Program Description

By , May 16, 2009 6:03 am

Program Topic

Street Styles, the workshop, brings the styles, methods, and spirit of street art into the classroom as a vehicle for teaching Indianapolis youth the principles of creating and thinking about art. Many of these youth already have been engaging with street art in a number of ways. At one end of the spectrum are the students who have seen street art’s influence in the media and pop culture: on CD artwork, t-shirts and hats, corporate logos, and in advertisements and TV shows. Others live in neighborhoods where street art, graffiti, and gang graffiti are an intrinsic part of the landscape. And at the far end of the spectrum are those youth who have already engaged in street art activities that are illegal, risky, and sometimes destructive.


Street Styles aims to channel the interest these students already have in street art into positive, legal, and personally and socially enriching activities.
Street Styles students are taught three overarching lessons throughout the course: respect, creative self-expression, and developing the “thinking eye.”


Respect is the one rule in Street Styles that trumps all other rules. Respect is a word and concept the students understand. They want to be respected because respect is so closely linked with empowerment, recognition, and identity—at a time in their lives when they often feel disempowered, controlled, disengaged, and invisible. They understand that to earn respect they must be prepared to give respect in return.

These are the Street Styles rules of respect:

  • Respect yourself and your personal integrity
  • Respect your teachers
  • Respect your fellow artists and colleagues
  • Respect your workspace, materials, and your artwork
  • Respect your school, neighborhood, community, and city

The rule and lesson of Respect is clearly laid out on the first day of class and consistently enforced throughout the course.

Creative Self Expression

This component of Street Styles addresses the creation of artwork. Emphasis is placed on the process of creating, including understanding how art is made, the importance of work and developing creative problem-solving skills. Throughout the program students will have multiple opportunities to create, practice, experiment and build on prior knowledge and skills.

The Thinking Eye

Students will learn how to really ‘see’ what they look at. We will look at pictures of street art from around the world to discuss and analyze what we are seeing. We will examine styles, context and history. As we look at imagery, the students will be asked, how did the artist use line? Color? Composition? What do you think the artist’s intention was? What were their influences? What’s your reaction to the piece?
Classroom discussions will focus on questions pertaining to a particular theme or piece. These discussions will help students articulate their feelings and thoughts about what they see. This knowledge will allow the students to expand their ability to observe, comprehend and respond to visual art as well as to street-art influenced media such as TV and print advertising, video games, and movies.

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