Shooting Without Bullets is a for-impact organization that works to eliminate systemic barriers that prevent young black and brown youth from thriving. Utilizing an art as activism model, the organization develops and elevates the youth artistic voice in order to shift policy, perspective, and culture. We provide a framework for teen and young adult artists in Cleveland to process and comment on the complex social justice issues affecting their lives and communities.
Shooting Without Bullets provides art and social justice related programming to youth ages 13 -17, engages in activism and advocacy to encourage changes to the arts ecosystem and to dismantle unjust systems of power, and houses a collective of artists, ages 18 - 21, whose interests and talents span the disciplines of photography, music, performance, design and more.
The artists of Shooting Without Bullets collective use photography and hip-hop performance to amplify their perspectives and produce works that authentically represent the communities in which they live. Much of their inspiration comes from the streets of Cleveland, where they find and create beauty amidst their sometimes bleak surroundings.
Since its inception in 2016, the youth artists of Shooting Without Bullets have filled gallery walls with their images and performed on stages throughout Cleveland. Our photographers have exhibited their work in settings including the International Center of Photography, SPACES gallery for FRONT Triennial, the Morgan Conservatory, and the East Cleveland Public Library. They have also been highlighted in numerous print and online publications, including The Plain Dealer and Cleveland Scene.
Shooting Without Bullets is co-led by Amanda D. King (Founder & Creative Director) and Kelsi Carter (Impact Director).
Amanda D. King is an artist, activist, and educator. Her artistic practice involves analog photography, creative direction, public art and arts education as activism. Her work explores black subjectivity and seeks to awaken society to the enduring struggles and residual strengths of black people. She is interested in the nexus between the individual experiences of black folks and the systemic issues of race, gender, and socioeconomics that affect us all. In a society that weaponizes blackness to maintain white supremacy, she uses imagery as force to compel racial equity and justice.
Kelsi Carter is social impact innovator who uses her skills in project management, program and curriculum development, and nonprofit administration as a means to create solutions to social problems affecting marginalized and underserved populations. Her work experience and advocacy interests span the topics of youth advocacy and empowerment, health equity, criminal justice system reform and abolition, disability rights, behavioral health systems improvement and stigma reduction, along with any other systemic issues that prevent an individual or group from living as their best and highest self.