Rhyme, Rhythm & Reason-Rouser ... !

Street Sm(Art) in Harlem

Or, “Education and Art in the Open”.*

Takin’ It to the Streets

Standing on the shoulders of Harlem Renaissance giants, like poet, novelist, playwright, and social activist Langston Hughes; writer, sociologist, and civil rights activist W. E. B. Du Bois; or signature visual artist of the movement Aaron Douglas, is a new wave of  ‘Artivists’, reaching ever new heights, in Harlem.

Standing on shoulders, they can reach the walls; walls that become the canvases that will resonate their global call for education equality. Thanks to the #Not A Crime initiative by Maziar Bahari, an Iranian-Canadian journalist and activist, murals by artists from around the world, curated by Street Art Anarchy, are bringing education and art, hidden for some, out into the open.

Literacy in the Limelight

Education and work are the levers to uplift a people.

– W. E. B. Du Bois

Artists like South African Ricky Lee Gordon, Chilean muralist El Cekis, Brazilian Alexandre Keto, Brooklynite Elle, and Harlem’s own Franco the Great are using their brushes and spray cans, like levers, to bring literacy into the limelight.


Harlem, Where the ‘Writing is on the Wall.’  At work, Artist Elle. Photo: ©#NotACrime


“Knowledge is Power” by Franco “the Great” Gaskin. Photo:  Shawn Batey / Changing Face of Harlem


Beyond the Book: Poetry by imprisoned Iranian Educator Mahvash Sabet / Mural by Cekis.  Photo: Lois Stavsky


The Baobob, Tree of Knowledge. Tree of Life. Art: Alexandre Keto. Photo: ©#Not A Crime


This can’t help but to be one of my personal favorites, after living so long in West Africa, where this iconic tree, with all its symbolic power, graces the landscape.

Harlem’s Baobob, The Making of:


Why Harlem?




* The Global #NotACrime Campaign. Follow their ongoing project in Harlem, and in cities world-wide.

+ More on Literacy Artivism, when street artists, literally, have “something to spray” [Continue]


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