Young Minds

Search this site:

The Commonspace

Aug 2001 / young minds :: email this story to a friend

Artwork = Art + Work
By Wendy Surinsky

Every summer more than 100 area youth get to do something many creative people only dream of: the opportunity to make art and be paid for it.

Modeled after Chicago's Gallery 37, St. Louis ArtWorks employs young people, 14 - 21 years old, for six weeks during the summer as Apprentice Artists, allowing them to develop their skills as working artists under the supervision of two professional artists. The apprentices report for the program every day as for a job, with uniforms and an assigned work place inside one of the ubiquitous white tents on downtown's Gateway Mall. This summer, apprentices are working in photography and creative writing, printmaking, metal sculpture, recycled furniture, tile mosaics, theatrical improvisation, and the People Project.

The tents are sponsored by the Forum for Contemporary Art, Craft Alliance, the People Project, Portfolio Gallery, and the St. Louis Improvisation Project. Visitors are encouraged to come by and observe the artists and apprentices at work.

Apprentices' artwork is sold during three sales throughout the program. The final sale will be held Friday, August 3rd from 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. at the mall at 10th and Market. Among the items available are whimsical handpainted furniture pieces, calendars of apprentice-made photos and functional craft items.

The following poems and photographs were produced by Kirby Drury, Arthel Washington, Erica Johnson, Tameka Greene, Ebony Mottley, and Zachary Barber — apprentices in the photography and creative writing tent — under the supervision of Nannette Vinson and Wendy Surinsky.

      — By Kirby Drury (click to enlarge)

The best ear to receive
my writing is the ear that
can't hear. I could be talking
about anything and it wouldn't
know. I could be telling
the ear that I will rip it off
of whatever it's connected
to — it wouldn't know.
I could be telling the ear
I killed somebody —
it wouldn't know.
I could be telling the ear
I flunked 9th grade —
it wouldn't know.
I could be
telling the ear
I stole a car —
it wouldn't know
or I burned down a building
or shot at a police
or play football —
it wouldn't know.
I think you know
what I'm trying to say.

      — By Arthel Washington

I found out
that I passed
my geometry
class, I was
so excited
and filled with
joy. When I
found out that
I passed I
felt food all
through my soul.
It seemed like I
just looked up in
the sky and saw
the blue and
for the first
time I
appreciated the

      — By Erica Johnson

over my head
this big, black thing
overlooking it.
it exudes power
but its grace is underestimated
because of its stature.
it stands in the lane,
never to be moved.
its counterparts are minuscule
compared to it.
it screams
no competition whatsoever,
chiseled muscular elaborate
flashy, but overlooked
very quiet, but outspoken

      — By Tameka Greene

Civil Courts Building

a building of
laws that proves
if innocent and decides
when guilty. a
building that provides
justice and
the ability to
be free no matter
color or

      — By Ebony Mottley

Like Indiana in an action scene
I have strawberries with whipped cream.
They are too good and I am too young
But I have to taste the redness from a Black man's tongue.
They are standing alone and oh so very meek,
A young tastefulness across my adult teeth.

      — By Zachary Barber

With Nannette Vinson, Wendy Surinsky is a teaching artist in the photography and creative writing tent at ArtWorks. She is a poet and teaches writing at St. Louis Community College. Amazingly, she doesn't have an email address.

Church and State | Games | Expatriates | Communities | From the Source
It's All Happening | Young Minds | The Ordinary Eye | Elsewhere
Sights and Sounds | Media Shoegaze | A Day's Work | From the Editor

© 2001 The Commonspace