On Wednesday, BNA was contacted by Thadra Sheridan from Button Poetry about establishing Teen Poetry Workshops in different communities around Minneapolis, including Bottineau Neighborhood. Here is part of what she wrote:
I am working with Button Poetry, a local literary organization to create a Slam Poetry program in Twin Cities neighborhoods this fall. What we are looking to do is start with 8-12 neighborhoods with the goal of expanding in the future. In each neighborhood, we would use a teen center, community center, library, possibly a school to conduct a weekly workshop on writing and performance with neighborhood teens. The workshops would be run by local adult professional performance poets overseen by Button Poetry and myself. We are working with the Office of Student Equity to ensure that we reach out to marginalized community youth for this program, as they are often the ones most in need of this resource and form of expression. The Office of Student Equity will also be working with our teachers on sensitivity training to ensure they are respectful and appropriate while providing an open creative outlet.
Slam Poetry is an extremely popular and accessible art form for youth. It provides a vehicle for them to address their identities, the world around them, and their emotions. It also enables students to enjoy a tolerant, supportive, and open-minded environment where they can learn from each other’s perspectives and experiences. Button Poetry has worked hard for the past three years to showcase slam poetry on the internet and have become the largest internet provider of spoken word content in the world, connecting dozens of poets to Upworthy and other major media outlets. We plan to use their resources and artists to contribute to the next generation and provide a platform for their expression and a community amongst their peers.
When the program gets under way, the workshops would last for six months, include Slam Poetry competitions between the different neighborhood groups, and culminate in a final citywide competition. More than anything, this project is “designed to give teens a way to express themselves, to have their voices heard, and to meet and learn from their peers across the city while working with established artists from their community.”
This sounds like a good opportunity for Bottineau youth, but what Button Poetry is asking for from us now is … are we interested in pursuing this opportunity? Do we know of community centers in the neighborhood that would host the weekly workshops? Can we help support them financially to cover administrative fees and pay teachers?
In short, should Bottineau Neighborhood Association help facillitate this project in our own neighborhood? Do we see this as an opportunity for our neighborhood youth and do we want to support it?
If you live in the community and have an opinion about this opportunity, please contact the BNA office via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by phone (612-367-7262).