Courage, bravery, respect, and connection are some of the important concepts we must learn as we grow into adulthood. Through expressive art and spoken word children can learn to eliminate personal barriers and gain additional social skills. This year Free Arts has teamed up with Phonetic Spit, a local non-profit whose mission is to create brave spaces that help young people find, develop, and publicly present their voices as agents of social change.
The brainchild of this collaboration is Mic Check, a program that offers that brave space to teens and young adults ages 14-24 years old on the third Saturday of every month at Parsons Place. Mic Check participants come from local communities that are associated with Phonetic Spits work, Free Arts partner agencies, and members of the Free Arts Alumni programs.
The first Mic Check event took place on March 19th, with the latest event taking place on April 16th. Teens and young adults arrive the Free Arts building and are guided to the Teen Lounge area where refreshments are laid out and large green bean bags and comfy chairs are available to rest on. Teens and young adults can relax and socialize with one another over Subway sandwiches, chips, sweet treats, and iced tea. To further enhance the brave space and allow for the teen participants to feel the freedom of expression and autonomy, all caregivers are guided to their own comfortable section away from the Teen Lounge that is also equipped with snacks, drinks, and some fun art activities to choose from.
Mic Check participants may choose either a visual arts experience led by a Free Arts teaching artist, or a spoken word workshop led by a Phonetic Spit teaching artist. After an hour of creative expression, participants are given the opportunity to perform or share their art pieces during the open mic session. Each event features a performance by a spoken word artist, curtesy of Phonetic Spit. All the adult facilitators in this space practice trauma-informed care and have years of experience working with young people from various backgrounds and experiences. We look forward to building connections with the teens and young adults that attend future Mic Check events!