Community Change through Empowering Arts Experiences

Dinah Winnick is a communications manager in UMBC’s Office of Institutional Advancement.

On September 19th, UMBC celebrated the grand opening of the Performing Arts and Humanities Building with “New Space”—a thought-provoking discussion with 14 cultural innovators from Greater Baltimore. Among the panelists were Sharayna Christmas Rose and Bashi Rose. I was struck by their vision of how to bring about community change: creating opportunities for arts education and expression that empower participants to then have a voice beyond the theatre and dance studio.

Sharayna Christmas Rose (MUSE 360)As executive director of MUSE 360, Sharayna Christmas Rose travels with young people from Baltimore to African diaspora communities across the U.S. and Caribbean to perform in public spaces and engage with new audiences. “I really feel that the arts enable us to see the human experience better,” she shared, explaining the sense of empowerment that she hopes her students bring back from their journeys.

Bashi Rosse (Nommo Theatre)Bashi Rose is co-founder of Nommo Theatre, which creates theatre to “present the Black experience with all its ritual, spirituality, and resistance intact.” In 2007 Bashi collaborated with men from the Maryland Correctional Training Center in Hagerstown to form the D.R.A.M.A. Group (Direct Responses Alleviate Misdirected Aggression). Rose described to the “New Space” audience how within the prison, performers must find some find something inside themselves that can transform their environment into a “space of freedom.”

For more audio highlights from the “New Space” event, see SoundCloud.

Contact Dinah Winnick at dwinnick@umbc.edu.

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