Marlee Stempelman and five students presented about the Troubadours, a poetry club at Turner High School in Kansas City, KS. Marlee initiated the program with Jessica Kendall in this school with high levels of “equal opportunity” poverty. The club is not funded by the school, district or the state of Kansas, and accepts any student who expresses interest in poetry or the arts. They fundraise throughout the year, but this just covers the cost of their annual publications. The students who were present testified to the huge difference the community and mentorship has provided in their lives, as well as the important role that writing provides as a means of self-expression. They are hoping to provide small scholarships for students who want to go on to college, and also to implement a plan where they can bring in local artists to work one-on-one with the students.
This is a collaborative poem written by the students:
Heroes with an identity
People with an imagination
A collaborative crew designed with talents and rhymes
Injected into a book with a pen, viewed by the human eye
A box of dreams
A path of goals
We were separate poets, now we are a single poetic family
We are full of hope
We are who make this world
We are the future
We decide our futures
All different, yet so alike
All holding back so much, with a story to tell
We are the wall sockets of imagination
We respect all who come to us
We are love, dreams and life
We are people willing to change the meaning of great writing
The Troubadours received the most audience votes, and so were awarded the purse of $490 from this BREAD! gathering.
Ashley Miller presented about a music program called the Garrison Booth.
“I started the Garrison Booth project in the summer of 2008 after watching a forgotten film about Jamaican sound-systems in the 60s. There was one clip in particular of a really hellish slum in Kingston: there was a mobile sound-system set up on the corner, one guy with a mic, and a group of kids singing and dancing along. Everyone was smiling like they were in paradise. It was a literal musical transmutation of consciousness. Simply ecstatic. I wanted to see if I could replicate that experiment in present day Kansas City. I met the director of the Garrison Community Center via some homeschool friends of mine who were renting the gym. One day I just brought a drum machine and an 8-track recorder and it grew from there. The current Booth is located in the basement of the Garrison Community Center in the Columbus Park neighborhood of K.C.M.O.”
You can visit the Booth’s blog at www.garrisonbooth.tumblr.com
Ashley’s presentation at BREAD was to pitch for funding to take this program to the next level. He wants to be able to build a proper stage with mirrors for practicing, lights and microphones – so that they can transition to live performance.
Theo Bunch presented two different projects that he has been working on while a student at the Kansas City art Institute:
Home Grown : Home Grown is a community garden and urban farm currently being constructed for the Kansas City Art Institute community. The farm will grow crops for art materials such as flax, willow, and natural dye plants. These plants will be harvested, processed, and used by the classes at the Art Institute. The farm is located on Walnut street surrounded by apartments housing students. Because of this a large portion of the lot will be turned into raised beds to be used as a community student garden. This will be a place for students to explore the growing world and explore sustainable living concepts and practices. A lecture series has begun, open to KCAI students and the Home Grown project’s partners and volunteers. The lecture series features urban farmers, scientists, activists, green artists, and gardeners sharing their knowledge. This project will hopefully become a catalyst for the Sustainabilty and DIY movement in Kansas City, and offer more opportunities and diversity for the students of KCAI. The Home Grown project also supports the Art Farm high school program providing help and mentoring for DeLaSalle students
Art Farm: This is a program at DeLaSalle High School that engages the students in hands on learning. An urban farm site has been constructed on site for the high school students. The farm serves to rebuild the practical do it yourself skills that most of the American population has forgotten in a matter of generations. Lessons involve the teaching of useful skills and trades like bread making, cooking, food preserving, and gardening, but in the process incorporate lessons on larger topics. Ecology, environmental science, art, biology, physical education, and nutrition have all been incorporated into the Art Farm curriculum. Volunteers running the project collaborate with the school’s teachers to take the classes outdoors and make the lessons exciting and fresh. The food from Art Farm is sent to the cafeteria and is then eaten by the students who grew it.