Art Saves People

Sunset Community Festival Sept. 28, 2013

At the Sunset Community Festival today, I was reminded again of how art can transform lives. The Festival was founded 19 years ago by Dawn Stueckle, her husband Reverend Ron Stueckle, and their friend Reverend Delvin Mack, all co-founders of Sunset Youth Services, an amazing community center which provides case management, artistic programming, and a whole lotta love to in-risk youth around the city. Some kids bus over an hour to spend time there, and if you met anyone on staff, entered that space, or saw today’s performance, you would know why.

Food and vendors provided standard fare, but the biggest draw was celebrating what makes Sunset so vibrant. First, there were my peeps, reminding me of my own days in a classical Chinese dance troupe:

Photo: Nicholas Green
Photo: Nicholas Green

Then the kids at Upstar Records, a completely youth-run record label out of Sunset Youth Services. And let me tell you, these kids impressed the hell out of me. They could rap (well):

Photo: Nicholas Green
Photo: Nicholas Green

and dance (though maybe not quite as well ;-P):

Photo: Nicholas Green
Photo: Nicholas Green

But everything I love about young people was embodied in that performance. They even treated us to a (clean) rap battle. Who even knew there was such a thing?! They were a truly talented, fearless bunch, and I can’t wait to spend more time with them.

Check out their sound on YouTube and get their latest album. You’d be supporting young people as they change their lives. This is how it happens.

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