“There’s no venues, no places for [teenagers] to go to showcase their music and enjoy their friend’s music.”
Artist Janice Voght remembers her teenage years well. Whether playing live shows in Europe, where she grew up, or attending basement shows later in Riverwest, music has been a big part of her life.
“I started going out to shows when I was 13,” she said. “We were given all these opportunities to explore our independence and ourselves.”
But with a recent decrease in all-age venues, Janice, Pulaski High School teacher Vince Gaa and musician Sam Ahmed (better known as WebsterX) are bringing students to the music with a new interactive hip-hop program Freespace.
Working out of the Jazz Gallery in Riverwest, Freespace invites local producers and artists to performances for, and speak to, local high school students. They discuss their inspirations, how to succeed in music and break down their sounds.
And alongside musicians like IshDARR, Siren, Zed Kenzo and Klassik, Freespace also welcomes young musicians to perform, such as Mariah Frosch-Rivera.
“Just seeing everybody do it I was like ‘I can do it too!'” said Mariah. “I feel like this is definitely an amazing start for the youth in Milwaukee. [It’s] a really positive movement for the youth in Milwaukee.”
More information on FreeSpace can be found at www.riverwestart.org