As many efforts do in late December and early January, the Creative City Road Map slowed down over the holiday season. However, there were a few vibrant moments that punctuated the end of 2014 and the start of the new year.
Artist Engagement team, Sha and E.G. hosted a Hip Hop Caroling at Brian Coyle Center on the West Bank. Sha notes, “It turned out to be THE highlight of all our engagements. We were at the Coyle center for about 4 hours on Dec 22nd while there was a basketball tournament and community members dropping in. With the help of Bedlam Theater and its infamous Art Van, we set up a hip hop stage outside and an inside room with food and conversation alongside spontaneous spoken word poetry. Huge support from Shavunda Horsley, Farrington Starnes, and Ifrah Mansour. Surveys were available in Somali and English. Some of the elders took the Somali ones while most youth filled out the English. We noticed most participants marked ‘Black’ on the forms. We flagged this for future engagement work as we may want to know how many new americans/immigrants are participating in the process so creating a different bubble for them to check could be wise. The best part of the night was about 50 people (mostly youth) outside with music playing and a 7 year old girl singing into the microphone followed by a teenage Somali male rapping about cultural identity and community. Everyone kept saying ‘more of these’ — more events like this!’
And then on Christmas Day, the team made a stop at Safari Restaurant. The team notes,“Big luv to Ifrah Mansour for facilitating the engagement at the Safari on Christmas day. She suggested it to us as she knew there was going to be a big gathering of Somali members and was excited about the Creative City Road Map committee getting Somali surveys made. She also mentioned that Xmas was not a big day for them so people would indeed come out and it would offer a chance for her to talk to them about the project and to have their voice included in the process. It turned out to be a HUGE success with almost 100 people there. We only wish we would have had more surveys. Still it was great to have the people so so eager to fill out the material and be ‘represented’ as they said. This spoke volumes.”