As part of IDEAS, Steam Exchange and Louisville Visual Art Association’s collaborative project Living It!, a writing workshop was conducted at Youthbuild with young people from the community. Joining the participants were photographers Carrie Burr and Terrence Humphrey.
Theo Edmonds of IDEAS posed the question to participants: “In a world with no limits…what will you be when you grow up?”
The writing and poems created by the participants will be taken down to the costume shop at Actors Theatre where staff will pull attire based upon what the young people want to be when they grow up. A group of local photographers will then conduct a portrait session with the students, dressed as their future selves.
This talented bunch got to work, expressing a great deal of passion about their futures. Arsonlove, a local middle schooler explained, “I want to be a neurosurgeon when I grow up and work with the brain because I always wanted to be a doctor, I just didn’t know what part of the body I wanted to work on. Then one day I saw a diagram of the brain and how complicated it was and how complex it was and wanted to work on the brain.”
Another student, Jenee’, wants to be a musician, and currently plays many string instruments such as the viola and piano. “I want to be a musician because I’ve always liked music and it’s always been an interest to me.”
After the students began envisioning their future selves, poet Robin G – a cast member from the Smoketown Poetry Opera – performed her piece “Because I Am a Woman” as a way to inspire the students to express themselves.
Robin guided the students by asking them,
“What does your world with no limits look like? How can you cater to this world? Start with the world with no limits, what it looks like, and just lead it down to what you want to be in this world. It’s your world, no limits.”
Her own children took part in the project, wanting to be a pediatric nurse / doctor, a police officer, and an NBA player.
The final step in the workshop was sharing the poems that were written. Sparkle, who wants to be a lawyer when she grows up because of her ability and love of debating, stepped to the front of the room. “In a world with no limits no one can pull me down,” she said. “No one in the way of my dreams. Leaving my hometown to see bigger problems, becoming a new person and making myself and others feel important. Debating every day about anything makes me feel like I am something. I am a lawyer.”
The complete series of portraits of will be on exhibition at the Actors Theatre of Louisville Gallery during February, African American History Month.