Announcing the 2017 Saint Paul Youth Poet Laureate + MN Original Feature + More Big News

On May 19, in front of a standing-room only crowd at Saint Paul’s Black Dog Cafe, ten brilliant young poets shared their work at the inaugural Saint Paul Youth Poet Laureate Slam, funded with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (as part of its KnightArts Challenge). The work was challenging, beautifully-crafted, and bold, and we thank all of the poets who performed, as well as the audience who showed up to support youth voice.

We are thrilled to announce Donte Collins as the inaugural Saint Paul Youth Poet Laureate! Donte will now receive mentorship from nationally-renowned poet (and Saint Paul native) Danez Smith, engage in performances and civic engagement opportunities throughout the year, and inspire other young people to tell their stories, raise their voices, and be heard. Read more about Donte here, and check out a gallery of photos from the event here.


Be Heard Featured on MN Original

Check out this beautiful feature story on Twin Cities Public Television’s MN Original series, highlighting the Be Heard process and a handful of the 2017 participants!

 


Save the Date: The 2017 Be Heard Send Off: June 25

Every year, the final six poets from the Be Heard series engage in an intense process of writing, collaborating, and rehearsing, from April until July. The Send Off is an opportunity for their supporters, peers,and fans to witness the product of their work live, before the team heads off to the Brave New Voices slam and festival to represent MN. The Send Off is also a great opportunity for our entire community to just celebrate and build with each other.

This year’s sendoff will take place at the historic Capri Theater in Minneapolis, on Saturday, June 24. Reserve your tickets now!


Black Voices Final Showcase: May 31

All semester, Washburn High School’s Black Voices class has been working with TruArtSpeaks founder, Executive Director, and teaching artist Tish Jones. Integrating Black literature, theory, and poetry into their own experiences and expression, the class presents their final performance in Washburn’s Black Box Theater on Wednesday, May 31.


More Opportunities to Connect: ReVerb, Commons Workshops, and Brave New Schools!

For anyone out there interested in finding a space to share their work, learn more about what TruArtSpeaks does, or just express themselves, a few upcoming opportunities:

  • The ReVerb Open Mic is still going strong, every Thursday night from 6-8pm at Golden Thyme Cafe in Saint Paul. Huge shout out to host Armand McCoy, and the whole ReVerb community. Swing through to share a piece (the open mic is free and all-ages), dialogue with others, or just watch!
  • TruArtSpeaks teaching artist Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre will be facilitating a monthly summer spoken word workshop at the Commons in Minneapolis. Find the dates, plus more info, here.
  • Brave New Schools is a collaboration between Youth Speaks and XQ: The Super School Institute that powers a national, open, online competition and a series of 20 town halls where young people share their poems, stories, and dreams to reimagine public high school. Youth between 13 and 24 can submit a video of original work to be considered for up to $4000 in scholarships. Deadline is June 18! More info here


Thank You for Continuing to Power Youth Voice!

TruArtSpeaks is a people-powered organization, and we are beyond grateful for all of the incredible people in our community. If you’d like to join the cypher and help us power youth voice, consider making a tax-deductible donation today!

Announcing the Inaugural Saint Paul Youth Poet Laureate Finalists

This year, with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (as part of its KnightArts Challenge), TruArtSpeaks launched the inaugural Saint Paul Youth Poet Laureate program. The program seeks to identify one Saint Paul poet between the ages of 16 and 24 to serve as the Saint Paul Youth Poet Laureate for a year. That young artist will receive mentorship from nationally-renowned poet (and Saint Paul native) Danez Smith, engage in performances and civic engagement opportunities throughout the year, and inspire other young people to tell their stories, raise their voices, and be heard.

The submission process is now closed! Thank you to our incredible panel of judges (Khary Jackson, Desdamona, Danez Smith, Kyle Tran Myhre, and Duncan Slagle) and congratulations to this year’s finalists:

  • Henry Benjamin
  • Samoa the Poet
  • Chavah Gabrielle
  • Armand McCoy
  • Cynthia Zapata
  • Donte Collins
  • Talia Young
  • Karinna Gerhardt
  • Lindsay Schaefer
  • Xavier Columbus

All of the finalists will perform their work at a poetry slam on Friday, May 19 at the Black Dog Cafe in Saint Paul at 7pm. This competition will decide who will serve as this year’s Saint Paul Youth Poet Laureate; don’t miss it!

 

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.


National Poetry Month: The ReVerb Open Mic and Instagram 30/30

ReVerb is still the place to be for a weekly opportunity to share your work, listen to others, and build community. This free, all ages open mic goes down every Thursday from 6-8pm at Golden Thyme Cafe in Saint Paul. Share whatever you’re feeling, or take part in one of the weekly theme/form challenges. Also, don’t forget about the workshop on every first Thursday of the month at 4:30pm.

TruArtSpeaks has also been posting writing prompts to help propel anyone trying to do a “30 poems in 30 days” National Poetry Month writing challenge. If you find yourself stuck, or are just looking for a little inspiration, check them all out here.


The Endowment Recap: A Beautiful Night of Hip Hop and Community

On April 15 at Icehouse in Minneapolis, some of the leading lights of the Minnesota Hip Hop community came together to both raise money for TruArtSpeaks and celebrate the birthday of the organization’s founder and Executive Director, Tish Jones. From the legend, I Self Devine, to up-and-coming artists like BdotCroc and Dem Atlas, to longtime friends and allies K.Raydio, Guante, and Crescent Moon, the stage featured one unforgettable performance after another. Host Danez Smith and DJ Kool Akiem held us down all night long, and b-boy crews Deadpool and MN Real showcased once again the spirit and vitality of Hip Hop culture. THANK YOU to everyone who performed, and to everyone who came out to support. Let’s do it again. Photos coming soon.

We’ve got a lot more on the horizon! Keep in touch: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr.

RECAP: The 2017 Be Heard MN Youth Poetry Slam Series FINALS

Thank you. For the fifth year in a row, the Be Heard MN Youth Poetry Slam Series Finals bout was an unforgettable testament to the talent, wisdom, and power of Minnesota youth.

Performing in front of a SOLD OUT McGuire theater (in the Walker Art Center), the final 12 poets from the series left it all on the stage, sharing their stories, their opinions, their values, and their art. It was an evening of deeply personal work, fearlessly political work, adventurous and surprising work, and honest work.

The final six: Lana, Armand, Harun, Amir, Asher, and Katherine!

When the dust settled, the top six (in no particular order) were Armand, Asher, Katherine, Lana, Amir, and Harun. Now, these six poets will form the 2017 Be Heard cohort, both engaging in performances and civic engagement opportunities throughout the state, and representing Minnesota at the 2017 Brave New Voices Youth Poetry Slam and Festival in San Francisco this July.

Thank you to the Walker, especially Walker Teen Arts Program (WACTAC). Thank you to the media present– from our partners Ubuntu Media and Uche Iroegbu, to Twin Cities Public Television and KRSM radio.

Thank you to our judges: Carolyn Holbrook, Neil Hilborn, Dua Saleh, Andrea Jenkins, and Rodrigo Sanchez-Chavarria, all incredible, inspiring artists. Thank you to our DJ: DJ Just Nine. Thank you to our host as well: the incomparable Danez Smith.

Thank you to our feature, Tony the Scribe, as well as both of our sacrificial poets– both Isha Camara and Simone Williams qualified to compete, but had to drop out of the competition due to schedule conflicts arising from their getting accepted into the First Wave program at UW-Madison. They’ll be joining current TruArtSpeaks youth advisory board member (and former Be Heard team member) Duncan Slagle at UW this Fall, and the whole TruArtSpeaks family is both honored to have worked with them and excited to witness what comes next.

Thank you to all of the staff, volunteers, youth advisory board members, and everyone who simply pitched in to help make the event (and the whole series) happen. Thanks to all of the parents, guardians, teachers, and community supporters who continue to power youth voice through their donations, their support, their mentorship, and their applause.

Finally, thank you to the poets. When we say “the point is not the points, the point is the poetry,” we mean it, and we know you do too. Thank you for your bravery, your perspective, and your heart. Let’s keep building.

Check out this slideshow for just a taste of how it all went down. All photos by Uche Iroegbu:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

The #BeHeard17 FINALS Bout is Here! Reserve Your Tickets Now!

Through five preliminary bouts and two wild semifinal rounds, Minnesota poets between the ages of 13 and 19 told their stories, shared their art, and reaffirmed the importance of speaking up and speaking out, now more than ever. On March 25, at the Walker Art Center’s McGuire Theater, the final twelve poets will perform their most powerful work, competing for a chance to join the 2017 Be Heard Cohort and represent Minnesota at the 20th Annual Brave New Voices youth poetry slam festival this July in San Francisco, CA.

Organized by TruArtSpeaks, the Be Heard series is about celebrating—and respecting—youth voice. Regardless of who the final six poets are, “the points are not the point; the point is the poetry.” Poetry slams are competitions, but they’re also spaces in which young people can tell their stories and speak out on the issues that matter to them. For five years in a row, Minnesota youth have risen to that challenge, and Finals 2017 promises to be an unforgettable night of poetry, protest, and possibility.

Event Details:
Saturday, March 25 at the Walker Art Center’s McGuire Theater
6:30pm Doors, 7pm Show.
$7 for Students and Walker members, $10 for Adults
Reserve your tickets now!

Submit Now for Your Chance to Become the First Saint Paul Youth Poet Laureate!

With support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (as part of its Knight Arts Challenge), TruArtSpeaks is excited to announce that submissions are now open for the Saint Paul Youth Poet Laureate Program.

The contest is open to youth between the ages of 16 and 24 with a current Saint Paul address and a passion for poetry, community and social change. The contest’s winner will be mentored by award-winning poet Danez Smith for one full year, produce a chapbook of original work, and more.

Interested youth should submit three work samples in a pdf file via this form. 

Submissions* deadline is March 31, 2017, at 11:59pm.

From those written submissions, five judges will select ten poets (announced on April 24, 2017) to compete in a live performance of their work at Saint Paul’s Black Dog Café on May 19, 2017 at 7pm. The winner of that poetry slam will be the first Saint Paul Youth Poet Laureate.

*Submissions do not need to be the same poems that you plan to compete with should you advance into the competition. Submissions should be the best representation of your work as a writer and engaged member of society.

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.

 

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About the Poet Mentor

Danez Smith is a Black, queer, poz writer & performer from St. Paul, MN. Danez is the author of Don’t Call Us Dead (Graywolf Press, 2017) and [insert] boy (YesYes Books, 2014), winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry, and the John C. Zacharis Award from Ploughshares. Danez is also the author of two chapbooks, black movie (2015, Button Poetry), winner of the Button Poetry Prize, and hands on your knees (2013, Penmanship Books). They are the recipient of fellowships from the Poetry Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, and is a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow. Danez’s work has been featured widely including in on Buzzfeed, Blavity, PBS NewsHour, and on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. They are a 2-time Individual World Poetry Slam finalist, 3-time Rustbelt Poetry Slam Champion, and a founding member of the Dark Noise Collective

 

Are You Ready for the #BeHeard17 Kick Off?!

Are You Ready for the #BeHeard17 Kick Off?!

This Saturday, at 7:00p at the Black Dog Cafe in Saint Paul, we launch into a season of heart wrenching, thoughtful and eloquent poetry by young Minnesotans – will you be there!

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. As always, “the points are not the point; the point is the poetry!”

For poets interested in registering for #Beheard17, there is still time! Click here to sign up for an upcoming preliminary bout!

Find additional ways to get involved at www.TruArtSpeaks.org, and on social media: @TruArtSpeaks. The hashtag for the series is #BeHeard17. _____________________________________________________________

Mark Your Calendars: TruArtSpeaks presents “Rose Gold” written and performed by Zhalarina Sanders at 7:00p on Saturday February 18th, 2017 at Pillsbury House Theater!

Through the mediums monologue, poetry, and rap, Rose Gold recounts the tragedy of black motherhood and the glory of its daughters. This one-person play explores the relations of black women in light of traumas old and new. Bobbie- Marilyn is a mother. It is her most painful reality. Consumed with guilt, she is determined to correct a mistake from her past, realizing that there may be greater obstacles in the way of this than her own sister.

This special, one-night-only showing of “Rose Gold” is tied to TruArtSpeaks’ “Flip the Script!” conference the following day, where Sanders will be working with MN teen poets and guarantees a packed house! Reserve your tickets now! _____________________________________________________________

Are you a youth poet interested in simply sharpening your skills in a community filled with your peers? The #FTS3 is for you!
The 3rd annual Flip the Script! Writing & Performance conference is a space for young writers to zero in on craft and presentation. Sign up now! 

 

 

 

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 #ReVerbOpenMic promises to be filled with high poetic energy in the coming weeks. Featuring poets, excess and singers like Alicia Steele, Donte Collins and BDotCroc with attendees such as yourself! This is going to be a great season!
See you at Golden Thyme Cafe from 6-8p every Thursday! _____________________________________________________________

 #ReVerbOpenMic is back in full effect for 2017 and brings to you a NEW HOST! Please welcome Armand McCoy, TruArtSpeaks and #BeHeard program alumnus to the open mic family!

Born in March of 98, Armand Fenelon McCoy is an 18 year old Poet based in Minnesota. Growing up in the midway area of Saint Paul, he attended French Immersion for 7 years, where his first writings emerged as rhyming poems and fast paced short stories. Having always been interested in the arts, Armand picked up the violin in elementary school, played for 3 few years, then switched to the piano, and has been practicing Blues and Jazz piano since. Throughout his life,  he’s expanded his writing style to the realms of hip/hop lyrics and raps, mythopoeic works, prose, slam, and many other established forms of poetry. Armand ventured into the local poetry scene in 2012 when he started performing at open mics in the twin cities. He became involved with TruArtSpeaks through the Soul Sounds Open Mic, (Now the Re-Verb Open Mic) and was drawn to their programs, including their slam series.

He competed in the 2015 Be Heard MN Poetry Slam Series and made a team, that went on to represent Minnesota at the Brave New Voices National Poetry Festival, which took place in Atlanta GA that year. Minnesota placed 3rd at Semi-Finals, and Armand was even selected to perform a piece on the finals stage as the sacrificial poet of the night. He has since started a year long internship with TruArtSpeaks, and looks forward to participating in their slam series again this January. Other plans for the near future involve releasing a chapbook, a mixtape, and staying active in the streets. _____________________________________________________________

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As always, connect with us on social media via @truartspeaks and we will see you at an event!

Give the Gift of Poetry: Donate, Volunteer and Be Heard!

Be the Reason this Season of Be Heard Impacts Youth Across the State of MN: Donate Now

Every ending brings about a new beginning and the close of the year is no different. As we reflect on the significant social, political and arts based events of 2016 we make a major pivot towards one of the most inspiring events in our community, the Be Heard MN youth poetry slam series. Young people throughout the sate are sharpening their pencils, typing long into the evening and rehearsing diligently for the upcoming series in hopes to join the cohort of youth representing MN as the #BeHeard17 cohort.
 
Last but not least, not only did we expand our reach to include a preliminary bout in Duluth, MN, we have significantly restructured the program; six brilliant young writers will still attend Brave New Voices as representatives of the larger youth poetry community in MN while simultaneously serving as ambassadors in our local community under the mentorship of Khary Jackson and Kyra Calvert and the TruArtSpeaks team through the end of 2017. 
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Meet the Coaches! 

Kyra Crawford Calvert is a silver-tongued time traveler who catalogs the lessons of her navigation through script[ure]. Her soul-mission is to water the Seed of Divinity ever present in herself and her fellows, especially those with skin from crimson to midnight. Kyra is a 2016 Givens Foundation for African American Literature Writers’ Fellow and received the VERVE Grant for Spoken Word Poets via Intermedia Arts in 2014. Urban Griots nominated her ‘Best New Spoken Word Artist of the Year’ in 2008, and her essay work is featured in Blues Vision: African American Writing from Minnesota. She also performs as DJ Black Fish Gold and can be heard on Desdamona’s latest record No Man’s Land.

Khary Jackson is a performance poet, playwright, dancer and musician.  A Detroit native, he currently resides in the Twin Cities where he serves as a teaching artist and writer.  He is a Cave Canem Fellow, and has further reasons to love black people.  He has written 12 full length plays, one of which (Water) was produced in 2009 at Ink and Pulp Theatre in Chicago.  He has been a recipient of several grants, including the 2010 Artist Initiative Grant for poetry from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the 2009 VERVE Spoken Word Grant from Intermedia Arts, and the Many Voices Residency from the Playwrights’ Center, in 2005-06 and 2007-08.  As a performance poet, he has enjoyed great success in national competition, ranking nationally in 2007, 2008 and 2009, as well as winning the National Poetry Slam with the St Paul team in 2009 and 2010.  But few of us really care about all that.  He’s a little weird, but rest assured, there’s a method to the way he stares into your house. ______________________________________________________________

Click here to make a tax deductible donation in support of #BeHeard17 and TruArtSpeaks ______________________________________________________________

Write to Be Heard is Happening Right Now!!! Be sure to stop by and warm your pens before the first preliminary bout. The internet phenom Guante will be leading each workshop, don’t miss your opportunity to learn from one of the greatest writers of our time!

The 3rd Annual Flip the Script Conference is just around the corner as well;Register Here!

Interested in volunteering e-mail info@truartspeaks.org

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Get Your #BeHeard17 Swag!

Order your swag early and get it for a reduced rate!

Hoodies: $35.00

T-Shirt: $15.00

Purchase Here
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Remember, #ReVerbOpenMic is on break until January 5th, 2017. See you all in the New Year!

 

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
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On Healing, Arts and Community
4:30-5:30p at Golden Thyme Cafe


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