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ART IS—Ericka Turner a member of the Oasis Creative Space, is excited that her project is a part of the 50th anniversary of the Harambee Black Arts Festival. (Photo by Diane I. Daniels)

For three years The Homewood Children’s Village (HCV) has participated in the City of Pittsburgh’s Learn and Earn Summer Employment Program with the purpose to provide work experience to Pittsburgh and Allegheny County young residents.

Learn and Earn is a six-week summer job program for teens and young adults ages 14 to 21. The program provides participants the opportunity to earn money, gain valuable work experience, and to develop soft skills to help them become college- and career-ready.

This year the HCV employed approximately 90 youth, according to Grace Oxley, HCV Learn and Earn coordinator. They operated over 17 worksites throughout Homewood and parts of the East End.

One worksite employing six students has the responsibilities of conducting the marketing and public relations for the Harambee Black Arts Festival, occurring Aug. 4-6. The 50th Anniversary celebration, carrying the theme “Breathing Life into the Community,” will take place in the heart of Homewood, focused around Kelly and N. Homewood avenues. The entire weekend, which will kick off with a Soul-Stepping parade, will have games for children of all ages, food vendors and well-known local music acts. “The mission of this year’s festival is to eliminate negativity in youth culture and to empower young people to understand their individual and collective beauty,” said George Hogan, Harambee Festival Chairman.

The first activity of the 50th anniversary event kicked off in June during Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Arts Festival with the season debut of the Oasis Creative Space. Housed in a repurposed 20-foot shipping container, viewers have the opportunity to experience diverse art from upcoming local artists and are able to hear directly from each artist using technology. The container also features a digital monitor showcasing animation art. “We are excited to be a part of the Harambee Festival,” said Ericka Turner, a member of the Oasis Creative Space. She said the mission of the project is to cultivate a platform for new and up-and-coming artists to promote sales of their art in cool places, while helping people think about art in different ways socially, politically and culturally. During the weekend Oasis Creative Space will be located near CCAC’s Homewood branch.

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