About Us

Liberation Through Artistic Expression


Kuumba Lynx is committed to the lives of youth using urban art and performance to cultivate strong communities built on a foundation of love.


KL is an urban arts youth development organization founded in 1996 by three women, Jaquanda Villegas, Leida Garcia-Mukwacha, and Jacinda Bullie. For two decades, alongside many of Chicago’s artists, activists, educators, and youth communities, KL has honed an arts making practice that presents, preserves and promotes Hip Hop as a tool to reimagine and demonstrate a more just world. KL’s Program Facilitators are a collective of artists, activists, educators, and healers.


Kuumba Lynx provides performances & productions, film screenings, art making workshops & residencies, youth artist apprenticeships, community cultural events (battles, exhibitions, festivals & poetry slams), and praxi sharing, all rooted in an indigenous culture of urban artistry and activism.

KL energizes affirming spaces that challenge youth and their communities to deeply engage & listen, critically observe and react, and creatively speak with one another.  Annually, KL Hip Hop Arts Programs directly support and create opportunities for approximately 1,000 participants directly and another 1,500 indirectly through free to public activities. KLPE reaches an estimated audience of 15,000+ people.


Kuumba Lynx’s Hip Hop Arts Program (HHAP) continuum creates pathways across the city at various locations including park districts, schools and community spaces.  The year round sequential arts learning opportunities incorporate ritual, writing and freestyle ciphers fused with dance, beatbox, spoken word, music production, deejaying, graffiti art, photography, video and more. HHAP includes:  1) the Kuumba Lynx Performance Ensemble (KLPE) touring shows & it’s apprenticeships for ages 14-25,  2) 1/2 Pint Poetics (HPP) writing and slam poetry project for ages 8-14, 3) cultural events & collaborations such as Chicago Hip Hop Theater Festival,  Remixing The Art of Social Change Teach In & One Luv Back to School Jam, and 4) praxi sharing & professional development trainings with Co Founders and facilitators.


KL primarily facilitates programming in Uptown, Little Village, and Austin, however program participants represent over 27 Chicago communities.  From Auburn Gresham to Humboldt Park, and from South Shore to  Rogers Park, KL’s celebrates its participants global experiences and perspectives. KL program participants are 55% African American, 30% Latino, 1% Native, 5% White and 9% other.   Our participants are generally 8 to 18 years old (70%), but we also serve 19 to 25 year olds (30%).



Click Here for Our Annual Report!

Kuumba Lynx is committed to the policy that all persons shall have equal access to programs, facilities, events, programs, and employment.  Kuumba Lynx seeks to hosts space where discrimination and harassment against any person because of age, ancestry, color, disability or handicap, national origin, race, religious creed, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status is not tolerated. Discrimination or harassment toward participants, staff, and program facilitators will be addressed on a case by case basis.

Amongst our family of arts facilitators and youth participants, it is our hope to cultivate a sustainable long term culture free of rape culture and abuse, one that embraces peace, love, respect, honor, justice, and healing.  We are committed to hosting a space that seeks forms of accountability, and transformative healing where we can learn together how to best cultivate community.  We are committed to establishing and sustaining partnerships and seeking supporting resources that will include both on and off-site trainings for staff and participants in areas of mental health, gender justice, consent, forms of abuse and sexual assault & harassment, intimate partner abuse, and topics to be determined by KL participants and facilitators.

Kuumba Lynx is committed to healing, transformative and restorative justice practices and the necessary redemption work involved when harm has been done within our space. When applicable, KL will offer  healing and or restorative process for both survivor and harm doer, to be determined case by case.   Kuumba Lynx does not condone violence nor its many forms, including condoning the involvement of the criminal justice system in community matters.

Click Here for Our Annual Report!