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Students use the power of poetry to win grand slam scholarships

DALLAS POST TRIBUNE — The inaugural Dallas ISD poetry slam was nothing short of a memorable night at the Edison Learning Center as infectious energy filled the auditorium with excited students, proud parents, and supportive peers. Participating students competed for $10,000 in scholarship awards through a generous donation from business entrepreneur, Roland Parrish. His charitable contribution provides a stepping stone for kids to achieve opportunities in higher education.

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By Sharon Jones-Scaife

DALLAS — The inaugural Dallas ISD poetry slam was nothing short of a memorable night at the Edison Learning Center as infectious energy filled the auditorium with excited students, proud parents, and supportive peers.

Participating students competed for $10,000 in scholarship awards through a generous donation from business entrepreneur, Roland Parrish. His charitable contribution provides a stepping stone for kids to achieve opportunities in higher education.

More than 100 fifth-graders from 60 schools exhibited impeccable talent and literary creativity under the theme, “Me, My Community, My Future,” which challenged students to write and perform poetry related to their communities, using the power of voice and dramatic gestures to bring their words to life. Ultimately, three winners used this platform to showcase their communal visions and empowering messages with outstanding slam performances.

This competition was a collaborative effort of the Dallas ISD Reading Language Arts Department and the Racial Equity Office, which partnered with Flocabulary, to give students an opportunity to express themselves through the power of poetry.

Flocabulary artist, Ike Ramos, discussed the power behind poetry.

“Poetry is a great way to have a voice,” said Ramos. “You’re cultivating a skill that’s relatable to so many areas and opportunities in life.”

All three winners will receive their scholarship money upon high school graduation and had the opportunity to perform at the annual “Read for Me” event on Saturday, March 23, at W.H. Adamson High School, which will include a giveaway of more than 10,000 books.

Below are the scholarship recipients of the Poetry Slam:
First place ($5,000): Otto Darnell, Eduardo Mata Elementary School
Second place ($3,000): Heidi Trinidad, School for the Talented and Gifted in Pleasant Grove
Third place ($2,000): Evan Smith, Jimmie Tyler Brashear Elementary School

This article originally appeared in the Dallas Post Tribune

Art

MC Arts Gallery Opens During the Marin Open Studio

The Gallery and its website display the art of a number of Black artists which includes: TheArthur Wright, Lumumba Edwards, and Maalak Atkins. Zwanda and Mitchell Howard also display their art at the Gallery. 

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From top: Oshalla Marcus (director/curator, MC Arts & Culture) with Osiezhe’s drawings to the right of the photo, Zwanda, Mitchell Howard , ISOJI’s Art Is Health Band: Carlton Carey (drums), Mwanza Furaha, (vocals), Jack Prendergast (bass), Ricardo Moncrief (keyboard), James Moseley (guitar, vocal). Photos by Godfrey Lee.

The MC Arts Gallery, located on 100 Donahue St. in the Gateway Shopping Center in Marin City, is open during the Marin Open Studios, which took place on Saturday and Sunday, May 1 & 2. 

The Gallery and its website display the art of a number of Black artists which includes: The Arthur Wright, Lumumba Edwards, and Maalak Atkins. Zwanda and Mitchell Howard also display their art at the Gallery. 

Zwanda seeks to be creative as she expands her ideas as a sculptress and painter. She is inspired by the human figure and dancers and is fascinated with music and the instruments themselves. Her art is a way to express this love and to share it with others.

Mitchell Howard studied art at San Francisco State University and the Computer Arts Institute of San Francisco. He was an art director at Cummingham & Walsh in San Francisco and has displayed his paintings at the Hannah Gallery, worked on the Rocky Graham Park Mural and has taught art at the Martin Luther King Jr. Academy Elementary School.

“Art can bring people together and illustrate things that people can relate to,” Howard says. “Art can also be powerful in sending social messages to society. Art makes you think, it expands your horizons and makes you use your imagination. People may see different things in the same painting.”

Osiezhe, Shakira Gregory’s son, will be displaying his drawings at the Gallery.

The ISOJI’s Art Is Health Band played last Saturday afternoon with Mwanza Furaha as their guest vocalist.

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Art

City Council Approves $480,000 in Arts Grants

The city made the announcement Tuesday about the grants, which will support 772 distinct arts events and activities that will expose more than 110,000 participants to cultural programming.

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The Oakland City Council approved $480,000 in grants to 17 Oakland-based non-profit organizations and 20 individual artists through the city’s Cultural Funding Program, Neighborhood Voices.

The city made the announcement Tuesday about the grants, which will support 772 distinct arts events and activities that will expose more than 110,000 participants to cultural programming.

The grant program seeks to bring Oaklanders together to create and support a sense of belonging within a community, to foster social connections that lift people’s spirits, to encourage community well-being and offer visions for a collective future, according to the announcement.

The following individual artists each won $7,000 Neighborhood Voices awards:

Frederick Alvarado; Karla Brundage; Cristina Carpio; Darren Lee Colston; Maria De La Rosa; Elizabeth D. Foggie; Rachel-Anne Palacios; Laurie Polster; Hasain Rasheed; Kweku Kumi Rauf; Carmen Roman; Michael Roosevelt; Fernando Santos; Teofanny Octavia Saragi; Kimberly Sims-Battiste; Cleavon Smith; Lena Sok; Babette Thomas; Ja Ronn Thompson; Joseph Warner.

Each of the following organizations received $20,000 Neighborhood Voices awards:

Asian Health Services for Banteay Srei;

Beats Rhymes and Life;

Chapter 510 INK;

Dancers Group for dNaga GIRL Project;

Dancers Group for Dohee Lee Puri Arts;

Dancers Group for Grown Women Dance Collective;

East Oakland Youth Development Center;

Higher Gliffs for Endangered Ideas;

Hip Hop for Change;

Junior Center of Art and Science;

Mycelium Youth Network;

Oakland Education Fund for Youth Beat;

Oakland Theater Project, Inc.;

Sarah Webster Fabio Center for Social Justice;

The Intersection for Alphabet Rockers;

Women’s Audio Mission;

Youth Radio/YR Media.

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AHC’s ArtEsteem Program

ArtEsteem is part of AHC, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit located in West Oakland. To find out more visit ahc-oakland.org.

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This self-portrait was created by 12-year-old Leslie Callejas from Life Academy School in Oakland. As a participant in the ArtEsteem program, Leslie was guided through the art-making process; using photo references, observational drawing, and painting with watercolors. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this class was made available via distance learning under the guidance of instructor Etty Alberto. 

 

ArtEsteem offers art classes to students in underserved communities, providing a foundation in art techniques while encouraging students to self-reflect and think critically, be inspired, and expand their view of their world. ArtEsteem is part of AHC, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit located in West Oakland. To find out more visit ahc-oakland.org.

 

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