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KUUMBA: Creativity

Artist True endeavors to make Bed-Stuy a beautiful community for all to embrace

Southern California native TRUE is a graphic designer, illustrator and animator who has committed himself to making Bed-Stuy a beautiful place for all to embrace.

TRUE has partnered with the Museum of Contemporary African Disaporan Arts (MOCADA) to spearhead many arts and cultural programs, including the popular kid flix film fest of Bed-Stuy.  In 1994, TRUE created the Nia Youth Collective, a Saturday program in Fort Greene where students painted a mural across Fort Greene Park.

TRUE says he has several ideas and concepts that are in the process of development. One of those ideas include the Bed-Stuy's Mural Art Resource Team (B*Smart), an art contest through the local schools based on the idea of community improvement.

"I wanted to re-beautify the community and help build self-esteem through creative expression ," said True. " The idea with this program was to help eliminate grafitti by painting murals over them ."

After moving from to Bed-Stuy in 1999, TRUE noticed there was a lack of free community events where residents can gather and socialize. 

"New York City is rich in free public cultural events and programming, and when I came to Bed-Stuy I noticed that there was none," he said."I had the idea that we wanted to bring families together and experience things through film, specifically issues related to the African Diaspora." 

In 2000, TRUE co-founded the Kidflix Film Festival, which is now in its 10th season.  The film festival shows free family-oriented films every Friday night in August in Fulton Park.

Before the film festival was given the greenlight from the parks department and other entities, TRUE was met with several hurdles. He had to convince the community board and block associations that this is what the neighborhood needed. In the end, he received unanimously positive feedback.

Some feature showings are enhanced with live performances tied to the movie's theme. TRUE's idea of audience participation is what makes the screenings more interactive, and why he hopes to run the festival every week in August for years to come.

In addition to designing all the promotional materials for the film festival, TRUE also designed many of the banners along Fulton Street and Lewis Avenue.  In 2004, 2006 and 2008, he was awarded public art commissions by Bed-Stuy's Restoration Corporation to do a series of portraits of local legends. The Public Design Commission of New York recognizes outstanding public projects with its Annual Awards for excellence in design.  Some of the banners that grace Fulton Street include Shirley Chisholm, Chris Rock and Jackie Robinson. 

Muhammad Raqib December 31, 2010 at 11:54 AM
Great article, this is what the Spirit of Kwanzaa should like in progress and action. I applaud this brother for his commitment to our community and upliftment of our youth through arts, positive creativity, innovation, and expression. Keep up the good work brother True. Patch keep sharing your stories. K. Zawadi keep writing good articles like this one and I will keep reading.
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Melissa Danielle November 29, 2011 at 02:50 PM
I was one of the students in Nia Youth Collective!

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