The Mitchell Center will launch the "Life is Living" initiative in Houston with a kickoff event on Saturday, Nov. 7 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Discovery Green (1500 McKinney Ave.) in downtown Houston. Admission is free.
The "Life is Living" Houston Kickoff will feature hip-hop legend MC Lyte, a performance by artist and "Life is Living" national organizer Marc Bamuthi Joseph and a range of participatory activities for all ages, courtesy of local organizations specializing in break dancing, graffiti art, athletics, compost-driven gardening, bike repair, skate boarding and spoken-word poetry. Participating organizations include Aerosol Warfare, CKCStart Street and Urban Arts & Graffiti Research Lab, Last Organic Outpost, Workshop Houston, Project Row Houses, Youth Advocates, DiverseWorks, the UH College of Architecture and youth slam poetry group Meta-Four Houston.
About Marc Bamuthi Joseph and "Life is Living: Houston "
This event kicks off Joseph's two-year residency in Houston working with residents of the Third and Fifth Wards and University of Houston students. His residency will produce "Life is Living: Houston," a one-day festival in an underutilized neighborhood park that will feature urban arts and focus on empowering communities of color to connect with, influence and benefit from the environmental movement. Similar "Life is Living" festivals have been held in Chicago, Harlem, and Oakland, Calif.
At the conclusion of his stay in Houston, Joseph also will present "red, black and GREEN, a blues," a performance incorporating hip hop, poetry, dance, film, visual art and music created from "Life is Living" festivals across the country. This final performance piece will draw content from Joseph's exploration into Houston's Third and Fifth Wards.
"Life is Living" will also be the catalyst for a series of outreach programs in Houston, including weekly slam poetry workshops for teens in the Third and Fifth Wards, run by Meta-Four Houston.
"Our two-year initiative with Marc Bamuthi Joseph and ‘Life is Living' celebrates hip hop as a multi-disciplinary art form," says Mitchell Center Director Karen Farber. "Bamuthi's work in Houston has already inspired a spirited dialogue between UH and our surrounding communities about issues that matter to us all. ‘Life is Living' will help us sustain and enhance that dialogue."
Houstonians were introduced to Joseph in March during his participation with the Mitchell Center's "Systems of Sustainability: Art, Innovation, Action" (S.O.S.) symposium. At this event, he presented a preview of "red, black and GREEN, a blues." Its theme is centered on the idea that low income communities and communities of color can be logistically and psychologically included in the green movement.
"I personally am of the belief that the movement for social change and environmental accountability are one and the same, and that focusing on steps to sustain the planet ultimately forces us to envision a pathway to sustaining humanity," said Joseph.
In the fall of 2007, Joseph graced the cover of Smithsonian Magazine after being named one of America's Top Young Innovators in the Arts and Sciences. He is the artistic director of the HBO documentary series "Russell Simmons presents Brave New Voices" and an inaugural recipient of the United States Artists Rockefeller Fellowship, which annually recognizes 50 of the country's "greatest living artists." A gifted and nationally acclaimed educator and essayist, he has lectured at more than 200 colleges and universities, been a popular commentator on National Public Radio and has carried adjunct professorships at Stanford University, Mills College, and the University of Wisconsin. Bamuthi's proudest work has been with Youth Speaks, where he mentors teen writers and curates the Living Word Festival for Literary Arts.
The "Life is Living" Houston Kickoff is presented with support from Discovery Green and the Houston Arts Alliance.
To learn more about "Life is Living," visit www.lifeisliving.org/core. For the Kickoff event location and details, visit Discovery Green online at www.discoverygreen.com.
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