MILWAUKEE — Graffiti often gets a bad rap, but one local artist is working to make it something positive.

What You Need To Know

  • A Milwaukee artist is using graffiti to inspire youth with Your Move MKE

  • Your Move MKE works to keep young people on positive paths, using hip hop music, dance and culture

  • The nonprofit works to keep young people on positive paths using hip hop music, dance and culture

With permission from building owners, Adam Correa is turning walls into public art with spray paint.

“My brother was my biggest influence as far as being an artist,” said Correa. “He’s into graffiti. I gravitated towards it most naturally. It was such a free form of expression.” 

His latest work is for an organization working to help young people on Milwaukee’s south side. It’s called Your Move MKE

The nonprofit works to keep young people on positive paths using hip hop music, dance and culture. Its free programming is supporting more than 13 zip codes across Milwaukee. 

(Spectrum News 1/Katarina Velazquez)

“Having things like Your Move MKE… it’s a huge part of the city and the culture for the city,” he said. 

Rocky Aleman is the executive director of Your Move MKE. She said self-expression is healing for people and neighborhoods.

“It’s truly important for youth to have a safe space, especially where they can grow in their creativity and find out who they authentically are,” said Aleman. 

Her organization offers hip hop chess club, break-dancing, free styling, lyric-writing and poetry. It also teaches home-improvement trade skills.

“We really believe in healing families as a unit and trying to provide that intergenerational programming through our programs,” she said. “We love having this space and being able to create a community in the part of the city we absolutely love.” 

Aleman said street art, often referred to as graffiti, is part of that. 

(Spectrum News 1/Katarina Velazquez)

“Graffiti originated from hieroglyphics,” she said. “People have always been writing on walls. Just being able to encourage them to do it in a positive way and encourage them to do it the right way.” 

Correa said he is giving his all to this project. 

“Growing up, doing the type of artwork wad frowned upon,” said Correa. 

He’s making sure kids growing up in the area like he did, know that what they have to say and create is important and valued.