Drawing Lines, a highly anticipated public art project focusing on Austin’s citizen-driven transition to a new political system of geographic representation, will be unveiling all ten artists’ projects in the coming months. All of the Drawing Lines events are free and open to the public, with the Youth Voices of the 4 Public Reading at the Gus Garcia Recreation Center in District 4 from 4-6pm on Saturday, October 24th with Zell Miller, III.
Growing up in the district as a young boy himself, the relationship between the children and the community surrounding them became the focal point early on in the project for Zell Miller, III. An award-winning leader of poetry, theater, and hip hop, he will present a public reading of poetry written by the youth in the district, one of the most diverse areas of the city with the highest densities of children.
“I’m someone who grew up in District Four. This rec center that I’m working with is right across from Dobie Middle School, where I used to go. I’ve seen that whole area go from where I could walk to school to now, where it’s gang ridden. The houses are dilapidated, and so for me I’m very invested in this project, in this pride. I used to walk from my home to school. Kids today can’t really do that anymore, so for me I’m very invested especially in the youth and what’s going on in their heads, and how they feel about it. I want to know what is safe to them, and ask them how do you feel? Do you feel like you are being taken care of? Are you getting what you need from the city? How big of a voice can we be for you?”
As the writing process itself serves as safe space for the children to reflect on their thoughts, Zell will work with the recreation centers in the district to host writing workshops as an outlet for the youth to share their thoughts.
“If you can write, you can write a poem because everybody has a story. I always tell them that when you stand up writing or reading what you wrote, looking like you look, sounding how you sound, dressed how you’re dressed, that’s how the magic happens, because no one expected this to come out of you.”
In a final showcase at the Gus Garcia Recreation Center, the young writers will share what they have written alongside important community figures who will read the children’s poems.
District 4: Youth Voices of the Four
ARTIST: Zell Miller III
Public Reading October 24 from 4-6p
Gus Garcia Recreation Center
1201 E Rundberg Ln.