Cultural Connections Program Works To End Cycle Of Family Incarceration By Connecting Youth With Opportunities | Local education


Szwako is a Madison-based street artist / muralist born in Mexico City.

“I just want the kids to experience something different,” Szwako said.

He also said he hoped the art form would attract them as something they might want to pursue as a career.

Szwako also said he was careful with the way the children worked on the mural out of respect for the original artist and to pay homage to what existed before.

Dillon found Szwako through the book Let’s Talk About It, which is a compilation of murals painted along State Street during and after the Black Lives Matter protests in the summer of 2020.

Earlier this summer, other kids at the Goodman Community Center worked with screen-printing artist Terrence Adayanju, who Dillon also found through the book. Another artist who created Downtown art during the protests, Anwar Floyd-Pruitt, worked with the students last spring.

Miranda Starr, program director at Cultural Connections and director of childcare programs at Goodman, said much of Cultural Connections brings in artists of color because educational settings still generally lack that representation.

“Being able to see yourself in another person has an incredible influence on children,” said Starr, a person of color. “It brings a different energy to our program and it creates a link with art. Our children (in families of color) do not have access to the arts outside of school.

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