Women on the Rise teen artists participated in an art exhibition in partnership with Urgent, Inc. at O Cinema on Saturday, May 4. Urgent, Inc. presented the play She Kept the Bra On! Chronicles of a Teenage Love Affair performed by Rites of Passage Youth Theater Ensemble, and accompanied by an exhibition of visual art and photography created by youth participants in MoCA’s Women on the Rise in collaboration with Urgent, Inc. and under the mentorship and guidance of WOTR artist Guadalupe Figueras Parraga.
The play proposes to “elevate discussion on issues of teen dating violence, abuse and bullying,” according to playwright and director Shedia Nelson, and in so doing also addresses the subtleties and nuances of teen relationships by delving into areas of loyalty, friendship, competition, betrayal, and family dynamics.
This multidisciplinary event also included performances by spoken word artist Rebecca “Butterfly” Vaughns and rapper Via Renay. A pre-performance reception featured the amazing and uplifting Venus Rising, a wonderfully diverse all-woman drum and dance ensemble that performs percussive music from around the world. These amazing and versatile performers, whose ensemble members range in age from teens to grandmothers, delivered an eclectic blast of diverse rhythms hailing from Africa, the Caribbean, Brazil and the Middle East, closing their set with a tender and heart-melting rendition of “By the Rivers of Babylon” sung acapella by the multi-talented drummer, dancer and vocalist Sheila Alexander.
These women really rocked the house in a big way, and their performance in the exhibition space really brought our art to life!
The event drew a substantial crowd spanning several generations. People loved the exhibit, the play and the whole experience. Major shout-out to O Cinema for being the hosts with the most. It was truly a beautiful and energizing event: a gift to our local youth.