Express Yourself Milwaukee
Express Yourself Milwaukee celebrates the creative arts in order to transform the lives of urban youth in the Milwaukee community. Express Yourself Milwaukee became incorporated in March, 2003 and has grown over the years to serve eight partner organizations, agencies, and schools annually, reaching over 800 youth ages 7-21 in the Milwaukee urban area.
Based on information gathered in previous years, the demographics of Express Yourself Milwaukee participants are as follows: 55% male, 45% female; 85% African-American, 15% Latino/Asian/Native American, 0% Caucasian; 95% from low income families; 75% of the youth served are involved in special education programming; 80% are or have been involved in delinquency and court services.
Express Yourself Milwaukee immerses young people in the creative world of music, dance, and visual arts and empowers them with life changing results while celebrating diversity and collaboration. The organization provides multi-disciplinary arts programming to over 800 at-risk youth annually through weekly group sessions.
Express Yourself Milwaukee celebrated its third year in the studio space at 3331 W. Lisbon Avenue, a location specifically chosen for the surrounding area's high population of at-risk youth, in 2014. Subscribing to a multi-arts philosophy, Express Yourself Milwaukee works with ten partner organizations to offer programming in music, dance, and visual arts. Each school year it employs interns and local artists, chooses a theme, and engages participating youth in discussion, planning, and creation of performance and display pieces. The program is centered around weekly group sessions taught by community artists and art therapists. Students get the opportunity to express themselves and create art focused around a specific theme. The theme is reinforced through art-making, group discussion, and sharing. Express Yourself Milwaukee, at its W. Lisbon Avenue location, works hand-in-hand with Westside Academy II to publish the artwork of the students and encourage pursuits in the arts and music. They help to empower students in their area through art and expression, urging them to take pride in their neighborhood through beautification and staged art pieces.