Performing arts program supports LGBTQ youth of color on Dec. 17

Seattle Parks and Recreation in partnership with the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute invite the community to the “Bearing Witness” showcase featuring performances by LGBTQ youth of color and their friends, on Wednesday, Dec. 17 at 7 p.m., (doors open at 6:45 p.m.). Langston Hughes Performing Art Institute is located at 104 17th Ave. S at E Yesler Way in Seattle. Attendance is free, and the show is about 90 minutes in length.

The showcase serves as a finale to the 2014 Bearing Witness sessions, a program for queer youth of color, friends and allies up to age 22 to express themselves through dance, music, spoken word, and other performing arts to name, explore, express, and celebrate who they are as lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender, questioning (LGBTQ) individuals, as people of color, and as youth.

Youth involved with the Bearing Witness program participated in weekly sessions at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, where they received free mentoring from a team of performing arts professionals.

The mission of Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute (LHPAI) is to celebrate, nurture, present and preserve African American and Diaspora performing arts and cultural legacies, and to preserve the African American aesthetic. By pursuing its mission, LHPAI is an agent of systemic change by providing opportunities for performing artists of color to present their authentic images and voice, to engage the rich artistic aesthetics of the African American and Diaspora legacies and to provide audiences of all colors the opportunity to experience and celebrate these artists and legacies. Please visit www.langstoninstitute.org to learn more.

For more information, please contact Rodney Greene at 206-295-5218 or rodney.greene@seattle.gov or visit www.facebook.com/QuareArts.

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Performing arts program supports LGBTQ youth of color on Sept. 24

Seattle Parks and Recreation and the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute invite the community to a mentor showcase for “Bearing Witness” on Wednesday, Sept. 24 at 4 p.m., (doors open at 3:45 p.m.) Langston Hughes Performing Art Institute is located at 104 17th Ave. S at E Yesler Way in Seattle. The mentor showcase features performances from and an introduction to the mentoring team.

The showcase serves as an introduction to the fall session of Bearing Witness, a program for queer youth of color, friends and allies up to age 22 to express their authentic voice through dance, music, spoken word, and other performing arts to name, explore, express, and celebrate who they are as lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender, questioning (LGBTQ) individuals, as People of Color, and as youth.

Youth involved with the Bearing Witness program participate in weekly sessions each Wednesday from 3:30 to 6 p.m. at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, where they receive free mentoring from a team of performing arts professionals. The program culminates with a youth showcase performance on Dec. 17, for which the participants receive a $50 stipend.

The mission of Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute (LHPAI) is to celebrate, nurture, present and preserve African American and Diaspora performing arts and cultural legacies, and to preserve the African American aesthetic. By pursuing its mission, LHPAI is an agent of systemic change by providing opportunities for Performing Artists of Color to present their authentic images and voice, to engage the rich artistic aesthetics of the African American and Diaspora legacies and by providing audiences of all colors the opportunity to experience and celebrate these artists and legacies. Please visit www.langstoninstitute.org to learn more.

For more information, please contact Rodney Greene at 206-295-5218 or rodney.greene@seattle.gov.

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Bearing Witness: LGBTQ youth of color take center stage

Performers after the Bearing Witness showcase last June.

 

Seattle Parks is on a mission – a mission to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) teens of color have the same opportunities for self-expression that other kids do.

Randy Wiger, who runs Seattle Parks and Recreation’s Parks Commons Program, believes that LGBTQ teens and LGBTQ Youth of Color have fewer choices to participate in programs and services because they don’t feel safe in most traditional programs. And the data says he’s right.

A 2011 Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network survey showed that 59% of students statewide reported hearing racist comments.  Ninety percent reported hearing homophobic remarks.  Ninety-four percent of students reported hearing the word “gay” used in a negative way.

Schools are considered as safe spaces when students aren’t caused physical harm.

“But does that make them emotionally safe?” Wiger asked.

Seattle Parks and Recreation with Wiger’s guidance is exploring that question. Community centers have had programing specifically for girls, boys, teens and Youth of Color for years, but until recently, none were focused on LGBTQ Teens or on LGBTQ Youth of Color.

“How many LGBTQ teens are picking and choosing programs based on how safe they feel in that environment?” Wiger said. “Our thinking is that we should engage this population — especially in forward-thinking Seattle, and especially in Parks and Recreation where we encounter so many young people.”

In partnership with Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, Wiger launched the Seattle Quare Arts Project last spring and hired Recreation Leader Rodney Greene to assist.

The word “quare” means excellence and identifies exceptional and remarkable experiences and individuals. The Seattle Quare Arts Project encourages LGBTQ Youth of Color to be the best persons they can be. It’s a mentored performing arts program that provides assistance in designing and implementing performing arts events such as dance, musical presentations and poetry slams. At the end of the program, the students perform in a showcase titled “Bearing Witness”.

“The program helps youth see that people just like them are succeeding as artists, and it allows kids to be in an environment that fosters their talents,” Greene said.

The program accepts teens of all performance levels and each participant receives a $50 stipend for participating in the showcase. Additionally, the program hires up to six LGBTQ Youth of Color or Allies to do peer outreach.

“It’s important for marginalized people to be the center of something,” Chad Goller-Sojourner said. “It allows them to try new things.” Goller-Sojourner is a Seattle-based Performing Artist of Color whose recent shows “Riding in Cars with Black People” and “Sitting in Circles with Rich White Girls” have received strong reviews and toured college campuses.  He has served as a Creative Mentor for the program since the first round of the program.

The Seattle Quare Arts Project is currently in its third session. This spring’s showcase will be at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 18, at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute.

“Some people have been waiting their whole lives for a stage,” said Goller-Sojourner said, “We open the doors, and just let them go.”

For more information on the showcase, click HERE.

Bearing Witness: LGBTQ youth of color take center stage

Performers after the Bearing Witness showcase last June.

 

Seattle Parks is on a mission – a mission to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) teens of color have the same opportunities for self-expression that other kids do.

Randy Wiger, who runs Seattle Parks and Recreation’s Parks Commons Program, believes that LGBTQ teens and LGBTQ Youth of Color have fewer choices to participate in programs and services because they don’t feel safe in most traditional programs. And the data says he’s right.

A 2011 Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network survey showed that 59% of students statewide reported hearing racist comments.  Ninety percent reported hearing homophobic remarks.  Ninety-four percent of students reported hearing the word “gay” used in a negative way.

Schools are considered as safe spaces when students aren’t caused physical harm.

“But does that make them emotionally safe?” Wiger asked.

Seattle Parks and Recreation with Wiger’s guidance is exploring that question. Community centers have had programing specifically for girls, boys, teens and Youth of Color for years, but until recently, none were focused on LGBTQ Teens or on LGBTQ Youth of Color.

“How many LGBTQ teens are picking and choosing programs based on how safe they feel in that environment?” Wiger said. “Our thinking is that we should engage this population — especially in forward-thinking Seattle, and especially in Parks and Recreation where we encounter so many young people.”

In partnership with Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, Wiger launched the Seattle Quare Arts Project last spring and hired Recreation Leader Rodney Greene to assist.

The word “quare” means excellence and identifies exceptional and remarkable experiences and individuals. The Seattle Quare Arts Project encourages LGBTQ Youth of Color to be the best persons they can be. It’s a mentored performing arts program that provides assistance in designing and implementing performing arts events such as dance, musical presentations and poetry slams. At the end of the program, the students perform in a showcase titled “Bearing Witness”.

“The program helps youth see that people just like them are succeeding as artists, and it allows kids to be in an environment that fosters their talents,” Greene said.

The program accepts teens of all performance levels and each participant receives a $50 stipend for participating in the showcase. Additionally, the program hires up to six LGBTQ Youth of Color or Allies to do peer outreach.

“It’s important for marginalized people to be the center of something,” Chad Goller-Sojourner said. “It allows them to try new things.” Goller-Sojourner is a Seattle-based Performing Artist of Color whose recent shows “Riding in Cars with Black People” and “Sitting in Circles with Rich White Girls” have received strong reviews and toured college campuses.  He has served as a Creative Mentor for the program since the first round of the program.

The Seattle Quare Arts Project is currently in its third session. This spring’s showcase will be at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 18, at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute.

“Some people have been waiting their whole lives for a stage,” said Goller-Sojourner said, “We open the doors, and just let them go.”

For more information on the showcase, click HERE.