TheVIPPReport: Julia Youngblood, honoring women in our community

Julia Youngblood

Special Report by Sherlene Shanklin, WHAS11, ABC Affiliate

Many may not know the name Julia Youngblood but countless youth and artists know her as the woman who gave them a chance to expand their horizons. I sit down with her to talk about the importance of giving back. 

Youngblood is one of the quiet forces in our community making sure the arts is available for anyone whose interested.  She worked at the Kentucky Arts Reach program. Dedicating her life to make the community better. 

Youngblood says “For the 16 years I took care of it.  I really worked on opening up the space more and more for communities especially communities of color or folks that might of felt like they really could walk in that door.  I produced 100s of events open mics and many performances on many big stages, all the stages throughout the building.”

Introducing some 50 thousand people to the Kentucky Center for the Arts space that normally would not of had that opportunity. She says “One of my biggest joys was creating culturally related performance pieces that came from the community.  It wasn’t me creating those pieces. It was reaching out to the community and saying what do you want to express today. To me that’s extremely powerful.”  

Youngblood currently owns Youngblood Harmonizing Arts. She took me to a time in her life when she decided to focus on helping others. She took me back to when she was 20 years old.  “A really pivotal part of my life. I lost the ability to walk at the time they thought I had multiple sclerosis . Over time being helped by many other people I was able to get well.”  She goes on to say “Once I really got to where I was able to function and walk again I thought that I just want my life to be of service.” 

Her unique way of looking at life and understanding that expression is a part of the process when healing a community. She says “A lot of time people feel the need to feel seen and that’s a healing.” 

Youngblood admits she’s not outspoken but her now 90 year old mother gave her some advice when she was younger. “Walk into any space and sit down.  So that is what I hope for all of us in life that we call all walk in and feel like it okay to be where we are.”

She tells me that her mom and 25 year old daughter Johnny Storm inspire her.  She goes onto say she appreciates how her daughter views life. Youngblood, a self-taught artist has an art exhibit with almost 40 pieces ranging from paintings to print on textiles.

Contact Sherlene Shanklin at sherlene@sherleneshanklin.com or follow me on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.

To see the television version of the story, click the link https://www.whas11.com/article/news/community/moments-that-matter/julia-youngblood-harmonizing-arts-lodgic-kentucky-performing-arts-artsreach/417-2988a064-00aa-42cb-b148-694888bc87e8

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