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.

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!

Black Voices at Washburn High School, #ReVerbOpenMic + More!

YAB App CallThe TruArtSpeaks Youth Advisory Board Applications are Now Open!

Are you a young person between 16-24 interested in activating your voice and leadership as a member of the TruArtSpeaks family? Then this is just the place for you! We a re looking for a group of eight young leaders from the Twin Cities area to serve as a core group of advisors on all youth programming within our organization. You would work closely with the leadership of TruArtSpeaks to serve and support:

  • Be Heard
  • Re-Verb Open Mic
  • Outreach
  • And more!

Each member of Y.A.B. will be given a small honorarium at the end of their one year term (July 2017). Visit our website to learn more about YAB, TruArtSpeaks and the opportunity to steer the work into the future. Hurry! Applications close September 16th, 2016 at 5:00p.


#ReVerbOpenMic is back and better than ever! Be sure to check out the flier and stop by Golden Thyme Cafe for one of the most community centered open mic in the Twin Cities. Previously voted “Best in the Twin Citis” by the City Pages, Re-Verb takes place every Thursday from 6-8p in the Heart of the Historic Rondo District in Saint Paul and welcomes your voice! See you there.

Oh! Don’t forget about the writing workshop every first Thursday at 4:30p!


#Power #Youth #Voice with TruArtSpeaks by submitting to our Bookmark and Magnetic Poetry contests!

We are looking for 50 word excerpts from 5 poems to print on a limited edition of TruArtSpeaks bookmarks. We welcome submissions from everyone in the TruArtSpeaks network. The winners of this contest will receive five bookmarks and a $50 honorarium! Hurry – Applications close on October 3rd, 2016 at 5:00p – winners will be announced on October 31st, 2016.

We are looking for one set of 100 words related to the mission, vision, arts and culture focus of TruArtSpeaks to transform into a set of magnetic poetry to share with the community. The winner of this contest will win five sets of the magnetic poetry collection and a $100 honorarium! We welcome submissions from everyone in the TruArtSpeaks network. Hurry– Applications close on October 3rd, 2016 at 5:00p – winners will be announced on October 31st, 2016.


TruArtSpeaks just launched a year long course, Black Voices, at Washburn High School centered on providing MPLS students an opportunity to engage with black literature, theory and poetry during the school day. This course is collaboratively taught by Molly Vasich and TruArtSpeaks alum, Keno Evol, in partnership with Washburn High School and the U of M with support from the National Writing Project.


“Are You Thirsty (Remix),” a multi-disciplinary performance theater production about the global water crisis is now touring! Starring TruArtSpeaks alum, Laresa Avent, Hasani Harris and Duncan Slagle this thought provoking production uses element son Hip Hop, Spoken Word and Puppet Theater to address one of the world’s greatest concerns. Brought to you in part by TruArtSpeaks, In the Heart of the Beast Puppet & Mask Theater and the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization, its fun, participatory and ready for a stage near you! Click here to bring this play to your school or organization!


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