CROWN HEIGHTS — Teen anti-violence organizer Isis Dupree knows firsthand how difficult it is to talk about street violence — and that's why she's giving her peers a forum to speak out against it.
"You don't only necessarily have to speak about it," she said. "A lot of people wanted to dance and act — one person was thinking about doing a documentary."
For Dupree, the project hits home.
"My brother is doing two years in jail now because he was in a robbery," she said. "That gave me a motivation even more to make my message heard."
The contest and the spring Arts Against Violence Festival, which drew more than 70 submissions last year, is taking on a a special twist this year.
"We’re merging the youth organizing [Yo SOS] with the Arts to End Violence," said Amy Ellenbogen, project director at the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center, which houses SOS. "The young people are the ones who are trying to get the community to create the submissions. We thought that we could leverage the power of the community artists and youth artists."
The competition will accept submissions through April 1. Painting, performance and installation art will be displayed at local artist Ron Taylor's St. Johns Place gallery in May.
"People look at the pieces of art in so many different ways," Dupree said. "Whether they like the dance more than a piece of art, they get something out of it."