Where street art meets street smart, Elementz is an urban oasis of hope and a catalyst of change for Cincinnati’s inner-city youth. What began as a way to get kids off the streets in 2001 has transformed into a thriving Urban Arts Center that fosters talent, ignites potential and inspires possibilities. Elementz helps build dreams, and brighter futures.
Our Vision for Cincinnati’s inner-city youth is “to be a catalyst of transformation for children in the urban core, enabling them to find their artistic voice, engage in community, learn to give back, and carve a path for a successful future”.
Elementz was founded and is supported by community stakeholders – from various ethnicities, backgrounds and careers – who believe in Cincinnati’s youth, and the power of music, poetry and art to positively impact our youth. Included are artists, teachers and mentors who encourage self-discovery, creative expression and individual passion. Because of wide community support, we give kids the respect and support they need to believe in themselves and in their community.
- We treat all people with respect
- We believe in the creative and leadership potential of youth
- We encourage innovation to create programs of relevance to young people
- We strive to create a culturally relevant environment that encourages a sense of family and personal validation
- We value the use positive urban art forms to encourage self expression, personal growth and improve student achievement.
- We develop connections for our youth with credible, supportive adults who identify with the culture of our youth.
- We believe in bringing young urban artists into the mainstream of arts and culture in Cincinnati
OUR BRAND OF URBAN ARTS
Elementz teaches and encourages art that comes out of urban life and experience. There is a unique and contemporary sound to art that reflects the hard realities of inner-city life, but also a pulsing vibrancy that is reflective of the pulse of the city.
Here in Cincinnati we have a long tradition of artists who reflect and represent urban stories through music and dance, including the artists that came out of King Records in the 1940-60 time period. At Elementz we embrace art that speaks to urban youth, and encourage original youth to learn and produce original works in those art forms.
We made our reputation on conscious Hip Hop, a very popular art form that originated in hip hop culture in New York, which later spread to other cities. Extremely popular with youth of all races, hip hop has matured into a mainstream art form that has been adopted even by corporate marketing firms as they target advertising to the newest generation of consumers. Hip Hop dance has also mainstreamed and is regularly seen on entertainment shows on almost all popular networks.
Although some hip hop music has a reputation for graphic depictions of ghetto and street life, and sub-genre’s such as “gansta rap” present negative images that have lately overshadowed the more positive hip hop music that exists, Elementz only teaches and permits original music that is respectful and appropriate for all ages, while trying to still represent legitimate stories of street life, hope, and achieving success in difficult circumstances.
Corresponding hip hop dance elements have developed from the Latino influence of Puerto Ricans in the Bronx. During the early 1970s break dancing arose during block parties, as b-boys and b-girls got in front of the audience to dance in a distinctive and frenetic style. Today Hip Hop dance is an evolving style that is at the height of its popularity. Elementz sponsors several hop hop dance teams for children, teens and young adults.
Hip Hop culture embraces music and dance, but also DJ’ing, urban fashion, and visual art such as “graffiti-style” art. While we and our members do not participate in defacing of building with graffiti, we do celebrate the maturing of the art form by creating works on canvass in the graffiti style.
Other urban art forms taught at Elementz include Spoken Word (Poetry), Stepping, Urban Photography, Music Production and Video Production. In all of these formats, youth are encouraged to express themselves and communicate to an audience through word, music, movement and visual representation.