A Test Blog
photo: Kwame and meeting I in Philly, Fall 2015
This is my first blog in what I intend to be a series about music, artists, and artists who teach. I’m starting out with a few people I really admire in the arts-in-corrections world. I met Kwame Scruggs at the National Guild or Community Arts Education conference on Philly last fall. He very kindly coached me regarding my ideas of setting up programs for court-involved and incarcerated youth, his area of expertise. I could not have asked for a better coach. During our meeting, I frankly expressed my own concerns about my abilities (this is not an age group I have much experience with) and my lack of hip-hop expertise (close to zero, but working on it) and other qualities that might work against me (white, older). I shared my idea that the participants themselves would be the experts, and I’d be the student regarding hip hop songwriting, history, culture. In this way we would all be bringing something to the table. Kwame said to make sure the young men saw the Carnegie Hall / Sing Sing video: that would give me basic cred from the start. If I then just shared my own concerns and ideas with the men as straightforwardly as I had done with him, Kwame said “That’s all they want: your honesty. That will take you a long way”. The work that Kwame and his ALCHEMY INC project are doing in the Akron Ohio area is powerful and effective. He has the formal training to do the work, and a passion for the power of myth, along the lines of the late great Joeseph Campbell. Here is a documentary project about Alchemy:
And here is Kwame giving a TEdxAkron talk:
And here is the home page for Alchemy Inc. http://alchemyinc.net/
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