You(th) Lead the Charge!

Anders Billund-PhibbsYou(th) Lead the Charge!

Your voice, your leadership, your council – TruArtSpeaks is looking for a dedicated group of critical thinkers and leaders to guide us into the future. As a member of the Youth Advisory Board (YAB) you will advise, organize, and promote the organization and its vision. Because TruArtSpeaks is an organization founded on principles of shared power and youth voice, the YAB is an essential component of the work that we do, providing a clear pathway from spectator to participant to organizer to leader. All applicants must be between the ages of 16-24 years old.

Click Here to Apply! The Application period has been extended and will close on March 15th, 2015 at 11:59p.

Semi-Final Flier - Hi ResBe Heard MN Youth Poetry Slam Series Semi-Final Bouts are among us! It is time to for youth voice to reign, ring and reverberate all throughout the Twin Cities as we continue our journey to identify six brilliant young poets to represent MN at Brave New Voices 2015.

Semi-final bout #1 will take place on March 6th, 2015 at 6:00p at Intermedia Arts.

Semi-final bout #2 will take place on March 14th, 2015 at 6:00p at the Rarig Center Theater at the U of M – TC Campus.

Head this way for more info!


Flip the Script! was a page turning, mind blowing, heart gripping day full of YOUR GENIUS! Thank you for sharing it with us – we are honored to witness your intellect. Can’t wait for next year! Thank you again to The Loft Literary Center and David Mura for all of their support and generosity. Here is a photographic recap of the days events!!!

Flip the Script! A Youth Writing & Performance Conference

Flip the Script!Flip the Script! A Youth Writing & Performance Conference will take place at the Loft Literary Center on Sunday, February 21st, 2015 from 12-5p. Young writers between the ages of 13-19 will have an opportunity to work with Minnesota’s premiere arts educators, writers and performers while also receiving valuable information about college opportunities and professional development in the arts field. Register here and see below for a detailed agenda for the day.

Flip the Script! A Youth Writing & Performance Conference comes jam packed with food, performances, a panel discussion, workshops and more! Choose from one of two tracks as your learning community for the day and prepare to have your mind blown!

Flip the Script!

12:00p – Registration & Light Refreshments

12:15p – Welcome from TruArtSpeaks & the Loft Literary Center

12:25p – Performances & Panel Discussion // “Slam Poetry: What’s the Point?” moderated by Tish Jones

  • Featuring: Laresa Avent, Hieu Minh Nguyen and Saymoukda Vongsay

1:25p – Breakout for Workshops

1:30p – Workshops:

  • Writing & Performance Track // “Spoken Word & the Ancient Art of Storytelling: Finding Yourself In and Through Your Poems” – with See More Perspective
  • Professional Development Track // “Spoken Word Outside of Slam: Building and Managing Your Career” – with Guante

2:30p – Break

2:45p – Workshops

  • Writing & Performance Track // “Getting Elemental: Breaking Down the Separate Elements of Performance” – with Khary Jackson aka 6 is 9
  • Professional Development Track // “Life After Be Heard and BNV” with Danez Smith & Tish Jones

3:45p – Break

4:00p – Closing Seminar

4:30p – Dinner, Community Building and Reflection

5:00p -Conference Close

Laresa HeadshotLaresa Avent is a two time Be Heard MN slam team winner and avid writer. Her work has been published in two chapbooks, Future Calls (TruArtSpeaks 2014) and For Closure (TruArtSpeaks 2014). Graduate of Southwest High School in Minneapolis, Avent is a natural born leader who helped the Southwest Spoken Word club blossom into the student led model of critical self expression that it is today. A singer, model and dedicated member of her community, Laresa is a poet on the rise – look out.


PC: Michelle Tacheny

PC: Michelle Tacheny

 Hieu Minh Nguyen is a poet, author, and performer. He was born and raised in Saint Paul, Minnesota, by a single, Vietnamese-American, mother. He is the author of This Way to the Sugar (Write Bloody Press, 2014). Hieu is a Kundiman fellow, a recipient of the VERVE grant from Intermedia Arts, and a recipient of the Minnesota Emerging Writers’ Grant from The Loft Literary Center. His work has also appeared or is forthcoming in publications such as The Journal, PANK, Anti-, Muzzle, decomP, Indiana Review, and other journals. He also works at a haberdashery.





Saymoukda Vongsay I’m a poet, playwright, and creative fiction writer who enjoys miscombinations. I believe in doing everything a little abnormally and dislike to be placed in tiny boxes. In 1981 I was born in a Thai refugee camp to the daughter of a Lao provincial governor and the son of a hard-working farmer. The nurse that delivered me was rocking out on her walkman the entire time. Maybe that’s why all of my favorite memories are triggered by songs. I’ve been a poet since I can remember. My composition notebooks were my confessionals. Sometimes I recite my poetry from memory with flair and people tell me I’m a spoken word poet. Truth-telling time: my hands sweat every time I approach the mic.   

In 2009 I co founded The Unit Collective of Emerging Playwrights of Color. As part of the collective’s monthly Madness Series, 8 of my flash plays had stage readings at The Playwrights’ Center and Yellowtail Sashimi (a flash play about “asianphilia” and “sisterhood”) was featured as part of the collective’s production at the 2010 MN Fringe Theater Festival. I co wrote The Cooking Show con Karimi and Comrades that premiered at the Asian Artist Initiative in Philadelphia (2012). My first full-length play, Kung Fu Zombies vs Cannibals (KFZ), as part of the Jerome Foundation/Mu Performing Arts’ New Performance Program had a world premiere in October 2013 at the Southern Theater in Minneapolis. It debuted to high acclaim and was named “Best Production of 2013” by L’Etoile Magazine. 

That’s dope, right?

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