Apr 9

Change Your Shirt, Change the World

by: Laura Kochman

Last fall, students in our Artrepreneurs initiative learned how to screen print with Philadelphia Printworks, a socially conscious t-shirt company based out of South Philly. This spring, students created and printed their own designs, basing them on complex conversations around social issues that affect teens, like racism and mass incarceration.

The shirts and other student-created apparel will be on display and up for sale at the annual Student Art Show Opening on April 25 (all proceeds go directly to the students). Read on to hear their reflections.

Brianna, on what she learned: 

The word “disarm.” I realized that “disarm” means stop the violence, and stop from being on these streets, because they’re not safe for us anymore. People out here, now, these days dying, and we wanted to make our whole community better…This is hurtful, painful, because you don’t want to see nobody that’s close to you die in front of you.

What I learned in [Artrepreneurs] was you got friends that care, and you got friends that will love you and be there for you. This is what I like about this program, because it taught me to open up. I love art, and I want to do a lot better, too…Having a community makes me feel like I’m safe around everybody. It makes me feel like I can trust people, because I know who my friends are. When I first came here, I really was nervous, nervous. But then I felt like I could come here and be who I am.

One of the Artrepreneurs t-shirt designs from a collaboration with Philadelphia Printworks. Photo by Michael Reali.

Blaze, on why he keeps coming back: 

I didn’t really have to do the program again, but I really wanted to come back. It was really just fun. The people I met, all the things that we did, and just hanging out with them—It’s a pretty fun place and more people should join.

Tasheema, on creating the winning design: 

I didn’t think I was gonna win. I thought everybody else was gonna win…when they said that I won, I was hyped. I was excited…I don’t know how to explain it. Happy that other people are gonna wear it. Maybe I want to make clothes on my own in the future.

Artrepreneurs students learn how to screen print from Maryam, Pugh owner of Philadelphia Printworks. Photo by Michael Reali..

Tianna, on what’s next: 

I’m looking forward to learning new things, basically. I hope we have another pop-up shop…another message that can get out to the world. You know, we might talk about bullies, LGBTQ, suicide prevention, and more like that. So we’re just bringing new ideas…some people might not be part of it; but they’re still working with it. Some of my friends, they’re LGBTQ, so we want to just get word out there—you don’t have to be [LGBTQ] to support them…You’re worth it even if you’re not told you are, you really are. You’re worth being around. You are.

Last updated: Apr 10, 2019

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