GREATER VILLE — Yeyo Arts Collective has been empowering women and families through the arts across the St. Louis region for nine years. Now founder and coordinator Dail Chambers says it’s time to bring their programs to the north side.
The organization focuses on building leadership qualities through art and culture, hoping to build up prosperity and resources in black neighborhoods.
The collective began with a gallery in the Locust Business District. They later expanded to the Jefferson community in south St. Louis. Now, Chambers says she is inspired to bring the organization to an area she believes otherwise wouldn’t get the resources or platform. Later this year, Chambers plans to move her organization to the Greater Ville neighborhood.
Chambers says even though she was in affluent neighborhoods she always wanted her organization to be in north St. Louis. Yeyo Arts has completed murals and community art projects in north St. Louis and the organization has also created community gardens in Walnut Park, St. Louis Place and across the street from Vashon High School.
Chambers said she drew inspiration from poets and pioneers in the black community, and that she started the organization because she noticed there was limited space for artists who were also full-time mothers.
“We are inspired by the greats such as Ntzoke Shange and Annie Malone,” said Chambers. “We were a group of artists and mothers who needed a platform that included wholeness, culture, physical and mental wellness and art,”
Chambers said she wants to move to the historic Greater Ville area to build a positive relationship with young people on the north side. She believes bringing her art collective to the area will help change the narrative of north St. Louis for the people who are part of a rich long legacy.
Chambers said she is inspired by the African language Swahili and decided to pay homage to the culture by naming her organization Yeyo, which means mother in the Swahili.
Once established in north St. Louis, Yeyo Arts Collective will feature exhibits, group leadership meetings, crime prevention activities, and art making.
Yeyo Arts Collective has partnered with other north side art groups such as Art House. Like many new organizations, Yeyo depends on raised funds for their programs. Recently the organization has raised $5,000 dollars through its fundraising.
To learn more about the Yeyo Arts Collective visit http://www.yeyoarts.blogspot.com.