A local collective of poets who wanted to use their art to connect with and create literary and performance opportunities for local youth started the New Orleans Youth Open Mic (NOYOM) in the spring of 2014 . Despite having a vibrant pre-Katrina youth spoken word scene (including NOLA’s own Brave New Voices slam team, a youth poetry team made up of youth who compete nationally with other youth slam teams), youth poetry has yet to return to the city in the same capacity after the storm. NOYOM is our attempt at bringing it back.
Open to 7th-12th grade students in any New Orleans school, NOYOM provides a stage and space for young people to explore themselves as writers, to share their writing and experiences with peers, and to support one another in their artistic endeavors. NOYOM currently takes place on the 3rd Wednesday of every month in the Lavin Bernick Student Center of Tulane University. We currently have partnerships with the Tulane Black Student Union who provide us with free space to host our monthly shows and the New Orleans Public Library who set up tables with free books and reading materials for all students in attendance at the open mics.
This year, NOYOM would like to expand our programming and create additional partnerships in order to provide more opportunities for local youth including, but not limited to:
-Writing and Performance workshops for youth taught by local teaching artists
-The establishment of Spoken Word Clubs in local high schools who currently do not have them
-The re-creation of a Brave New Voices youth slam team to represent New Orleans on the national youth spoken word scene
NOYOM has the capacity to impact youth in New Orleans in multiple ways by providing them a space outside of an academic context to explore writing and themselves as young persons. The workshops and additional programming that this grant would make possible would go a long way in assuring that NOYOM develops from being just an open mic.
Funded by New Orleans, LA (October 2014)