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At Houston Mural, Retna Gives $5,000 for Budding Street Artists

retna checkTim SchreierRetna (right) with Mista Oh! (left) and mentors from The Art School w/out Walls.

Marquis Lewis, a.k.a. Retna, returned to the scene of his Houston Street mural today, to donate $5,000 to a program that teaches at-risk youth to create street art similar to his own.

The artist, who painted “A Conversation with a Great Friend” on the wall at Houston Street and Bowery last week, said that his donation to the Gowanus-based organization, Cre8tive YouTH*ink, was triggered, appropriately enough, by a conversation between friends in which Carlo McCormick, an East Villager and the Senior Editor of Paper magazine, connected him to Jerry Otero, a.k.a. Mista Oh!, an educator who runs the non-profit.

Last year, Mr. Otero, along with artist Ray Smith, launched The Art School w/out Walls, a program that connects at-risk kids in low-income neighborhoods with mentors who help them create public art. The program aims to expand into dance, music, and sports – hence the $5,000 check that Retna handed over at the wall today. Read more…