For immediate release
March 16, 2021
Sierra Leone, Co-Founder, OFP Productions
Artist. Educator. Innovator. Entrepreneur. Activist.
What does it mean to embody these roles and elevate the work of an artist beyond entertainment? To examine, honor, and equip others with the tools and community to answer that question in a post-pandemic, post-George Floyd world, Oral Funk Poetry Productions will host the inaugural Urban Creative Arts Healing and Performance Symposium, April 16-17, 2021.
With support from a Special Projects Grant funded by the Montgomery County Arts & Cultural District and administered by Culture Works, this virtual event will foster healing and diversity in the arts through education and performance. Urban creative artists, activists, healers and luminaries from around Ohio and beyond will lead workshops, discussions, and performances.
“The mission of Oral Funk Poetry Productions has always been centered in creating a space for local urban creative artists to share a space with national and international artists doing the same work,” says Executive Director Sierra Leone. “Most of the people involved in the symposium have a base of professional work and education, along with their lived experience.”
The symposium is designed for artists and creatives of all ages and levels with discounted tickets available for students. Sierra Leone says that part of the work of the event is to empower individuals to continue building their skills, portfolio and connections while also, “Never forgetting the reason why they do the work.”
Preserving and integrating the humanity of urban creative art and the artist is a central tenet of this event.
“How do we bring our roots, our family, our history and our present to the work without losing value?” asks Sierra Leone. “We need for this work to be celebrated and experienced, not marginalized to only entertainment. It’s education too. It’s so much more.”
“I think we have to rethink,” says Nate Leone, who will lead Conscious Parenting: Healing Students in a Pandemic as part of the symposium. “Art and education are extensions of one root: healing. If no one ever decides to start healing, then how do we stop racism and police brutality? It all comes back to one center, whether we’re talking about artists exploring their creativity or solving racism, it all comes back to healing.”
After a day of healing center work and discussion, the symposium will culminate in a virtual performance of The Signature: A Poetic Medley Show, OFP Productions’ in-person and virtual event series for over a decade. To register and learn more about the presenters, workshops and panels, visit Eventbrite.com and Search: Urban Creative Arts. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Urban Creative Arts Healing and Performance Symposium is funded in part by Montgomery County Cultural Arts District, Culture Works, OFP Theatre & Productions, and Ohio Arts Council with media sponsorship from WYSO and additional support from local contributing organizations.