SubCulture studios has been in existence since April 2006. Just 4 years prior, the studio was based out of a side room that was 8 feet by 12 feet. The “studio” had 2 computers – one for video and one for audio. The cramped quarters made it difficult for emerging artists to develop their talents or for the staff to engage more than one member at a time. So with the help of some generous donors and foundations, SubCulture studios was born. We were also assisted by industry consultants who outfitted the studio with the latest equipment for audio and video production.

In the movie “Field of Dreams” Kevin Costner’s character is told numerous times, “If you build it, they will come.” This may work for dead baseball players and their fans but not so much for teens and young adults.


Once the studio was built it was a challenge to find original ways for kids to get involved. Much of the problem laid in the belief that the facility itself would foster the creative spirit. The truth is that equipment is useless with out human vision and ideas. The second truth, contrary to popular belief, is that teens really do not know what they want for themselves. This may come as a huge shocker for some but if you tell a teen “you can do anything you want; You can create anything you want and be anything you want;” they will say, “I don’t know what I want.” Teens want to feel needed and relevant. The Boys and Girls Clubs used to call this concept “BUIC.” Teens want a sense of BELONGING. This inspired the name subculture studios. We wanted the kids to belong to something that they felt was special and different from the other club activities. Teen want a sense of USEFULNESS. They want to know that they are helping out. They want to feel like you need them and thus, we need each other. Once a teen is engaged they want to feel they have INFLUENCE on the situation. Their inputs are used and suddenly, they are doing their own projects and guiding other teens to do the same. Finally, teens want to show a sense of COMPETENCE. Every teen strives to have a set of skills that separates them from the pack. The studio creates an opportunity for teens to belong, be useful, have influence, and show competence is an field while many other kids their age struggle to find themselves.



The keyword in describing the studio is OPPORTUNITY. The studio is not magic and is not a sure fire formula to reform society. The studio merely creates an opportunity for success. And like any opportunity, teens can choose to take it or leave it. We can’t win them all but I can say with certainty, we have created a potentially life altering opportunity that can change and sometimes save lives.

Tony Tripp
  Interim Executive Director


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