post

Diverse Word | West Lakes

We’ll be hosting Diverse Word in West Lakes every Tuesday from 4pm-6pm in partnership with ArtReach Orlando as another way to engage community members in 32805. Diverse Word is an open mic night that houses everything from performance poetry to stand-up/improv comedy. This night is and always will be FREE (though donations are accepted and appreciated to help fund our quarterly slam competitions and features). Join us for the next installment!

post

Diverse Word | West Lakes

We’ll be hosting Diverse Word in West Lakes every Tuesday from 4pm-6pm in partnership with ArtReach Orlando as another way to engage community members in 32805. Diverse Word is an open mic night that houses everything from performance poetry to stand-up/improv comedy. This night is and always will be FREE (though donations are accepted and appreciated to help fund our quarterly slam competitions and features). Join us for the next installment!

post

Diverse Word | West Lakes

We’ll be hosting Diverse Word in West Lakes every Tuesday from 4pm-6pm in partnership with ArtReach Orlando as another way to engage community members in 32805. Diverse Word is an open mic night that houses everything from performance poetry to stand-up/improv comedy. This night is and always will be FREE (though donations are accepted and appreciated to help fund our quarterly slam competitions and features). Join us for the next installment!

post

Diverse Word | West Lakes

We’ll be hosting Diverse Word in West Lakes every Tuesday from 4pm-6pm in partnership with ArtReach Orlando as another way to engage community members in 32805. Diverse Word is an open mic night that houses everything from performance poetry to stand-up/improv comedy. This night is and always will be FREE (though donations are accepted and appreciated to help fund our quarterly slam competitions and features). Join us for the next installment!

post

Diverse Word | West Lakes

We’ll be hosting Diverse Word in West Lakes every Tuesday from 4pm-6pm in partnership with ArtReach Orlando as another way to engage community members in 32805. Diverse Word is an open mic night that houses everything from performance poetry to stand-up/improv comedy. This night is and always will be FREE (though donations are accepted and appreciated to help fund our quarterly slam competitions and features). Join us for the next installment!

post

Diverse Word | West Lakes

We’ll be hosting Diverse Word in West Lakes every Tuesday from 4pm-6pm in partnership with ArtReach Orlando as another way to engage community members in 32805. Diverse Word is an open mic night that houses everything from performance poetry to stand-up/improv comedy. This night is and always will be FREE (though donations are accepted and appreciated to help fund our quarterly slam competitions and features). Join us for the next installment!

post

Diverse Word | West Lakes

We’ll be hosting Diverse Word in West Lakes every Tuesday from 4pm-6pm in partnership with ArtReach Orlando as another way to engage community members in 32805. Diverse Word is an open mic night that houses everything from performance poetry to stand-up/improv comedy. This night is and always will be FREE (though donations are accepted and appreciated to help fund our quarterly slam competitions and features). Join us for the next installment!

post

Diverse Word | West Lakes

We’ll be hosting Diverse Word in West Lakes every Tuesday from 4pm-6pm in partnership with ArtReach Orlando as another way to engage community members in 32805. Diverse Word is an open mic night that houses everything from performance poetry to stand-up/improv comedy. This night is and always will be FREE (though donations are accepted and appreciated to help fund our quarterly slam competitions and features). Join us for the next installment!

post

Diverse Word | West Lakes

We’ll be hosting Diverse Word in West Lakes every Tuesday from 4pm-6pm in partnership with ArtReach Orlando as another way to engage community members in 32805. Diverse Word is an open mic night that houses everything from performance poetry to stand-up/improv comedy. This night is and always will be FREE (though donations are accepted and appreciated to help fund our quarterly slam competitions and features). Join us for the next installment!

post

Place-Making Through Artistic Expression

Back in 2006, I started an open mic in Orlando, FL called “Diverse Word.” I was a 23-year-old idealist who thought my city could use some diversity within the art of spoken word poetry. It became a success in terms of vision actualized, attendance, and the profit it brought to the local café that hosted it. I heard story after story of how meaningful this open mic was to patrons outside of the obvious enjoyment of free entertainment.

At the ten-year mark last year, I sought to document some of those stories and realized how important it was for forums like this to exist. I heard things like, “I was diagnosed with cancer and I came to the open mic to see how other people dealt with their issues. It was therapeutic for me and I have since been cancer-free.” I’m not saying that poetry cures cancer, but creating a safe space for expression does allow for the sacred spaces of human dreams and desires to be heard and tapped into. The positive outcomes from that expression were a byproduct of the original intent.

Something unique happens when people regularly gather together and express their dreams and desires. I noticed it at my open mic nights. And I learned it while working in communities for Polis Institute. It led me to initiate an open mic arts night that includes music at Lake Lorna Doone Park. We are interested in seeing how this and other opportunities for community art and dialogue will transform this public city space and hopefully create a more welcoming environment for children and families. We’ve collaborated with ArtReach Orlando, and on the Southwest corner of the park, under the broad shade of a tree, set up a blank canvas with paint. What effect will this have on the nearby schools and residents in 10 years?

Amanda Burden is a former NYC city commissioner who now consults globally to improve urban public spaces. She believes that cities must have enjoyable accessible public space to thrive, and has described them as “the glue that holds a city together, and…make[s] people want to live in a city and stay in a city.” In a Ted Talk on the subject, she summed up her philosophy with the thought that “a successful city is like a fabulous party. People stay because they are having a great time.”

As the community of Orlando develops and strengthens all parts of our city, it seems to me that our direction should be to help people have a great time! At a truly fabulous party, everyone gets a turn on the dance floor and the DJ takes all requests. Intentional opportunities for artistic expression can invite in people that don’t always have a voice in the life of the city.

Join us on any given Tuesday for the fabulous party of expression known as Diverse Word: from 4 to 6pm at Lake Lorna Doone Park and from 7:30 to 10pm at Dandelion Communitea Café.

 

 

For more of Amanda Burden’s thoughts on public space, you can watch her 2014 Ted talk or read up on a 2016 NPR interview.