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Spring 2011 Conversations Series

Organized and curated by Arts Mentoring Fellows, Emmy Bright and Kedrin Frias, New Urban Arts is excited to announce the Spring 2011 Conversation Series on Creative Practice. The fourth annual series of public Conversations will be held on Thursdays in March and April from 7:00-9:00pm at our community art studio, 743 Westminster Street in Providence. Free and Open to the Public.

March 31: The Role of Youth Voice and Creativity in Education Reform 
From Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberbg’s 100 million dollar gift to the Newark Public schools, to the rapid expansion of charter schools to policy interventions like Race to the Top, education equity has attracted perhaps unprecedented mainstream media attention. Unfortunately, absent from our national dialogue are the critical roles that creativity, the arts and youth voice have to play in transforming American education for the better. Executive Director Jason Yoon, a former elementary school art teacher, museum educator and New Urban Arts artist mentor, will explore this further in conversation with CJ Jimenez and other New Urban Arts alumni. CJ is the Chair of New Urban Arts’ Studio Team Advisory Board and currently spending her post-graduation year pursuing her interest in organic and sustainable farming techniques at Farmacy Herbs in Providence, R.I. and Sandy Beach Farm in Cumberland, R.I. She hopes to attend College of the Atlantic to study art and ecology in the upcoming school year.

April 7: People, Place, and Power in Providence
Over the last ten years, the work of artists, activists and scholars in Providence has been incorporated into a rhetoric of “creative city building.” Join a conversation funded in part by the Rhode Island Council For the Humanities, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, with founders and current leaders from AS220, New Urban Arts, Community MusicWorks, and the Steel Yard. Address questions of organizational origin stories, place-making, access to resources, relationships to powerful institutions and visioning.

April 14: Dance as Activism 
A conversation and workshop with Paloma MacGregor, dancer, choreographer and educator from New York, has toured internationally for five years with the critically acclaimed Urban Bush Women dance company, and is currenty dancing in with Liz Lerman Dance Exchange and Burnt Sugar/DANZ collective. She co-founded Angela’s Pulse, a collaborative performing arts company, with her sister, director Patricia McGregor. The world premier of Blood Dazzler, their latest work, had a sold-out run at Harlem Stage in September 2010. Paloma is currently developing Building a Better Fishtrap, a project about water, memory and home.

April 21: Breathing Praxis: Humanizing the Rhetoric of Leadership
A conversation with Anna West and Michael Cirelli, poets and educators at the front of the youth led spoken word movement share their understandings of what makes a space generative for teens. They also describe their personal leadership strategies for organizing communities of writers. Anna West is founder of WordPlay, a spoken word programming in Baton Rouge, LA, co-founder of Louder Than a Bomb in Chicago, the largest teen poetry festival of its kind in the country, and currently is a candidate for M.Ed in Arts in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Michael Cirelli is the Executive Director of Urban Word NYC, director of the Annual Spoken Word & Hip-Hop Teacher & Community Leader Training Institute at the University of Wisconsin, author of the award-winning teaching guide, Hip-Hop Poetry & the Classics and recently published a book of poems about MTV’s The Jersey Shore.