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Youth Art as Activism



Youth Art as Activism is a 6-week hybrid leadership program for youth ages 14-19 years old who live in the Metro Detroit area.  This program will connect budding youth leaders with 4 professional artists to learn art skills in poetry/spoken word, sound engineering, graphic design, and screen printing. Participants will learn leadership development skills and engage in activities about social and racial justice through a learn/do model. Youth who join will also develop their artistic voices in collaboration with their activist voices to respond to social issues that impact them and their communities.  


Youth interested in participating must fill out the YAA Application by May 15th, 2022, to be considered.  If a youth is a Detroit resident, they must complete GDYT's application as well – an organizational referral code is included in the YAA Application.  We will notify participants accepted into the program on May 16th.


For more information, contact Dez Squire at (586) 744-3889 or Izzi Figueiredo at


Meet the Artists


  • Talesha Wright is a 26-year-old advocate who has worked closely with a number of organizations to promote and support the betterment of our communities. She is a 2017 Ferris State University graduate and has a degree in Music Industry Management. Talesha is the author of a poetry book entitled "Love All Over” and currently spends her time working and writing. 

  • Novuh Kaine is a 25-year-old alternative hip hop artist and sound engineer from Detroit, Michigan.  Having done both for around 7 years, his sense of self and music are one in the same. While not assigning himself with the tortured artist trope, vulnerability and real-life experiences saturate all of Kaine’s work capturing the passionate highs and abysmal lows that life brings.  A running theme in his work is processing trauma and finding acceptance in our battles with mental health.  Having been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder at 15, these struggles have become an everyday norm and creating art has proven to be a lifesaving outlet.  We are in charge of our stories, but we must be present to tell them.

  • Damon K. Riddick is a professional photographer and media professional from Detroit, Michigan. He has been creating and producing professional media, digital, and printing for over 15 years. He obtained his formal education through the Detroit Public Schools and went on to obtain higher education through International Academy of Design and Technology (IADT) and Specs Howard School of Media Art.  Damon continuously engages in media and photography trainings to stay abreast of new innovative media techniques and maintain his craft so that he can continue to provide state of the art performance in his field of graphics design, photography, and media.  Damon has been married for 16 years to his wife Laura, and they have two adult sons and a teenage daughter, Kimora, who are very dear to him. Damon has three grandchildren and a family pet shorkie, named Bailey. Damon is respected by all his peers, colleagues, and business partners. His love for his family and friends is evident in his demeanor and conversations. Damon’s favorite thing to do is cooking, especially for his family and friends. Damon loves to relax when he has time and watch movies and play video games to stimulate his creativity.

  • John “Pharaoh Cutty" Cutright is the founder of Cutright Printing and Pharaohs Of Ascension, Inc. Pharaoh Cutty’s passion stems from a family legacy of creatives, from his dad George White’s membership in “The Dynamics,” to his mom’s graphic designing.  He first encountered the entrepreneur world in 2005, when his brother brought home computers after completing a computer tech course.  Following a short stint as a landscaper, Cutty began designing products including shirts, brochures, and business cards.  He outsourced to Lenny’s Copy Center for production and interest in his work continued to grow.  In 2009, Cutty learned the art of screen printing through mentors Munk and Ron Watters.  Pharoah Cutty continued to expand his scope of work to include marketing and has made it his mission to remedy the economic imbalance within urban communities by helping people find their life path and balance that passion for financial independence as well as philanthropy (the balance of giving and receiving). This mission is the foundation of Pharaohs Of Ascension, Inc. which operates out of the Mama Akua Community House, in the Zone 8 neighborhood, further rooting him in community.

Special Thank You 


Youth Art as Activism is a partnership between the Michigan Roundtable, Mama Akua Community House, and Grow Detroit’s Young Talent.  


Special thanks to the Michigan Arts and Culture Council and the First Foundation of First Presbyterian Church of Birmingham for supporting in part the Youth Art as Activism program.  We look forward to working with youth from the metropolitan area as they fuse art and history to advocate social justice issues close to them and their communities.

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