This December: Free Writing & Performance Workshops for Teens!

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As #BeHeard17 approaches, TruArtSpeaks is offering a free workshop series for young poets looking to prepare.

Write to Be Heard is a spoken word workshop series for any young (13-19 years old) poets, MCs, or writers looking to refine their craft and build with other artists. Whether you’re a poetry slam vet wanting critical feedback on your newest piece, or someone who is just getting started in the world of spoken word, this opportunity is for you.

All workshops are free, and run from 4-6pm (note: Friday’s workshop will end at 5pm due to library building hours)

Themes/Topics:

  • Monday: Idea generation, perspective and truth-telling
  • Tuesday: Turning ideas into poems through the use of concrete language and specificity
  • Wednesday: Refining our imagery/ideas and challenging both ourselves and our audiences
  • Thursday: Revision: critical questions to ask
  • Friday: Performance tips, tools, and tactics

We hope to see you there! Feel free to email info@TruArtSpeaks.org with any questions.

It is Time to Be Heard – Register Now for the 5th Annual MN Youth Poetry Slam Series!

3b946b1d-70c1-43ba-8f7c-759bf3d9b83aRegistration for the 5th Annual Be Heard MN Youth Poetry Slam Series is Now Open!

For the past five years, TruArtSpeaks’ Be Heard MN Youth Poetry Slam Series has provided a platform for hundreds of youth poets to tell their stories and speak their truths to big, energetic audiences. As the country—and the state—head into uncertain times, it is more important than ever to hear these stories and listen to these perspectives.

Through a series of eight poetry slams, Be Heard seeks to identify six youth poets who will both represent Minnesota at the annual international Brave New Voices youth poetry slam and festival in San Francisco in summer 2017, and serve as the #BeHeard17 cohort for the duration of the year, receiving mentorship in writing, performing, and arts leadership.

While the competition element of the series represents an incredible opportunity for the top six poets, the series itself is set up as a space for everyone—from youth slam veterans, to first-timers, to the audience itself—to build community through art, present counter-narratives, and call into being the world in which we want to live.

The full schedule is below; interested poets (who must be between 13 and 19 years old, and have a Minnesota address) can register at www.TruArtSpeaks.org. All bouts begin at 7pm and are open to the public.

  • Preliminary bouts:
    • January 14 at the Black Dog Café in Saint Paul
    • January 21 at the American Indian Community Housing Organization in Duluth
    • January 28 at the SteppingStone Theater in Saint Paul
    • February 4 at Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis
    • February 11 at the New Century Theater (Hennepin County Theater Trust) in Minneapolis
  • Semifinal bouts:
    • March 4 at Macalester College’s Kagin Commons Hill Ballroom in Saint Paul
    • March 11 at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis
  • Finals:
    • March 25 at the Walker Art Center’s McGuire Theater in Minneapolis

To register for the slam, click here. For additional inquiries, please contact info@TruArtSpeaks.org


Poets, prepare your pen and person for 912x912-write-to-be-heard-v2-tas-01#BeHeard17 with this series of FREE writing & performance centered workshops at the Minneapolis Central Library. This is your chance to work on concrete description, imagery, writing for social change, writing for performance, form, device and more with some of the Twin Cities’ most recognized slam poets!

No registration or sign up required. Just save the date, show up and be ready to BUST!


912x912-flip-the-script-digital-flyer-v2-tasSave the Date/Register Now: Flip the Script! is an annual writing and performance conference where poets between the ages of 13 and 19 engage with professional artists and arts organizers through workshops, panel discussions, community-building, and more. Presented by TruArtSpeaks, and co-sponsored by the Loft Literary Center, the conference’s third installment will be held on Sunday, February 19, 2017.

#FTS3 will feature leading voices in the national spoken word movement, including Danez Smith, Zhalarina Sanders, Donte Collins, Ed Bok Lee, Andrea Jenkins, Ollie Schminkey, R. Vincent Moniz Jr., Jake Virden, and Khary Jackson, as well as dozens of youth poets sharing their stories and sharpening each other’s skills. Register here!


Interested in supporting MN youth poets img_8962during #BeHeard17 by serving as a volunteer during one of the events? Email info@truartspeaks.org with your availability and join us as we power youth voice in Minnesota!

Judges, Time Keepers, Greeters and more are needed to make this series vibrant each year and we welcome you all to the cypher! Thank you in advance for helping us power the slam series – can’t wait to hear from each of you!


#ReVerbOpenMic is back up and running this week with a writing workshop to kick things off at Golden Thyme Cafe in Saint Paul! Be sure to stop by and share your creative genius with us before the end of 2016!


Our work would not be possible without the support of generous and committed arts, social justice and youth advocates like yourself. Thank you for all you do to support this movement. To continue support our work, #BeHeard17, #FTS3, or more, click here.


Be sure to stay connected with us via social media – @truartspeaks – on all platforms; See you all soon!

Now, More Than Ever, is the Time to Be Heard

be-heard-svtd-final-tasGet Ready: It is Time to Be Heard

Sharpen your swords and spread the word. The Be Heard MN youth poetry slam series has not only expanding geographically, but conceptually, and it kicks off this January. The 5th annual Be Heard series is bringing in two major changes:

  • A Duluth area preliminary bout
  • Not only will the six poets that advance from the final bout represent MN at Brave New Voices in San Francisco summer 2017, they will serve as the #BeHeard17 cohort for the duration of the year being mentored in writing, performance and arts leadership

Registration opens on December 1st, 2016 – slots fill quickly – so register fast. Rules, FAQs and additional info can be found on our website.

So, get ready, mark your calendars, tell a friend, share the link, form a writing circle and write a poem. If you are a young person between the ages of 13-19 this is your opportunity to tell your story. It is your opportunity to be heard.


Get ready to rip the mic; join us for the Write to 5x7-write-to-be-heard-flyer-back-v1-tasBe Heard writing and performance workshops over winter break.

Write to Be Heard is a free spoken word workshop series for any young poets, MCs, or writers looking to refine their craft and build with other artists. Open to youth between the ages of 13 and 19, this five-part workshop will offer tips, tools, and tactics related to turning ideas into poems, crafting memorable imagery, improving performance technique, and more. Whether you’re new to spoken word and just looking to dive in, or you’re an experienced writer looking to be challenged, Write to Be Heard will be a space for you to sharpen your skills and have some fun.

December 19 – December 23 (M-F) at the Minneapolis Central Library
Conference Room N-402

2-4pm


img_8545We look forward to seeing and speaking to you all this evening at the Guthrie Theater as we discuss the struggle for civil rights, American History and the future as told through the lens of Washburn High School’s Black Voices students and their eloquent response to Parchman Hour.

 


As you seek community, support, a space to listen and be reverb-end-of-2016-web-flierheard be sure to count #ReVerbOpenMic as a reoccurring event FOR YOU. We would love to see you.

Golden Thyme Cafe in Saint Paul every Thursday from 6-8p hosted by Desdamona.

Congratulations & Thank You!

HUGE THANK YOU to everyone that came out to Page. Stage. Engage. at the University of Minnesota last Friday. We appreciated you joining us in conversation and hope we continue to speak courageously with one another in an effort to understand and relate. DJ Just Nine, Amani Ward, Speakers of the Sun, Speak Poetry, Al Taw’am, Guante, and Tish Jones, you all were inspiring, thank you.

Check out the visual recap of the night with photos from Uche Iroegbu Photographic below!

Congratulations to Lizzie Esposito on winning the Bookmark Poetry contest! Look for Lizzie’s work at all upcoming events!


TruArtSpeaks Partners with the Guthrie Theater, the U of M + More!

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TruArtSpeaks and Guthrie Theater partner to present
Stop Policing My Person

Students respond to Guthrie’s The Parchman Hour in a free, open mic style event.

November 11 at 7 p.m. in the Dowling Studio

(Minneapolis/St. Paul)— TruArtSpeaks, in partnership with the Guthrie Theater, today announced that it will present Stop Policing My Person, an open mic style event featuring performances by Washburn High School students with support from TruArtSpeaks mentors and alumni on Friday, November 11 at 7:30 p.m. in the Guthrie’s Dowling Studio. The performance is the students’ response to The Parchman Hour, and will be followed by a discussion with the audience. Tickets are free and may be reserved through the Guthrie Box Office at 612.377.2224, toll-free 877.44.STAGE, and online at www.guthrietheater.org. Due to limited capacity, there is a six ticket limit per person.

Stop Policing My Person marks a first-time partnership between the Guthrie Theater and TruArtSpeaks, a non-profit arts organization dedicated to cultivating literacy, leadership and social justice through the study and application of Spoken Word and Hip Hop culture. Students enrolled in Black Voices, an English course centered on Black Literature and Theory at Minneapolis’ Washburn High School – powered by TruArtSpeaks – will see a performance of the The Parchman Hour and create an open mic style response to the show. Mike Wiley’s The Parchman Hour, directed by Patricia McGregor, is inspired by the songs and stories of the 1961 Freedom Riders who boarded buses headed into the Deep South to battle discrimination.

With the support of DJ Just Nine and other TruArtSpeaks artists, Black Voices students will perform original spoken word poems responding to the content of the play while incorporating course content, their lived experience, and current events. The Twin Cities community is invited to hear the perspective of these future leaders and participate in a discussion.

TruArtSpeaks is a non-profit arts organization, founded in 2007, dedicated to cultivating literacy, leadership and social justice through the study and application of Spoken Word and Hip Hop culture. TruArtSpeaks exists to counteract the dominant narrative by centering voices of those most often rendered invisible. It is committed to honoring and highlighting youth voice, ensuring that there is a space for young people in conversations that will shape the future.

The Guthrie Theater (Joseph Haj, Artistic Director) was founded by Sir Tyrone Guthrie in 1963 and is an American center for theater performance, production, education and professional training, dedicated to producing the great works of dramatic literature and to cultivating the next generation of theater artists. Under the leadership of Haj, the Guthrie produces a mix of classic and contemporary plays on three stages, and continues to set a national standard for excellence in theatrical production and performance. In 2006, the Guthrie opened its new home on the banks of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel, the Guthrie Theater houses three state-of-the-art stages, production facilities, classrooms, full-service restaurants and dramatic public lobbies. www.guthrietheater.org


An evening of spoken word exploringimg_8503 intersections of art, activism, and social justice featuring Tish Jones, Guante, Speakers of the Sun, UMN SPEAK Poetry, and DJ Just Nine.

Tish Jones is a poet, UMN graduate, and the Executive Director of TruArtSpeaks, a Twin Cities-based nonprofit organization committed to cultivating literacy, leadership, and social justice through the study and application of spoken word and Hip Hop culture.

Guante is a hip hop artist, two-time National Poetry Slam champion, activist and educator (and also a UMN graduate). His work has appeared everywhere from the United Nations, to Welcome to Night Vale, to Upworthy, and beyond, and this event will be the official release party for his brand new, debut book, A Love Song, A Death Rattle, A Battle Cry.

Tish and Guante will be joined by Asian-American spoken word collective Speakers of the Sun, members of the UMN’s own SPEAK Poetry group, and DJ Just Nine (of ZuluZuluu and more), as well as a special surprise guest or two.

FREE and open to all!
Doors open at 7:30pm


reverb-end-of-2016-web-flier#ReVerbOpenMic continues this Thursday with a focus on Simile and a pivot towards health, wellness and tools to assist participants in the upcoming Be Heard MN youth poetry slam series. Hope to see you there and THANK YOU to everyone that continues to support this space!

Special Alert: Free Writing Workshop on November 3rd, 2016
Facilitated by the Million Artist Movement
Powered by TruArtSpeaks
On Healing, Arts and Community
4:30-5:30p at Golden Thyme Cafe


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Connect with us via social media to stay abreast of events, contests, and other TruArtSpeaks opportunities!

TruArtSpeaks is a KnightArts Challenge Recipient, #10for10 + More!

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TRUARTSPEAKS TO LAUNCH SAINT PAUL YOUTH POET LAUREATE PROGRAM
Youth poet will model civic engagement through performances, education, and moreWith support in the form of a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (as part of its KnightArts Challenge), TruArtSpeaks is excited to announce the launch of the Saint Paul Youth Poet Laureate Program.

Serving youth between the ages of 16 and 24 with a current Saint Paul address, TruArtSpeaks will present a citywide spoken word competition to identify one poet to serve as the youth poet laureate of Saint Paul for one year. This young artist will receive an educational scholarship, opportunities to perform at city and community events, and mentorship from nationally-renowned artists on the TruArtSpeaks roster.

While the youth poet laureate honor can only be awarded to one poet each year, the program aims to engage many more. In keeping with the KnightArts Challenge’s mission to fund “ideas that engage and enrich St. Paul through the arts,” the Saint Paul youth poet laureate program is meant to excite, energize, and encourage young writers and performers, while also ensuring that the eventual winner can serve as a catalyst and inspiration for the next generation of youth speaking truth to power.

“Young people have so much knowledge and expertise already,” says Tish Jones, Executive Director of TruArtSpeaks (and a former “youth poet” herself). “This program will be about honoring that, while also identifying one of these dynamic young artists to really model what it means to be a leader in both an artistic sense and a broader, community-focused sense.”

“It’s clear that spoken word reigns in St. Paul,” Victoria Rogers, VP/Arts at Knight Foundation, said after TruArtSpeaks’ Tish Jones performed at the arts challenge awards event. A perfect sentiment to begin our journey of honoring poetry in Saint Paul.

Further updates and information will be posted at www.TruArtSpeaks.org.

 

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once owned newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy.


img_8053A Love Song, A Death Rattle, a Battle Cry | Book Release Event
Don’t miss your opportunity to experience this critical contribution to the literary community in MN. Not only is this Guante’s release event, it will also serve as an open mic for the community and a space to really direct spoken word, performance and the role of art in social transformation. SAVE THE DATE!


#ReVerbOpenMicreverb-end-of-2016-web-flier
We are making a major pivot towards the #BeHeard season and #ReVerbOpenMic is the place to be if you want to prepare yourself for the upcoming competition. Various themes, workshops and featured artists are all here to help prepare you for the next season! For those of you not competing, this is the perfect space to hone in on your craft! Stop by, we are here every Thursday from 6-8p!


img_8381Huge Thanks to the #10for10 Contributors!
We greatly appreciate the love and support from our beloved community of family friends. The donations that you made will drive the work forward in very meaningful ways! Your donation will support the development of a crew of emerging arts leaders, a community open mic space and the creation and publication of new works from area youth; thank you!


As always, be sure to follow us on social media to stay up to date with all things youth, poetry, Hip Hop and TruArtSpeaks!

Meet the 2016-2017 Youth Advisory Board Members!

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These are the young people powering the movement into the future as the  2016-2107 Youth Advisory Board of TruArtSpeaks and we couldn’t be more thrilled to work with such a dedicated group of individuals! Thank you to all YAB applicants and PLEASE, take some time to learn more about these masterful writers and readers below!


img_3921Fatima Camara is a 20 year old spoken word artist from Minneapolis, MN. She has been the Be Heard Program Associate for the Be Heard 2015 and 2016 team. And was a competing poet the two previous years. She at times host the Re-Verb Open mic at the Golden Thyme cafe, which was named “Best Open Mic” by CITYPAGES in 2015.

Fatima is a Southwest High School graduate, and that is where she began taking her spoken word seriously. Having been encouraged by her AVID teacher, Fatima has competed in slams and frequented many twin cities open mics. She has been fortunate enough to share stages with poets like Danez Smith, Guante, Sierra DeMulder, and more.

Currently a student at Minneapolis Community and Technical college, Fatima hopes to publish her first book in the next 3 years, and finish school to become an educator in the Minneapolis Public Schools District.

Samoa the Poet experienced his first open img_5589mic at Re-Verb Open Mic one winter Thursday. As a poet and emcee he aims to share his influence with others through art and the knowledge he has gained through his experience. Born and raised in Saint Paul, Samoa is excited for the opportunity to continue giving back to the Twin Cities community with TruArtSpeaks.


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Duncan Slagle is a performer and poet living in Minneapolis. He was a member of both the 2015 & 2016 Be Heard MN Poetry Slam Team that represented the state of Minnesota at Brave New Voices and performed during the 2016 Grand Slam Finals at the Kennedy Center. In 2015, he was announced as a winner in the YoungArts Foundation’s inaugural Spoken Word Poetry Writing & Performance category.

#10for10 Continues: A Powerful TruArtSpeaks Alumnus Testimony

My Storylucien10for10

Before I met the people associated with TruArtSpeaks and the people at BNV, I was just another kid writing poems in my notebook in my room. My journey with TruArtSpeaks began in 2013 when I first entered the Be Heard MN youth poetry slam competition. I was only 15 at the time, and couldn’t believe it when I was selected as one of the six youth poets to represent Minnesota at the international Brave New Voices (BNV) youth poetry slam and festival.

As the youngest member on the team, I took the opportunity to connect with other phenomenal artists, take in the wisdom given by mentors in the community, and work to perfect my craft. One of the poems I had written during the 2013­2014 slam season was actually picked up by Jet Magazine, as well as praised by Janis Lane­Ewart and aired on KFAI. TruArtSpeaks, including staff and teaching artists like Tish Jones, Keno Evol, Guante, Khary Jackson, and Desdamona, plus the teammates with whom I still have close relationships, are the people who taught me the power in my words. They taught me what it was to be a poet off the page. They taught me what it meant to truly embody my feelings and emotions and portray those things on stage.

One of the hardest moments in my life was the following season when I was told there was a polyp growing on my vocal chord. At that point in my life, it was clear that I was going to need vocal surgery, and doctors weren’t sure if I would be able to compete for BNV 2015. Luckily for me, I had an unbelievable support system from my TruArtSpeaks family, my parents, my girlfriend, and my best friends from the previous year. Amazingly, I came out of surgery and recovered within a few weeks in time to compete for the 2015 preliminaries. If anything, I came back stronger, wiser, and in at a much higher comfort level than I had been at before. I went on to make the team for the second year in a row, compete in Philadelphia, and help my team make semifinals.

Spoken word has and always will be a vent for me, but more importantly it has opened the doors to various new opportunities, including my now thriving Hip­Hop career. The skill set I have been able to bring to Hip Hop is rooted in the things I took from TruArtSpeaks and spoken word. One of the best career decisions I made (with help from Tish and my parents) was to apply to the University of Wisconsin Madison’s “First Wave” program. First Wave is one of the only programs in the world that offers full tuition scholarships to Hip­Hop students and I know it’s where I need to be. With even more love and support from my TruArtSpeaks family, and parents, and friends, I have been accepted into the First Wave Program, where I plan to remain until 2019. Words cannot explain the love, the gratitude, or the respect I have for Tish Jones and all the other mentors in my life that have helped me get to where I am today. Part of who I am will always be because of the unforgettable journey I had and will continue to have with TruArtSpeaks.

Lucien Parker

TruArtSpeaks is a Knight Arts Challenge Finalist, #10for10 Continues + More!

#10for10: Donate $10 NOW and Support TruArtSpeaks into the Future

Big thanks to everyone who has contributed to the #10for10 campaign thus far. We are moving closer and closer to our goal of raising $25,000 by October 15th! Your donations will directly serve:

  • The Re-Verb Open Mic
  • The Youth Advisory Board
  • The L.I.T. Program

Donate now and invest in the future writers, poets, performers and leaders in the arts field.


TruArtSpeaks is a Knight Arts Challenge Finalist!

TruArtspeaks is one of 41 arts organizations eligible for 1.5million dollars of support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for their proposal to implement a Saint Paul Youth Poet Laureate. They are amongst great company in the list of finalists – fingers crossed! Read the full article on all finalists and projects here.

Winners will be announced on October 11th, 2016.


Don’t forget to check out Re-Verb Open Mic this week at Golden Thyme Cafe from 6-8p! This week features local artist, organizer and entrepreneur, Miss Brit from the KFAI Radio program Soul Tools

 

 

 

 


Educators, Organizers & Arts Leaders: This is for you! Build bridges from the classroom to community on Oct. 1st at the U of M. Register now to secure your spot!

 

 

 


Catch us at the Powderhorn Porchfest on Saturday, September 24th!

 

 

 

 

 


You can still submit your 50 words to our Magnetic Poetry contest OR your excerpt to our Bookmark Poetry contest! Submit online! Hurry submissions close soon!


Guante is releasing a book! Catch him at one of these five locations! You don’t want to miss this!


Thanks again for all of your support! We will see you out in the community!

$10 for 10: Donate Now and Power Youth Voice into the Next Decade

Founded in 2006 by poet and organizer Tish Jones, TruArtSpeaks is in its 10th year of powering youth voice, cultivating strong communities, and creating social change in the Twin Cities. Best known for the Be Heard MN youth poetry slam series, TruArtSpeaks is home to many of the Twin Cities emerging young writers, performers, leaders, and scholars.

Over the last 10 years we have been inducted into the Brave New Voices Leadership Cohort as one of the premier organizations serving young poets in the United States, alumni have gone on to win prestigious awards and full tuition scholarships, our founder served as the Festival Director for Brave New Voices 2016 – one of the biggest youth poetry slam festivals in the world – and the list goes on, many thanks to you. None of this was possible without your support as volunteers, donors, artists, audience and friends. We are prepared to continue, exceed and expand on this legacy as we head into the next decade and we are calling on you, our family, to be the foundation and soil for our continued growth.

The $10 for 10 campaign seeks to raise $25,000 by asking 2,500 TruArtSpeaks family members to make a tax deductible donation of $10 (or more) to support:

  • The #ReVerbOpenMic – A weekly open mic space centered on dialogue, creation, presentation and community.
  • Flip the Script! – The 3rd Annual Youth Writing & Performance Conference at the Loft Literary Center
  • The L.I.T. Program – A new opportunity for young writers that focuses on the craft of page poetry and culminates in the production of a chapbook.

We are making great strides as an organization and need your support as we take this journey. Make your contribution now. Click the image below.donor-card-10-for-10-video-end


Donor Benefits

$10 TruFamily Name recognition on digital platforms
$50 – $249 TruSupporter TruFamily + a bookmark
$250 – $999 TruAdvocate TruSupporter + a Magnetic Poetry
$1000 – $2499 TruGiver TruAdvocate + Two Free Tickets to any TruArtSpeaks Event
$2499 – $9999 TruBeliever TruGiver + Two copies of The L.I.T. Program Chapbook
$10000 or more TruChampion TruBeliever + Preferred name listed on all marketing materials, website and merchandise related to Re-Verb Open Mic, The L.I.T. Program and the Youth Advisory Board

TruArtSpeaks Alum Donte Collins Awarded “Most Promising Young Poet” by Academy of American Poets

Donte Collins | Outreach Associate DonteCollins@truartspeaks.org PC: Gawolo Irving

PC: Gawolo Irving

Congratulations to Donte Collins on being awarded the “Most Promising Young Poet” Award from the Academy of American Poets! Donte has been part of the TruArtSpeaks family for years– as a Be Heard team member, Youth Advisory Board member, and all-around leader in the community– and we are thrilled that his work is being recognized both here at home and nationally.

In response to Donte’s poem, “what the dead know by heart,” Judge Toi Derricotte says:

I am amazed and thrilled by the formal sophistication and the emotional maturity of this young poet. While it is brave, and necessary, to name the names and the count the wounds of the boys who have been murdered, Donte Collins goes much deeper. He captures the trembling heart of the living boy as he walks through the world in his targeted body.

Laurie Hertzel at the Star Tribune interviewed Donte, diving deeper into his process:

Ideas for poems come to him in the morning, in the shower. “That’s where I have an entry point or an idea, or a weird collection of language,” he said. “I jot them down in my phone and I might let it sit a while and come back to it and add and add. Sometimes when I’m inspired, I’m on my feet, I have my notebook, and I’m writing a line down and I say it out loud. It’s very interactive. There’s some connection with my physical body, and me speaking the words. ‘Does it sound right? Is this what I want?’”

We can’t wait to see what comes next! Check out more from Donte here.

If you’d like to help ensure that as many young people as possible have access to the kinds of programs that create space not only for youth to create, but to grow as artists and leaders, help us power youth voice here!

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