Our Mission

Shooting Without Bullets seeks to eliminate systemic barriers that prevent young black and brown artists from thriving. Through an art as activism model, Shooting Without Bullets develops and amplifies the artistic voices of black and brown teens to create a society in which their communities have equal opportunity to thrive.

Who We Are

Shooting Without Bullets is a vehicle to center and amplify youth perspectives, an endeavor to advocate for black and brown communities and fight against systemic oppression, a means of arts and social justice education and an incubator for the development of young artistic voice. We provide a framework and public platform to allow young artists in Cleveland, Ohio to process and share their perspectives on the complex social justice issues affecting their communities.

Shooting Without Bullets houses a collective of visual artists and hip-hop performers ages 18 – 21.They create and exhibit analog film photography; perform; receive career development, mentorship, and experiential learning opportunities; provide creative services to the public, and produce original works under the Creative Direction of Artist and Activist Amanda King.

Shooting Without Bullets also designs and delivers art and social justice related minicourses to Cleveland youth ages 13 – 17. Minicourses introduce young artists to mediums such as film photography, photojournalism, and public art while exploring topics of police accountability and criminal justice reform, gender and racial disparities, and other social justice issues relevant to their lives. Our courses are designed with an experiential and entrepreneurial approach to activist art and expose youth to diverse creative career possibilities. We provide artists with hands-on experience and plant seeds of knowledge necessary to flourish in the arts.

Additionally, Shooting Without Bullets leadership and artists engage in social justice advocacy and community organizing by hosting and participating in events, dialogues, screenings, and workshops that address current political affairs.

Our History

While studying in law school, our Founder and Creative Director Amanda D. King was elected to serve on the Cleveland Community Police Commission as an advocate for youth and systemically excluded communities. In the course of that work, she realized how problematic it was that youth voices were not at the decision-making tables, even though youth were affected by the both the issues discussed and the decisions made to address them. To bridge this gap, in 2016 Amanda created Shooting Without Bullets, a program meant to empower youth to use art as a medium to express their thoughts on the complex issues of systematic racism, police violence and discrimination that they experience in their lives and through the media.

What We Do

  • Cultivate future generations of artist activists

  • Develop artistic talents and professional skills of black and brown teens in areas of photography, film, and music

  • Use an art as activism model to address social justice issues affecting the black and brown community

  • Introduce underrepresented voices into the arts ecosystem

  • Host events, exhibitions and showcases

Why We Do It

Cleveland is one of the most economically depressed and racially segregated urban areas in the United States. There are few opportunities for black and brown youth, even within the rapidly expanding creative industries. We seek to provide knowledge, skills, and resources to allow youth from Cleveland’s underserved and underrepresented communities to participate and thrive in the local and national arts and culture industries.

When black and brown youth are systematically excluded from opportunity, alienation and lack of hope for the future pervade their daily lives. We must eliminate the systemic barriers that prevent them from thriving and give them a platform that allows them to reclaim their narratives as brilliant and talented contributors to culture and to represent themselves as they are -- without stigma or stereotype. Art is a powerful vehicle for youth to present their experiences and perspectives in ways that take aim at injustices and inspire transformative social change for generations to come.

How To Get Involved

We are always looking for opportunities to show our work and share our stories. Past collaborations include commissions, exhibitions, performances, showcases, discussions, features for media publications and press. You may also donate to support future projects. For collaborations, email Amanda@shootingwithoutbullets.org.