Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Chance

Tonight, as I relayed stories of the program to my dearest teacher, mentor and friend I found myself saying a simple phrase.

"For me, it's about giving them a chance"

That's it. To provide opportunities, different paths and choices to those who otherwise may have never experienced such things. It can be the most minute change or revelation that occurs, but just a chance to experience it is all that matters.

I found myself realizing the hardships of the Detroit community and contemplating ways to create change - to offset the balance and allow new growth to occur.

So here it is: I have found citizens and artists in the Detroit area who are open and dedicated to helping, and making a difference. We will continue bringing arts programming to the youth of Detroit. We will give them a chance

Sunday, July 12, 2009

It sinks in: some Reflections

I sit, listening to Slavic Soul Party and reading Marianne Williamson, and for the first time the quote hits, sinks in and I feel that I have truly been liberated from my own fears.

I now realize that by doing so and acting/being comfortable with myself, I gave the youth at HCCS permission to do the same.

They taught me life lessons in understanding and patience. I am full of and bursting with love.

The safety, support and openness I felt with the team allowed full expression of emotions and thoughts. Something I feel and hope we taught and encouraged in the youth and our audiences.

What a remarkable week of performances,
of growth,
of love,
patience, excitement, laughter, shouts, dancing, a few tears and warm hugs,
overwhelming encouragement.

I have a new lease on art, life and existence.

I have no doubt in my mind that we are powerful creatures of change and have set wheels in motion.

Life is blessed.

Our Final Day

With a final day of sharing, our time with the students came to an end.

I was flooded with emotions as each person expressed a wish to stay in contact and sealed it with a hug. There were last minute questions, jokes and smiles but the hardest part was everyone's bit of sadness at the fact that the end of a week full of fun, experience and growth was coming to a close.
At 3:00 the male youth we had been working with joined us outside to watch and wave as our car pulled out.

At least it is not goodbye, but a break in time before we are back with new ideas, perspectives and inspiration!

And with parting words from a student who let us know that "we're cool", I know we'll be back!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit

The CAID, as it is often referred to is a small, unassuming building that welcomingly housed our Thursday performance.

When one steps inside, the space (that from the outside could go unnoticed) opens up to reveal its intricate art pieces and performance space. The backyard area is populated with graffiti art that gives messages of hope and change to an area that truly needs it!

This is the atmosphere we performed in! It was wonderful. The audience was full of citizens that wanted to support the arts and with those that were simply were curious.

Afterwards we spent time mingling with everyone in the building and enjoying the people of Detroit!
They really are magnificent people and characters!
Thursday with the ladies included a short collaborative performance of spoken word and dance by Carolyn and Bree to "I rise" by Mya Angelou, followed by exploration of words, sounds and movements that share the same ideas.

We worked on poetry, vocal coaching and dance as we prepared for Friday's sharing.

Their work is touching, encouraging and eye-opening.

The boys spent the afternoon, warming up with games then listening to music played by Alli and making associations (either visual or verbal). In groups, we wrote, played some improv acting games and discussed art.

The words of wisdom that are spoken by the students puts me in awe and pushes me to continue creating and trying to make a difference!

Did I mention that both groups learned and enjoyed Forsythe Improv?! :)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


A day of opening up.

When I look back, the stories from Wednesday came from the youth. I learned on Wednesday, I learned patience and listening, I learned of difficult pasts and lives and more importantly the self-reflection and knowledge that accompany them.

As I left, my emotions were mixed/complex/draining... but deep, caring love and happiness grew from it. This is a great place to be!

That night, dinner in Greek-town and the fireworks were a celebration of the bursting, open hearts we had experienced and grown!