TRUE Skool Is Where Hip-Hop Meets Art

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Where do you go to learn how be a DJ? How to break? How to produce music using state-of-the-art software? TRUE Skool, that’s where.

TRUE Skool’s free programs focus on hip-hop and creative arts. Other classes at the 15-year-old “skool” include visual arts (in media such as acrylics, oils, pastels, stenciling and spray paint), video production, dance and performance.

Programs also emphasize leadership, social-emotional intelligence and critical thinking skills. “We provide an environment where young people can learn and be creative, but we also connect the arts to local, national and even personal issues,” says Shalina Ali, the group’s director of programs and co-executive director with Felix Verdin. TRUE Skool’s True Knowledge workshop series addresses social justice and community building, with topics such as economics, education and juvenile justice systems.

At its Downtown headquarters, TRUE Skool serves over 300 youth a year through its creative arts sessions and residencies. Funding comes from foundation grants, fundraising events and paid commissions in a variety of arts.

“You can find a little bit of TRUE Skool all over the city,” Ali says. “Our alumni are everywhere.”


Learn more about TRUE Skool at its second annual GALA-RY event, 5-10 p.m. Dec. 14. There will be short film screenings, live performances, refreshments and the unveiling of 19 new murals created during TRUE Skool’s summer 2019 public art activations. Automation Arts/Stamm Media, 1207 W. Canal St. $50 donation suggested.



This Story is part of the December issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

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