Inaugural Detroit Impact Arts Conference Precedes 4th Annual Obsidian Theatre Festival

The conference kicks off on June 24.

By: Apr. 24, 2024
Inaugural Detroit Impact Arts Conference Precedes 4th Annual Obsidian Theatre Festival
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The GhostLight Arts Initiative has announced the Inaugural Detroit IMPACT Arts Conference. Beginning on Monday, June 24th, the 3-day conference will include a series of workshops, panels, and conversations designed to engage the Detroit arts community. The conference precedes the 4th AnnualObsidian Theatre Festival (OTF) that will take place Thursday, June 27th - Sunday, June 30th. The GhostLight Arts Initiative is a non-profit organization dedicated to the use of the creative, performing, and media arts as catalysts for social progress. The goal of GLAI is to leverage every artistic avenue to create tangible and sustainable impact across social and cultural systems. GLAI is the social enterprise of GhostLight Creative Productions, the lead producer alongside Nicely Theatre Group of the Obsidian Theatre Festival.

The theme for the Inaugural conference is: Amplifying Our Stories. The conference will uplift individual artists, arts organizations, community partners, and funders – magnifying the work of Detroit’s current performing arts community and contributing to the foundational growth of a thriving arts ecosystem.

GLAI’s Inaugural Detroit Impact Arts Conference will debut an exciting slate of programs, including A Young Artist Workshop on playwriting (YAW), Professional Auditions Workshop for youth, The Neighborhood Engagement Program Series (NEPS), and the Propulsion Theatre Project Symposium,  (a collaborative project with Blackboard Plays).

"We are excited to launch our new programming,” says Dr. Rashida L. Harrison, Director of Education and Professional Development for the GhostLight Arts Initiative. Not only will it foster city-wide art education, and community engagement, but will also offer networking opportunities that encourage diverse and sustainable economic opportunities for Detroit artists. GLAI is committed to these outcomes, utilizing them as pillars for our larger organizational growth." Dr. Harrison has been planning the conference alongside Sarae Daniels, (GLAI’s Arts Education Manager) who has been with OTF and GLAI since the inaugural season, Sierra McCants (new to GLAI as the Arts Ed. Coordinator), and Garlia Cornelia Jones, (Co-Director of the Propulsion Theatre Project, OTF Associate Artistic Director/Senior Creative Producer). 

“We believe, at its best, that art has the power to do three things: Show us who we were, Show us who we are, and Show us who we can become. All of our programming exists in service to our long-term goals – at the center of which are the essential pillars of intentional workforce development and economic sustainability through the arts,” says John Sloan III, Founder of the GhostLight Arts Initiative and Producing Artistic Director of the Obsidian Theatre Festival. “Whether Obsidian or our new programming, each endeavor centers underrepresented communities, and uses the arts to uplift those stories.”

The Young Artist Playwriting Workshop (YAW): Building the Foundation of Storytelling invites students in grades 9-12 who are interested in storytelling, the arts, theatre, and playwriting. During this three-day workshop, students will have the opportunity to learn from work with Detroit-based playwright and University of Detroit Mercy Professor Ann Eskridge as they explore narrative storytelling. Students will leave with having written a 5-10 minute piece. This three-day workshop for youth, will be the launching of regular YAWs occurring year round. 

The Neighborhood Engagement Program Series (NEPS) speaks to Detroiters who live and work in rich and historic communities across the city. The continued development of an arts ecosystem requires broad engagement. With that, NEPS will host year-round events across Detroit, designed to engage a diversity of community members and offer the opportunity to take the work of OTF, and make it accessible to different neighborhoods in Detroit. There will be 3 NEPS sessions over the 3-day conference: 20/20 OTF Four Years Later, We Own Everything: Tensions between Growth and Development, and Art, Comedy and Gender Politics.

The final component of the conference is The Propulsion Theatre Project Symposium. The Propulsion Theatre Project is a partnership between Blackboard Plays Founder, Garlia Cornelia Jones, and GhostLight Arts Initiative Founding Executive Director/ Obsidian Theater Festival Producing Artistic Director John Sloan III , dedicated to creating work that amplifies the ecosystem of theatre in Detroit. Guests will include arts professionals from around the country leading a variety of workshops and panels. Featured topics will include: “The Writers’ Rights” and “Funding Your Idea”.

Register here.


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