Angeli Rasbury

Our Voices Matter
Artistic Discipline: Literary Arts
Category: Brooklyn Arts Fund
Grant Year: 2020
Location: Bedford-Stuyvesant

With poetry, Angeli Rasbury created different endings for what she witnessed as a criminal defense lawyer—black and brown people going in and out of jail and prison and fractured families and communities. The more they wrote, the more the words took on a new function: giving voice to people impacted by the New Jim Crow. She had discovered something to help her be healthy and wanted to share this future generations. So much can happen with pen and paper. Rasbury remains intrigued by this process.

In turn, she plans to provide two cycles of free poetry and art workshops for children ages seven to twelve that will run 75 minutes each. Each cycle will consist of two sessions of six workshops (four for poetry, and two for art). So they can be most beneficial to participants, workshops will be limited to 12 participants.

Rasbury will introduce participants to poetry forms and provide instruction in writing poetry in a fun, engaging manner. For example, children will be introduced to list poems and cinquains and teens to epistle poems and free verse, and provide well-thought out prompts to inspire their writing and creativity. Rasbury will then play audio recordings of poets reading to engage the participants. Additionally, she intends to provide instruction in incorporating poetry and affirmations in art, as well as positive feedback to participants who share their work. Participants will be asked to share with a group but not required to do so.

In the first children’s art session participants will begin working on self-portraits by drawing details they think they should include and looking at one another’s faces. In the second session, they will finalize the self-portrait, and Rasbury will instruct them on how to paint with child-friendly watercolor crayons and embellish with magazine cutouts, art paper and other items; participants will subsequently paint portraits and add cutouts and write positive statements they know about themselves on the work wherever they choose.

Participants' art and written work will be exhibited at the end of project for The Family Center participants and larger community, including participants' siblings and family members, and Bed Stuy residents.