Let It Shine
by Joshua Jean-Marie
In 2019, Zimmer-Design’s creative team began to discuss what it would look like to launch a creativity-focused mentorship program for underserved youth in Louisville. While a full-fledged plan is still underway, Zimmer-Design recently had the opportunity to partner alongside local creative leaders to host Paint the Town, a step forward in what Zimmer-Design sees as a sustainable, long-term mentorship program. Led by the River City Drum Corp, Paint the Town took place on Sunday, August 23rd, and was created to provide a safe space for local Black youth to hear from influential leaders while also expressing themselves through a signwriting activism workshop.
Paint the Town was created to provide a safe space for local Black youth to hear from influential leaders while also expressing themselves through a signwriting activism workshop.
Paint The Town’s vision came to life after a meeting with teacher, artist, and executive director of the River City Drum Corp, Albert Shumake (known to many as DJ Love Always). With Albert’s access to a handful of local youth and Zimmer-Design’s desire to launch a creativity-focused mentorship program, the two came together to brainstorm. Upon arriving at Zimmer-Design’s office for the initial meeting, Albert took notice of hand-lettered BLM signage posted in the office windows and suggested an event focused on amplifying Black youth’s voices through protest posters. Thus, Paint The Town was born.
“Art and expressing your imagination is a very simple way to feel better about yourself and appreciate what you do have. One day the things you imagine can become a reality.” —Dre
In hopes of encouraging and inspiring the youth in attendance before engaging in the signwriting workshop, Frank X Walker: author, educator, and Affrilachian poet, Hannah Drake: author, poet, and activist, 10thstreetdre: musician, creative, and activist were invited to open up the event by sharing how they use art in their personal lives for both self-expression and activism. Afterwards, students were encouraged to express themselves by coming up with language for their own individual posters and using hand-lettering techniques to translate their words onto paper.
Paint the Town would not have been possible without the River City Drum Corp Cultural Arts Institute, Bullhorn Creative, and Athens Paper’s support. All photographs below were captured by Joshua Jean-Marie.
River City Drum Corp was recently featured in the documentary River City Drumbeat, “a powerful story of music, love, and legacies set in the American South.” To learn more about Albert and the work this program is doing for the Louisville community, click here to watch.
Image credits: Joshua Jean-Marie