LIVE ART: Unity Isn’t Just a Dream

LIVE ART: Unity Isn’t Just a Dream


In every single city,
in every single town we are, feels like
going out of our way to draw lines and to
draw barriers and say you stay here and I stay here. We’re creating
such lines that are That I think don’t need to be
there, and so we see it daily. The flower lady is good. Okay. Nobody seems to be listening. The ability to listen
and learn from each other seems to be at
a minimum these days. And I think sometimes people
stand up and they say, well, I believe this
and I believe that because they just want to be
heard, they want to be seen. They’re saying I want love,
I want love, I want love. it’s more common than not that people tend to be more
polarized and broken in relationships as opposed to
looking for ways to connect. More than disconnected
and more than just sadness, like a sense of
I don’t belong here so what am I gonna do,
and that breaks apart in society as you have these groups of
people that don’t feel like they belong and then
they get kind of shut out, their lives become
very difficult to lead because they feel that nobody
is really supporting them. In some ways the ways that we’re
all connected now like this, we might need a little bit more
of connection like this. There are ways that
we can teach each other and learn from each other
that can only happen in person. When you’re ready,
what you’ll do is you’ll put your hands
in the air, and your partners
are gonna guide your hands to the edge of the canvas
so you can kind of get a feel for the size
and get your bearings. Come here. And when you’re ready,
you’ll put your hands. I’m gonna try
my best to be concise, but it’s hard to be concise
because I want to keep talking because I’m so in
awe of Live Art. Oh my gosh, that’s so cool. Live Art is an
all-inclusive arts program that nurtures the talents
of all artistic peoples. Whether you’re a technician,
a dancer, a poet, a singer, Live Art
is going to present to you a very challenging curriculum where we’re gonna
mix and match the art mediums so that you are challenged
and you grow as an artist. And that curriculum includes
in it a core-value system of acceptance,
compassion and empathy. And what do I mean by that or how does that
work in this system? It’s because the
mediums are mixed up. It’s because all different
types of people are mixed up. And so the through line
is to accept this circumstances as they are. I accept that this song is gonna
be very challenging for me. I accept that I have
never done this before. And my compassion and my empathy
is that and I am with you through this and
I recognize you for what you do. I see you, I hear you,
I love you. That’s what Live Art is. (Music playing.) (Cheering.) (Clapping.) Another night
and here we are again. All our faults laid out ahead. A community event like this
has the potential for incredible ripple
effects because children who might have been
marginalized in the past, other thinkers,
you know my son is a painter and he’s brilliant, but he just couldn’t do
junior high and high school, and I think the potential
for an event like this is for people to see that everybody
shines in different ways. (Music playing.) So I’ll tell you what you need. First thing,
we make you feel better. That little moment when it’s
just you and your own voice, and that part of your
other voice is telling you I’m not good enough at this
or I don’t want to do this, there is somebody out there
that said, you know what, I think you’re really good,
you should do this. And you see all these kids,
and these kids are having that moment right now. These kids are,
just because this moment exists, they’re having a courage
to come out there and show this side of them. Don’t look down. Hold on forever. When we reach into ourselves
and we share something really intimate and all,
it’s wonderful because when somebody responds to it
and responds in a way that is positive,
that little piece of yourself that you may have
wanted to hide away, which may be the most
special part of who you are, you may all of a sudden
have a desire to now, or not a desire to but at least the courage
to open up about who you are. So I saw Soul,
and after I saw Soul, right as we were
walking out of the Altria, I was like,
Mom, I have to do this. And so it was my first
rehearsal of Blue, I didn’t really know
what I was walking into, and it was a modern
movement class, and it was the love that just
radiates out of that room was just spectacular, and I think for people
with their first Live Art, I want to help them that there’s
nothing to be intimidated by, and I watch them being like,
oh, am I gonna know people, am I gonna have friends,
everybody is your friend. (Laughter.) They made me a
friendship bracelets. I love that. This is the real
Live Art right here. I would like to welcome the rest of our family
to the stage, please. (Applause.) Don’t look down.
Hold on forever. Honestly, I feel so honored
to be on the stage with you incredible artists.
You’re so creative, and the fact that I get
to sing my songs up there and you guys
are showing your talent, it just warms my heart so much. The Live Art experience is really I think primary
to what helped her feel like things were going to be okay because she felt like
she was welcome, she felt like
she could be herself and nobody was gonna
make fun of her. Alma: Like a rainbow. The songs the first year to the
second, the third, the fourth, and now, they all just come in, and it’s no one standing there
with their head down anymore, everyone is looking
around and their heads, the confidence is glowing. Hold on forever. It’s so humbling. It’s so beautiful
to see a teenager do something so compassionate
without even saying this is what you should do,
and I think that that’s that growth of the
program that we’ve seeing. And now it’s on our brains where
we’ve created a whole curriculum based off of showing compassion,
empathy and acceptance. (Music playing.) Just take my hand,
hold on forever. (Applause.) I feel like the audience
will get this. You never have
to tell an audience when there’s a show that
never happens like that again. I might go on stage in my
solo show and the other artists, and the crowd kind of knows,
oh man, he’s doing this for us tonight but tomorrow night
he’ll be in a different city doing it for somebody else. But this show in this form
only happens once, tonight, and I feel like the audience
will feel like that they’re in the room for something
really, really special. (Music playing.) It’s out there somewhere. You’re never too old to dream. Five, four, three, two, one. (Cheering.) (Applause.) When I’m sitting in the audience
and everybody around me is excited and
I see people crying and I know that it’s
my kid on the stage who’s adding to
the crowd’s emotions, that is a really powerful thing because I felt those emotions
for years and years. Now the extended Richmond
community is part of that. The feeling of constantly
being told your child might not
be able to do this, but then you see your
child on stage dancing, or you see your child who probably never knew what sign
language was and now is signing, and then you’re thinking my child is capable
of doing anything. Whatever your dream is,
wherever your mind lives, wherever your heart
has been guiding you. It’s quite miraculous to see when through creative arts
and play and welcoming, when that environment exists,
I think people naturally walk in and feel
connected to one another. Is out there somewhere. In the audience right now
are many different ages, different colors,
different people, different sizes, but pretty soon they’re gonna become the human
beings that have gathered to support the arts and share
the arts and absorb the arts and experience the arts,
and they’re gonna laugh together and they’re gonna clap together and they’re gonna sing together, they’re gonna
ooh and aah together, and at the end
they’re gonna stand together. And it proves to me
that there is only one spirit in the house right now. There’s only one living spirit,
it’s both in the audience and it’s on stage, and art is evoking that and
bringing that all to presence. Some people are brave
and some are afraid. There’s no substitute for
experiencing another person that is totally
different from you are to become at one with each
other, to appreciate each other. Some of us need a little time
to see who we will finally be. I think that by
experiencing that person, all of a sudden you have walked
past the impression that you put there and all of a sudden
you’re people with people and all. Go ahead,
start pushing the limits. Any time that people
all gather together around one universal thing, It’s a celebration
of being human, it’s a celebration
of that togetherness and that connectedness that
really is kind of reminding you that we are way more
the same than we are different. Whatever you’re looking for
is out there somewhere. I cried, I cried. I mean it’s like
happiness and joy, and you just can’t hold it in. It makes you feel so proud cause you know the work
that went into it and how much she loves doing it. Oh my gosh,
if this was your first show and that was the audience, whoa. The audience participation,
the smiles on the audience, just seeing the students like,
oh my gosh, oh my gosh, they’re smiling. It’s like yeah, cause you know
why, cause you’re awesome. It’s nobody’s business,
nobody’s business. I’ve been doing this
for like six years, and this has been growing
and growing and growing, and SPARC is just the
awesome thing you ever been to. If you’re a student out there,
please come next year. Go ahead,
start pushing the limits. I’d love to bring
my daughter maybe next year just to see cause you don’t
get that degree of interaction on such a level playing field,
enjoying each other, laughing together,
singing together. That’s a beautiful thing to see. Watching how they really
put acceptance and empathy and compassion to use
is just outstanding. Coming here you could
just surround yourself and think this is really all
that’s right with the world and everything is gonna be okay. Yes, it is. Yes, it is. Whatever you’re looking for
is out there somewhere. (Applause.) I want them to take
it with them. I want them to take
the Live Art love, the Live Art unity,
the Live Art dream and take it with them
into their lives and be exceptionally
kind to people, be exceptionally inclusive and
have people understand that this is what we need, this is what
you need to give to others and have people take that away
and give it to the world. (Crowd Noise.)

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