Tag! They’re It!

A youth art competition encourages alternatives to tagging.

There’s a surprise waiting at the sixth annual Latino Rhythms concert at Lincoln Park today. To catch a glimpse, stroll over to the La Alma Recreation Center at 11th Avenue and Mariposa Street for OFF the WALL -- Urban Art Festival, a youth art competition designed to encourage kids to find better outlets for their creativity than tagging the umpteenth wall with the same graffiti design.

“Tagging is rampant this time of year,” says Stella Yu, director of Arts Street, the organization that created and planned the event. “The city has been addressing this issue for quite a while; a lot of resources have been allocated to keeping it clean and guiding young people by punishing them. And we really need to have options. So this is a competition to say, ‘You are part of the community; you can contribute, you can be who you are. You can be artists and you can show off.’

“I also think that as a society, we tend to think of young people as at an age to tolerate,” Yu adds. “We have to work with them as a contributing force rather than a group to be tolerated.”

Twenty teams of kids will conceptualize and execute their murals on boards starting at 10 a.m.; they’ll receive cash prizes for participating, and a panel of judges will rate their work. Stop by to watch the teams in action -- and maybe even take home a piece of future art history; some boards will be put up for sale after the competition. For more information, call 303-328-1868 or visit www.arts-street.org.
Sat., July 18, 12-4 p.m., 2009

 
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