Artz N The Hood

Emanuel Padilla | 08.01.2018

Young Culture-Makers make their own World

It’s nearly 1 a.m. when it’s decided. Eight high school students from East Denver convince their bible study leader to help them start an art camp. Nearly 20 years later, the week-long camp has an avg. of 350-400 campers and provides classes on everything from hip-hop dance to videography. For the original eight, camp was resistance. Camp was protest. Camp was proof their world was theirs to own. When Artz N the Hood was founded, it was a response to budget cuts in the Denver public-school system. The arts were among the cuts, leaving students with limited and costly access to creative outlets. So, on that night, eight students decided to run an art camp right from their church parking lot.

Artz N the Hood is an inspiring story of young culture-makers. The city they envision includes access to art education and a significant role for young people to contribute in real ways to making their city. Their story is a reminder that culture is always what we make. Culture is always communal. Q Nellum, the Bible study leader enabling these young culture-makers, shares our conviction that the city we make is fashioned from a diverse community of makers, including black and brown high school students. In our interview with Q and Sandra Jennings Curry, we hear the story of these culture-makers and what they produced: an intentionally wild environment of creativity and fun, where high school students lead and the whole community is involved. Artz N the Hood is a work of place-making best practices. Students learn about cooperation, leadership, social justice, and inclusion. They work together to make their city and reflect God’s Kingdom. Listen to this World Outspoken Feature to learn more about enabling young culture-makers making their city together.


  1. Cover photo by Dayne Topkin on Unsplash

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