The University of Wisconsin Milwaukee’s Institute of Visual Arts recently hosted an exhibit featuring the works of 18 Milwaukee and New York City youths. The project, “See Me Because: The Art Start Portrait Project,” is in partnership with Milwaukee Public Schools’ Department of Black and Latino Male Achievement and Turnaround Arts.
Art Start is a nationally recognized program that has earned numerous awards for its work creating a platform for at-risk youth to channel their creativity through visual art. The “See Me Because” project offer youths from underrepresented groups the opportunity to portray the complex narratives about their identities, asking the world to see them for how they choose to be seen.
“We have to stop telling them what they can’t do,” said LaNelle Ramey, director of the Department of Black and Latino Male Achievement at Milwaukee Public Schools. “We have to encourage them and their dreams. We cannot be dream killers.”