From DIY to
Do It Together
For some, Punk's defiant visual culture, extreme performance style and fiercely independent approach signals a rejection of collective, community-centered action. But DIY has never meant "alone" - and has always relied on a creative community that values individualism while nurturing friendships, knowledge-sharing, resilience and freedom of expression. This is how creative subcultures thrive - when people see themselves as belonging to a larger, interdependent ecosystem with shared vision and values.
We carry this ethos into our work, and design for social impact on a personal, community and cultural level. In addition to fostering intergenerational learning and understanding of America's creative subcultures, we develop national and hyperlocal programs that seamlessly engage young people in creative self-expression and culture-building. Whether through music, art, photography, design - or skateboarding, space-making and service - we encourage and create space for young people to come together, do the work and make change - in themselves and their world.
Transforming Culture and Communities
Finding a Line is a community-sourced public art project which takes the improvisational act at the core of skateboarding - finding a line through physical space - and applies it to finding connections between individuals and the process of transforming a community space. Through a series of unique performance events, the project celebrates the creativity of the entire skateboarding community, including musicians, photographers, filmmakers, painters, graphic and fashion designers, as well as the skateboarders themselves.
Born through a wide-ranging collaboration between skater and public art creator Ben Ashworth and the Kennedy Center in 2015, and leveraging Artistic Director for Jazz Jason Moran’s love of both skating and improvisational and experimental performance, the original 10 day festival, which included exhibitions, films, workshops and discussions, centered on a bowl-meets-stage installed in the Center's plaza. Designed to be dismantled, donated and rebuilt as a community-based skate space after the close of the sessions, the bowl now lives near Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. A second Finding a Line event in 2017 anchored the celebrations of John F. Kennedy's 100th birthday, this time integrating vertical dance performances by dance company Bandaloop, performing above the ramps filled with skaters and musicians.
Using this model of high-octane public performances and skate sessions; collective art, media and community-making; and the leave-behind of a new, arts-infused shared skate space, Finding a Line is expanding its programming nationally. To help, a portion of the proceeds from exhibition sales - along with active advocacy for sponsorhip - will to help bring FAL to under-resourced communities in the Western states.
For more about Finding A Line, visit Ben Ashworth's site.
“Music is the healing force of the universe.”
- Albert Ayler
As long-standing members of DIY scenes around the country - and as family members, artistic partners and friends - we know first-hand the challenges that living with a dual-diagnosis of addiction and mental illness can cause.
That's why the budgets for all our producing projects require a first-in-line payout (which means, before the producers and investors get their cut of any profits) to local groups addressing the intertwined, intergenerational impacts of trauma, addiction, codependency and mental health in creative communities.
We specifically look for programs that understand the complex, often-circular effects on partners and children when a loved one is battling addiction, and who prioritize providing balanced, trauma-informed services for all members of a family; we are always happy for recommendations from our community.