Thursday, November 27, 2014

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Organization Encourages Young Graffiti Offenders to ‘Paint Straight’

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An organization in the city is giving kids who've gotten in trouble for graffiti a chance to put their art skills to good use.

The non-profit group Xmental University partnered with the Department of Probation for a showcase of paintings by young artists on probation for graffiti offenses.

The showcase was the finale of Xmental's eight-week art curriculum called "Paint Straight," which teaches kids painting along with graffiti history and the effects it has on society.

"The program is not about making them into artists or better graffiti. We use that as a catalyst into making them better people," said Xmental founder Rafael Perez.

"I believe that this program actually kept me off the streets. This program kept me out of problems, it kept me off the streets, it showed me a lot of discipline," said one attendee. "Now I don't graffiti on buildings, I just do it on canvas."

"It gives me a feeling like I can sell my artwork and express my feelings, because in my artwork I express how I feel," said another.

After the showcase, the art was sold in silent auctions.

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