The South Bronx in the early 1980’s was a bad place if you were “learning disabled, emotionally handicapped, truant, or otherwise at risk,” according to Tim Rollins. Rollins, an artist and teacher, started the Art and Knowledge Workshop in 1982 to help disenfranchised youth aged 16 to 19. Rollins would read to the teens and they would draw and create art. Eventually Rollins and the youth began to collaborate in their art and became known as Tim Rollins and the Kids of Survival (K.O.S.). Rollins said “What we’re doing changes people’s conception about who can make art, how art is made, who can learn and what’s possible, because a lot of these kids had been written off by the school system. This is our revenge.” Rollins transformed the South Bronx and gave many teens the opportunity to express themselves.
On January 23, an exhibition at Seattle’s own Frye Art Museum is opening a show featuring much of Rollins and K.O.S.’s work. Much of the art focuses on the injustices of the public school system and translating literary classics into modern works of art. Admission and parking are free so there’s no reason for you not to go!