Inspiring a better Springfield through Theater

Rumors of a New Day, playing on September 13, 2010

Social change requires passion, creativity and dedication. It should then be no surprise that the arts often play a pivotal role in transforming neighborhoods or whole cities around. For example, Cleveland has recently invested in its Gordon Square Arts District as a path to economic development. Richard Florida, Director of the Martin Prosperity Institute and Professor at the University of Toronto has even highlighted artists as part of the “creative class” of people who are essential to the future economy.

But ticket sales are not the sole source of the art’s impact on cities, it’s also its ability to provoke the emotion, inspiration, intuition and vision that can transform whole communities.  In the words of Hashima Moja, Musical Director of Teatro V!da:

[art has the] ability to open up the hearts and souls of people and allow us to look inside ourselves and feel, so that we can create a truly rounded and whole society full of emotional intelligence and not just intellect and power.

In that context, Teatro V!da will be presenting “Rumors of a New Day”, a play that invites the audience to believe in themselves and leave their own “bubble”. The show promises to be a joyous celebration of Springfield and the Arts, don’t miss it!

To purchase tickets, contact the City Stage box office.

El Sol Latino – July 2010: Celebration of Latino Culture

July 2010 Cover

This month’s issue of El Sol Latino highlights El Festival de la Familia Hispana (the Hispanic Family Festival), which will take place from July 15 to July 18 in Springdale Park, and promotes the Western Massachusetts Puerto Rican Day Parade on July 18 in Holyoke. Every year the festival recognizes Puerto Rican and other Latino individuals who contribute to the well being of the community, while the parade celebrates the Puerto Rican culture and heritage in the State.

The periodical features a recent study by the Carsey Institute, which indicates that almost half of US newborns were people of color, as compared to aproximately 40% in the year 2000. This ESL edition also showcases notable achievements by Latino individuals like Wilma Ortiz (Massachusetts Teacher of the Year) and several helpful sections like Robert O’Leary legal column.

Pick up a copy of July’s El Sol Latino or browse through its pages by clicking here.

El Sol Latino – May 2010: Arts, immigration, energy, education & more!

ElSolLatinoMay2010

El Sol Latino, May 2010

This month’s issue of El Sol Latino features the Riverview Senior Dancers, a Springfield group that promotes culture and fitness through Bomba and Plena, two afro-Puerto Rican folkloric dances that get your groove going and blood pumping! It also highlights a new sustainability and green jobs initiative in Holyoke known as Energía, an effort to make multifamily and commercial buildings more energy efficient.

El Sol complements this edition by taking a close look at national and international topics: a piece on the recent Arizona immigration bill, an Op-Ed by Dr. Brian Rachmaciej on how national education policy should place more importance on parental involvement, and news from the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

All that and more for May. You can have a great read by picking up a copy or clicking here to view online. Enjoy!

“A quiet alarm sounds.” Brooklyn gentrification subject of art exhibit (City Limits Magazine)

Gentrification may seem like a problem we wish we had, but  I am convinced that the time is now to plan for sustainable and equitable development. One risk is that, at the first sign of economic opportunity, big boxes and national chains will pour in, curtailing an historic opportunity to build real community. 125th Street? Times Square? Holyoke Mall?

This image (above) is part of the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts’ exhibit, “The Gentrification of Brooklyn: The Pink Elephant Speaks.” More images here. From their press release: “This exhibition, guest curated by Dexter Wimberly, will examine how urban planning, eminent domain, and real estate development are affecting Brooklyn’s communities and how residents throughout the borough are responding. The exhibition will include the works of several Brooklyn-based artists, as well as those who have been forced to relocate as a result of gentrification. In addition to works of art featured at MoCADA, there will be a schedule of public programs taking place throughout Brooklyn.”

From the City Limits Magazine review: “Anyone who’s lived in New York for a while has done it: Walked down a familiar block and remembered the old days – even three or four years ago – when that yoga studio was a bodega, that multinational bank was a local business, and you could rent a one-bedroom apartment for under $2,000.”