Initiated in the months before the police shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott in 2016, the program works to improve community relations by giving police officers and teenagers alike a place to come together, connect and give voice to their feelings. Created for a select class of students at a time and attended by members of law enforcement over twelve class sessions, each workshop focuses on creating open dialogue and addres
sing social justice issues through collaborative art. Our community partners include officers of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, Transforming Youth Movement, Inc., Community School of the Arts, visiting professional artists, speakers and facilitators across a variety of disciplines.
During the first session in July 2016, students and officers were asked to draw one another’s profiles. This powerful exercise encouraged participants to see one another not as teenage troublemakers or men in blue uniforms, but as fellow human beings with real emotions and good intentions. After the Scott protests, the workshops, which were held from September 2016 to April 2017, took on added significance, helping both groups express their pain, hurt and loss through additional art projects. For four weeks in September 2017, the mural, which incorporated the art created through Promoting Peace was on display on ten news racks in Uptown Charlotte.
The Arts Empowerment Project’s collaborative Promoting Peace Program will continue in January 2018