A weeklong series of events aimed at reducing the cycle of violence in Louisville is over, and organizers are now looking to see if it will have any impact on young people in the city.
The events of SpreadLoveLou were meant to highlight the creativity of Louisville teenagers and present an alternative to violence. The events ran last week mostly in downtown Louisville and featured art such as poetry readings and dance. The series was inspired by a wave of youth violence downtown on March 22.
And organizers say even though turnout was lower than expected, they hope to have started something positive.
“We’ve got to do all kinds of different things to make this work, so this is a start, it was a great start, it was a great four days,” says Anthony Smith, director of Louisville’s Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods Program. “I think we’ve got something to build on. It is just consistently finding new things to build on and finding ways to get kids involved and kids want to do different things and this is just one of those ways.”
Lance Newman, an artist, poet and one of the event coordinators, says despite lower-than-hoped-for participation, he’s still hopeful the series touched a nerve.
“The communities that we were trying to reach, it hit, but it hit not as much as I wanted it to hit, this is the tip of the iceberg and we’ve got a lot more digging to do before we reach all the people that we want to reach,” Newman says.
The next anti-violence event is set for June 21. It will feature dance competitions, graffiti artists and music in the Portland neighborhood.