This summer, Phillip Sekou Glass and the organizers of the First Friday Art March would like to invite you to tell a very important story – the story of you.
At this Friday’s Art March, guests will be able to take part in a storytelling workshop led by Phillip Sekou Glass (previously a Drama instructor, director and producer at Kent State University) in the Art Rise gallery on Desoto Row. Along with Gary Swindell (a troubadour) and J’miah Nabawi (a Griot storyteller), Glass will lead participants in the creation of an “I Am” poem at 6:45pm and 8:15pm.
“It’s an honest workshop and it’s supposed to be fun,” Glass told SAI. “Sometimes when people go to art galleries or shows they feel like an outsider looking in, so we want to join them in the process, that way the whole experience feels more like becoming a part of a family and learning with a family. We want them to have that sense of us-ness about it.”
Glass has helped people create “I Am” poems before with beautiful results. Asking kids to write about themselves through the experiences of their senses yielded synesthetic prose like: “I am Harriet Tubman. I am polka dots, I am purple-blue fireworks,” and “I am the aroma of melted chocolate, I am cinnamon-apple pie, roller blades and big T-shirts. I am original.”
By sharing these pieces of themselves, Glass hopes people (especially young people) will feel empowered within the community. “The proposition is that everyone has a story and if there’s anything life should give you it’s the right to have, own, and possess that story,” he says. “Because stories carry our memories of the sacred, they serve to remind us of what is most precious in our lives. Likewise, when we feel alienated, our sacred stories remind us that we are interconnected and thus part of a larger narrative,” he added.
The poems will be collected afterward and incorporated into the show on display at Art Rise Gallery, which will house other physical elements of Glass’ workshops, including his signature papier-mâché masks. The masks, which Glass calls “talking points” that allow him and the audience to stay connected and involved in a story, will be part of a second workshop.
Glass seems as excited to lead the workshop as he is to listen to his pupils. He told SAI, “Any time you leave a good portion of the answers to the audience, there’s always something interesting that happens.”
The July Art March takes place on Friday, July 3, 2015 from 6 – 9pm. Click here for more information and to plan your route.