LYNN — Current and past members of Raw Art Works’ Spoken Word group will be in the spotlight Thursday night, sharing their poetry and personal stories. The Speak Up open mic event starts at RAW at 5 p.m. Admission is free.
Alex Norby, a RAW art therapist and one of the group’s leaders, said, “All these kids have stories, phenomenal pieces to share. They are encouraged to speak up about issues in Lynn and in their communities. We walked around this community and observed, talked about how things are changing in Lynn. Gentrification, for example. We discussed serious subjects, like ‘What are you feeling when someone tries to put you in a certain box?’ These are real, personal stories.”
Noel Pichardo, an English High senior, will be among those performing. He said he’s been a part of the Spoken Word group for about five years, and the support and encouragement he’s received from RAW staffers and fellow students have helped him find great success presenting his works in Lynn, Boston, and at such competitions as the Louder Than a Bomb Youth Poetry Slam showcase.
“Here, we support each other 100 percent,” said Pichardo. “For Thursday’s open mic, it’s a real group effort. We bond continuously during rehearsals, helping each other choreograph each performance, helping each other edit their pieces.”
Core members of the Spoken Word group are Kristen Fonseca, Prinsesa Guzman, Mackenzie Urbano, Dan Ryan, Kayli Cerda and Pichardo. All performers are 18 or younger. Norby is joined by teaching artists Gladys Hidalgo, a RAW alumna, and Lynn resident Daiane Garcia, also known as Dexter the Poet.
This event is organized by and presented by Raw Art Works, a program partner of the 14-day Beyond Walls Mural Festival.
Speak Up, at Raw Art Works, 37 Central Square, Thursday, 5-6:30 p.m. Admission is free. If you are 18 or younger and would like to perform, contact Alex Norby at [email protected]. All ages are welcome to watch.