hundred viewers of the show, the work sparked new levels of awareness about how youth interpret and experience freedom in contemporary America. The art quality, political acuity and curatorial cohesiveness of the overall exhibit radically challenged assumptions and expectations among gallery visitors. Equally impressive is the program's enduring impact on the youth artists. The majority of young participants is now pursuing college or careers in media arts and engaging in on-going projects of entrepreneurship and community service.
Street-Level Youth Media began in Chicago in the summer of 1993. Their first project involved community artists and educators collaborating with teens from a local West Town high school to make forty videos about everything from gangs, to their families, and to the gradual gentrification of their neighborhood. read more
Individualized Learning Through the Art Process
The Summer Arts Apprenticeship Program, that produced the exhibit, Still We Stand For, is built largely around a unique educational framework that Street-Level describes as "individualized learning through the art process."
This teaching methodology builds upon the belief that a rigorous art process results in powerful, enduring and individualized learning and personal development for urban youth. Under this model, participants are afforded the time, supports and resources necessary to conduct research on issues, explore new styles and artists, and develop their craft — elements essential for creating a major art installation piece for public display in a gallery. read more
Thematic Based Inquiry
When seen together, the ten multimedia intallations that comprise Still We Stand For form an aesthetically and thematically cohesive exhibit. They also operate as a kind of group dialectic, investigating various nuances, interpretations and diverse dimensions of the First Amendment. The works are personalized in style and yet, represent a decidedly unified voice, one that questions how young urban youth are positioned in the struggle between rights, community safeguards and personal responsibilities. In fact, the overwhelming majority of audience members surveyed agreed that the artwork in Still We Stand For made an indelible impression on them. read more
Change and Impact
Dramatically affected and changed significant numbers of audience members' attitudes about youth perspectives on important contemporary social issues. Over 95% of attendees strongly or somewhat agreed that after seeing the exhibit, Still We Stand For:
Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection, Thames and Hudson, London.
Teaching Youth Media: A Critical Guide to Literacy, Video Production, and Social Change. Steven Goodman.