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We meet every Friday & Saturday to create a safe and vibrant environment for the community to explore multiple aspects of hip-hop. 

Free for all ages!

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Our Roots

In 2001 in a small cultural arts center in the high-crime, predominantly immigrant neighborhood of MacArthur Park, a new kind of community youth center was born. Justice by Uniting in Creative Energy (J.U.i.C.E.) emerged as a direct response to work with underserved youth- specifically incarcerated youth- who were asked directly what they felt might have made a difference in their lives. Their responses, and years of research, went into creating a program that would be open to all, would provide services that were exciting, inspirational, and educational, and would offer mentoring by their peers in the fields they respected; all with only one ground rule- respect.

Since its inception, J.U.i.C.E. has been located in and served the predominantly Latino neighborhood of Pico-Union and MacArthur Park, located adjacent to the predominantly Asian neighborhood of Koreatown. Our participants, who come from these underserved communities, face a variety of challenges, ranging from underperforming schools to a lack of professional and/or vocational opportunities. To further compound these issues, when considering the high levels of crime, gang activity and a lack of resources for the promotion of personal well-being available within these communities, personal safety and health become of chief concern for many of its young residents. J.U.i.C.E., however, strives to address these concerns by providing a safe center run by and for young people, focused on skill building in the arts of the hip-hop culture.

Despite numerous challenges, especially with regards to funding such a unique program, the center continues to thrive- still in the same neighborhood, but now at the MacArthur Park Recreation Center-- offering weekly programming to dozens of youth from the surrounding neighborhoods, as well as young people from around the world.

Since inception, our successes include:

  • Six years of critically-acclaimed annual shows to packed houses of the J.U.i.C.E. Hip Hop Dance Festival at the Ford Amphitheater,
  • Numerous young people that have come through J.U.i.C.E. in the past have moved on to regional, national, and international team competitions, as well as popular media, including the TV shows, “So You Think You Can Dance” and “America’s Best Dance Crew”, and the current movie, “Battle of the Year”.
  • International exchanges with similar youth programs in Germany and Uganda,
  • Two produced CDS of compilation music created and entirely by J.U.i.C.E. staff and participants,
  • Community events and competitions attended by hundreds of local youth, as well as youth from Japan, Korea, France, and other countries,
  • Visits from major hip-hop artists,
  • Features in the LA Times, on Fox, the BBC, and other media outlets,
  • Participation at numerous conferences, universities, and panel discussions regarding the impact of the arts on high-risk youth,
  • Providing after-school dance and visual arts programming for the Ambassador School for Global Education,
  • Observing multiple young people who started as participants in J.U.i.C.E. earn recording and commercial contracts, places in major gallery exhibitions,  spots as part of touring dance and performance troupes, and national and international artistic acclaim.

our team

 

Eric Nishimoto was a collegiate gymnast at the University of Illinois. After graduation, Mr. Nishimoto moved to Japan and discovered the essences of breakdancing while teaching English abroad. In 2004 he began as a participant of J.U.i.C.E. and was immediately drawn to its positive energy, connection to likeminded people and a place of refuge. Mr. Nishimoto currently works at Lee & Associates Commercial Real Estate as a broker in greater Los Angeles and Ventura county areas. Mr. Nishimoto sits on the board of directors for several outstanding organizations such as the Valley Economic Alliance and the Nikkei Senior Gardens Assisted Living Facility. Every Saturday you will find Eric at J.U.i.C.E. either teaching, organizing, dancing and mentoring youth. Mr. Nishimoto will guide the direction of the project and assist in organizing the final production of the project.

Eric Nishimoto was a collegiate gymnast at the University of Illinois. After graduation, Mr. Nishimoto moved to Japan and discovered the essences of breakdancing while teaching English abroad. In 2004 he began as a participant of J.U.i.C.E. and was immediately drawn to its positive energy, connection to likeminded people and a place of refuge. Mr. Nishimoto currently works at Lee & Associates Commercial Real Estate as a broker in greater Los Angeles and Ventura county areas. Mr. Nishimoto sits on the board of directors for several outstanding organizations such as the Valley Economic Alliance and the Nikkei Senior Gardens Assisted Living Facility. Every Saturday you will find Eric at J.U.i.C.E. either teaching, organizing, dancing and mentoring youth. Mr. Nishimoto will guide the direction of the project and assist in organizing the final production of the project.

Gilyon Wiley Brace-Wessel was born and raised in Seattle Washington. His background is multicultural, which is reflected in his artistic work and his exceptional ability to connect with and develop the talents of J.U.i.C.E. participants of all ethnic and cultural backgrounds. He has served as a mentor at the center for the last several years. He started working in graffiti art in his youth through community and cultural organizing projects in Seattle. His work has been recognized throughout the Los Angeles based hip-hop scene and showcased on the dancer for Fox Television’s show called America’s Best Dance Crew”. In addition to his work with J.U.i.C.E., he is a professional dance instructor at Jayvee Dance Studio performer at Marvel Universal Live and held a principal dance role in the movie called Battle of the Year as one of the best dancers in the United States. Mr. Wessel is also a cultural ambassador for the Los Angeles based organization called One World Hip Hop where he most recently traveled to Ecuador on a mural and dance project. He will be responsible for developing and organizing the breakdance and graffiti arts teaching series. He will also be responsible for recruiting and overseeing all the teaching personal for the entire project.

Gilyon Wiley Brace-Wessel was born and raised in Seattle Washington. His background is multicultural, which is reflected in his artistic work and his exceptional ability to connect with and develop the talents of J.U.i.C.E. participants of all ethnic and cultural backgrounds. He has served as a mentor at the center for the last several years. He started working in graffiti art in his youth through community and cultural organizing projects in Seattle. His work has been recognized throughout the Los Angeles based hip-hop scene and showcased on the dancer for Fox Television’s show called America’s Best Dance Crew”. In addition to his work with J.U.i.C.E., he is a professional dance instructor at Jayvee Dance Studio performer at Marvel Universal Live and held a principal dance role in the movie called Battle of the Year as one of the best dancers in the United States. Mr. Wessel is also a cultural ambassador for the Los Angeles based organization called One World Hip Hop where he most recently traveled to Ecuador on a mural and dance project. He will be responsible for developing and organizing the breakdance and graffiti arts teaching series. He will also be responsible for recruiting and overseeing all the teaching personal for the entire project.

Joshua “Kenzo” Aldrete has been a hip-hop D.J. for over twelve years. His artistic work also includes graphic design, visual arts instruction, and photography, all of which he has shared with J.U.i.C.E. participants for over six years. Mr. Aldrete attended Art Center of Design in Pasadena, CA. He was an art facilitator for the LAUSD Ambassador School project, and currently educates participants in DJing skills. Mr. Aldrete is a master at building bridges and expanding relationships with other artists and organizations, and his professional network has kept J.U.i.C.E. and its artists in people’s minds. Since his work at J.U.i.C.E. began, he has been dedicated to supporting artists and their work to grow and flourish. As a leading organizer in the community one of the most recent accomplishments has been his directorship role as one of the primary organizers for the LA Zine Fest that brought together over 2,000 independent publishers. Mr. Aldrete will be responsible for organizing instructors and developing the DJ teaching series. In addition he will be responsible for outreach to local organizations in the community to introduce the video teaching series.

Joshua “Kenzo” Aldrete has been a hip-hop D.J. for over twelve years. His artistic work also includes graphic design, visual arts instruction, and photography, all of which he has shared with J.U.i.C.E. participants for over six years. Mr. Aldrete attended Art Center of Design in Pasadena, CA. He was an art facilitator for the LAUSD Ambassador School project, and currently educates participants in DJing skills. Mr. Aldrete is a master at building bridges and expanding relationships with other artists and organizations, and his professional network has kept J.U.i.C.E. and its artists in people’s minds. Since his work at J.U.i.C.E. began, he has been dedicated to supporting artists and their work to grow and flourish. As a leading organizer in the community one of the most recent accomplishments has been his directorship role as one of the primary organizers for the LA Zine Fest that brought together over 2,000 independent publishers. Mr. Aldrete will be responsible for organizing instructors and developing the DJ teaching series. In addition he will be responsible for outreach to local organizations in the community to introduce the video teaching series.

Eric Nishimoto

President/Program Director

Gilyon “Guillotine” Brace-Wessel

Breaking and Graffiti Arts Director

Joshua “Kenzo” Aldrete

Community Outreach Director

 
Leo is an after school teacher, as well as a Behavioral Intervention Implementer (BII) for a charter school in the Los Angeles area. He was introduced to the hip-hop scene when he was 11 years old after attending a battle rap event at the local Salvation Army. In 2005 he began to develop his craft as an MC while attending J.U.i.C.E. and began to really understand rhyme and beat making. Over the years, Leo has won numerous freestyle battles and has recorded several songs while developing his first full album in 2012. As a new instructor at J.U.i.C.E. he is able to teach his knowledge on music and rhyme writing to participants of all ages. His role in this project will be to assist the lead coordinator in developing the MC teaching series.

Leo is an after school teacher, as well as a Behavioral Intervention Implementer (BII) for a charter school in the Los Angeles area. He was introduced to the hip-hop scene when he was 11 years old after attending a battle rap event at the local Salvation Army. In 2005 he began to develop his craft as an MC while attending J.U.i.C.E. and began to really understand rhyme and beat making. Over the years, Leo has won numerous freestyle battles and has recorded several songs while developing his first full album in 2012. As a new instructor at J.U.i.C.E. he is able to teach his knowledge on music and rhyme writing to participants of all ages. His role in this project will be to assist the lead coordinator in developing the MC teaching series.

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Heleodoro “LA Native” Sanchez

MC and Music Production Facilitator

Taehoon “Toonz” Kim

DJ Facilitator

 

Board of Directors, officers

Investment Associate, Lee & Associates-LA North/Ventura, Inc.

Investment Associate, Lee & Associates-LA North/Ventura, Inc.

Eric Nishimoto, President

Founder of J.U.i.C.E. and Director of Seventh Sense Media and Events

Founder of J.U.i.C.E. and Director of Seventh Sense Media and Events

Rev. Dawn Smith, Vice-President

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harbor-UCLA Medical

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harbor-UCLA Medical

Linda Sharp, Secretary

CIO Managing Principal    Big Rock Partners

CIO Managing Principal

Big Rock Partners

Bennett Kim, Treasurer

Our Sponsors