Walking through the door of Fab-5’s Fabitat on Martin Luther King Way, one can expect to be greeted with smiles and the buzz of youthful voices, laughter, and music. Fab-5’s L.I.F.E. (Living in Free Expression) program is in full swing. This nine-week intensive, now going on its seventh anniversary, is a series of free workshops designed to encourage youth to develop and explore their identities through music, movement, visual arts, and written/spoken word. The end of the summer program culminates in a student coordinated Final Jam, featuring live mural paintings, student/instructor movement exhibitions and student music showcases. From June 30th to the end of August, students meet every Saturday from 11am to 3pm. During the week the space hosts open studio hours Tuesday thru Friday from 4pm to 10pm.
To the immediate left of the entranceway to Fab-5’s Fabitat is an excellent example of this organization’s creativity: an elaborate graffiti mural, in splashes of vibrant greens, blues, and yellows, spans the wall of the reception area. The space houses three separate rooms in which youth can engage and explore their creativity, whether it’s learning how to spin records and mix tracks, perform a baby windmill, or design their own graffiti murals. At Fab-5’s L.I.F.E. program everyone has the opportunity to share his or her own unique individuality and perfect his or her artistic skills. It is a space for expression, creative risk-taking, self-exploration, acceptance, and above all mutual support and respect.
On a recent visit to the L.I.F.E. program, it became clear that Fab-5 doesn’t just teach underserved youth to appreciate and embrace urban arts as an outlet, but also core values such as the importance of dedication, the necessity of challenging oneself, the freedom found in self-expression, and the joy of sharing ideas with others. Each of these tenets is essential to building strong communities. And for Fab-5, building a strong community means supporting its youth.
In speaking with Chris Jordan (pictured above, right) and Kenji Stoll (not pictured), both Fab-5 Art Instructors, one can see that the staff is dedicated to Fab-5’s mission, their passion evident in the way they teach their workshops and welcome newcomers. They encourage their students to mix it up and challenge themselves through cross-discipline; break dancers try their hand at drawing, visual artists experiment with mixing music, and aspiring djs practice break dance moves, making for well-rounded artists.
It is said that a picture speaks a thousand words, but if you take the time to visit Fab-5’s L.I.F.E. program on a Saturday afternoon you won’t need a picture to appreciate this talented group of youngsters. Instead, the powerful sense of community and fellowship found through the doors of Fab-5’s Fabitat says it all.
If you are a like-minded individual who would like to contribute to this fantastic program and support Tacoma youth through volunteering or the donation of time, money, or even other resources such as equipment, furniture, or art supplies every contribution big or small would be greatly appreciated. With no full time staff members, all donations go directly toward programming, so support at every level is welcomed, encouraged and greatly appreciated! To find out more about how to volunteer or to register for the 2012 L.I.F.E program, please visit http://www.fab-5.org.