Hip-hop that teaches: Urban Community Arts Network

Giving hip-hop music a positive spin
Hip-hop that teaches: Urban Community Arts Network

Hip-hop that teaches: Urban Community Arts NetworkHip-hop that teaches: Urban Community Arts NetworkHip-hop that teaches: Urban Community Arts NetworkMark “ShaH” Evans and Dexter Patterson want to capitalize on the positive side of hip-hop music with their organization, the Urban Community Arts Network, or UCAN. They believe the genre can give a broader understanding of what diversity means to a community, says president Karen Reece.

UCAN hosts a range of events to showcase local musicians and producers. A recent collaboration with Blackhawk Middle School came about because a sixth-grade teacher wanted to incorporate hip-hop into an earth science lesson. Members and community rappers joined the class to mentor and create what would become an all-school performance by students. “Kids look up to rappers, so why not use hip-hop to bridge the gap with education?” says Evans. UCAN represents a mix of races and ages that brings forward different strengths.

What is social innovation?

According to Stanford University’s Social Innovation Review, social innovation is a “novel solution to a social problem that is more effective, efficient, sustainable or just than existing solutions” and benefits primarily society as a whole rather than private individuals.

It includes these elements:

Increasing employment, productivity and economic growth

Justice, fairness, environmental preservation, improved health, arts and culture and better education

A social innovation:

Can be a product, production process or technology (much like innovation in general), but it can also be a principle, an idea, a piece of legislation, a social movement, an intervention or some combination of them.

Recognizes the fundamental role of cross-sector dynamics: exchanging ideas and values, shifting roles and relationships and blending public, philanthropic and private resources. Innovation blossoms where the sectors converge.

Can’t be understood, let alone solved, without involving the nonprofit, public and private sectors.

The M List
Madison Magazine‘s M List is a who’s who of organizations and individuals who are having an impact on our local culture and economy. In its third year, the M List recognizes those making strides in the area of social innovation. Last year’s list of innovators were in the food industry. The original M List, in 2013, honored the technology sector. The 2014 M List honored “Foodtastic” entrepreneurs and innovators.

Click here to return to the 2015 M List.