I will provide 12 two-hour classes to 10 high-school students from Esperanza Academy in an after-school setting, centering their artistic work on the themes of gentrification, joy and community. I am currently working to produce and perform in a play called MinorityLand (October 2019), a powerful exploration of a community undergoing gentrification in North Philadelphia. I want students to connect to this theme through art-making and community engagement. During the classes, I will work to build relationships between students and MinorityLand’s production team, giving youth the opportunity to experience theater from behind the scenes.
With my support, students will do research around gentrification. They will read MinorityLand and discuss the themes in the play. In response, they will create poetry, photography and use other arts mediums to find joy in, celebrate, and connect to their surrounding community. Students will then collectively curate a show of their work to be displayed in the lobby space outside their school’s theater, Teatro Esperanza, where MinorityLand will be performed.
My goals for this project are to:
Give youth a platform to talk about their neighborhoods;
Educate youth on who makes decisions locally;
Support youth in researching gentrification experiences around race and social class;
Engage youth in a creative journey to produce artwork around local gentrification;
Help youth have dynamic collaborative discussions and supportive experiences with their peers;
Help youth learn to advocate for their artistic visions and share their perspectives publicly;
Provide a platform for youth to tell their stories and listen to others’;
Pay youth for their time and expertise;
Give youth the opportunity to sell their artwork.
I have worked with community youth in the past while producing other plays in the area, and I am committed to amplifying youth voices and providing them with a platform to express themselves.
Funded by Philadelphia, PA (May 2019)