Manual Young Earth Activists hosts “In Our Hands” art gallery

Isabella Bonilla

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Over 30 people attended the Manual Young Earth Activist (YEA) club’s third annual art and activism gallery, “In Our Hands.” The student-organized gallery displayed 14 different student artworks and four live performances. 

The gallery took place from 6-8 p.m. on Nov. 8, in the Louisville Grow’s Healthy House, which is a local non-profit located at 1641 Portland Avenue, with free admission.  

“In Our Hands,” was an art exhibit dedicated to environmental activism and youth empowerment. Some of the art was for sale, however none of the money went to the club. The artist received 85% of the profit, and the nonprofit organization, Louisville Grows, the rest. 

“We did a little bit of brainstorming at our club meetings, so the club really came up with it [the theme]. We voted on which one we wanted to do to find one that really mattered to the club,” Sadie Lawrence (12, MST), an officer of YEA, said.

“Watercolor #9” by Emily Godfrey. Photo taken by Isabella Bonilla

“My piece is inspired by ‘The Creation Of Adam’ by Michelangelo, as his hands are a great inspiration to me and my art,” Emily Godfrey (10, HSU), stated. “My surrealist piece depicts how important it is that we take control of our own future.” 

Attendees were encouraged to explore the artwork and the light refreshments provided until the student performers began at 6:45 p.m. Sitting or standing, the audience watched as the artists performed.

The show consisted of four original pieces, including a spoken word, rap duo and flute composition. Originally, a local rock band who support the climate scene was a potential guest, however, they didn’t make the cut in final preparations. 

The Mighty Shades of Ebony rap their original song “Anthropogenic.” Video taken by Isabella Bonilla.

Jasper Cayes performs his original flute composition “Age of Anxiety.” Video taken by Isabella Bonilla.

After the student performances, attendees were free to resume talking among one another, engage in the artwork or relax in the kitchen area. 

“This is a different way people can plug in and and talk about issues that matter to them and express their talents, get their art out to the greater community. A lot of good energy for sure.” Lawrence said.  

The Young Earth Activists have worked with Louisville Grows in the past, and as a club, they collectively recognize how open the organization is to working with student artists and youth organizers. According to the Louisville Grows website, they are an, “environmental nonprofit serving neighborhoods through urban forestry, urban agriculture, and Healthy House programs… Our mission is to Grow Greener, Healthier Neighborhoods.

The Healthy House is an office and community space, providing holistic cooking classes, tree programs, hands-on educational lessons, arts programming and more. 

The Healthy House kitchen sits tucked around back, just around the corner from displayed artwork. Photo taken by Isabella Bonilla

The art and activism began to wind down for the night around 7:30 p.m., with club officers thanking the people who came to support as well as the artists for their work and dedication. No matter how long an attendee had stayed, or even if they left early on in the program, club officers, Sadie Lawrence (12, MST), Oli Tierney (12, VA) and Emma Stuber (12,VA) gave warm thank yous. 

“Especially nowadays, it’s incredibly important that youth voices are being empowered and lifted up, that people are hearing what young people have to say, and that’s something that’s so cool about art activism galleries too,” Lawrence said. “It’s not what people conventionally think of as activism. People think of activists as rallies and and yelling and loud.” 

The Young Earth Activists focus on environmental activism, particularly in the political aspect. Their 2018 project was working with the food desert crisis in Fairdale. YEA also put on a free nutrition camp for young students, teaching them about healthy eating and food sustainability. The camp ended with a trip to the local farmer’s market. 

They’ve partnered with groups such as The Sunrise Movement in the past, who provided them with a free trip to Washington D.C in 2018. Here YEA participated in a climate protest in favor of New York House Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s Green New Deal. 

They meet in Room 110 every Wednesday after school, from 2:30-3:30.