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!

#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

#7UpForSocialChange #TruBelievers

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#TruBelievers

Abby Bagel

Joe Bateman

Erick Boustead

Corrine Castro

Beth Cherne

Obasi Davis

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Rebeka Dwyer-Ndosi

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Siobhan Fitzagerald

Angie Goserud

Arisa Grier

Nicholas Griffith

Cynthia Harvey

Rebbecca Hemmans

Anthony Iovinella

Milford Johnson

Stephanie Ling

Armand McCoy

Denham Mullings

James Myhre

Zachary Pierson

Mary Pekala

Melissa Rach

Leo Remke

Sara Remke

Stacy Remke

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Ladan Yusuf


#TruSupporters

Kathy Black

Kathleen Butts

Ethan Cherin

J Kimberly Flisrand

Arleta Little

Jessie Parent

Benjamin Weiss

#7UpForSocialChange

#7UpForSocialChange

Power. Youth. Voice.

Donate $7 to TruArtSpeaks to support youth development, artistic expression and social change. Together, we have the power to create quality, sustainable and safe spaces for young people to grow with one another, create positive social change and unearth, develop and share their voices! To donate MORE than $7 head to our home page NOW!

Our goal is to raise $10,000.00 by July 1st, 2015 and we need YOU – our #TruBelievers – to help us get there!

Head this way to view fellow philanthropists, #TruBelievers and investors that have powered youth voice putting #7UpForSocialChange!


The Ask: $7.00

Extra Love & Donor Levels:

#TruBelievers: Donate between $7-$99.99

#TruSupporters: Donate between $100-$999.99

#TruChampions: Donate between $1,000-$4,999.99

#TruAmbassadors: Donate between $5,000-$9,999.99

#TruAmplifiers: Donate $10,000 or more


#TruBelievers: Will have their names listed on the donor page and the campaign graphic

#TruSupporters: Receive #TruBeliever benefits and a campaign t-shirt

#TruChampions: Receive #TruSupporter benefits and two free tickets to one public TruArtSpeaks event of their choosing

#TruAmbassadors: Receive #TruChampion benefits and a personal letter of gratitude from a member of the TruArtSpeaks Youth Advisory Board

#TruAmplifiers: Receive #TruAmbassador benefits and public acknowledgment as a funder/sponsor on printed material


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