The Empowerment of Art

During the 20th Anniversary Empowerment Congress Summit at the
University of Southern California (USC), the Watts Village Theater Company (WVTC) partnered with LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas’ Empowerment Congress Arts & Culture Committee to present “The Empowerment of Art,” moderated by WVTC’s Artistic Director, Guillermo Avilés-Rodríguez.

“The Empowerment of Art” included interactive performances by WVTC, the Los Angeles Poverty Department and the Performing Arts for Life and Education Foundation, as well as screenings by the Wende Museum and Streetlamp Studio. In addition, panels were conducted featuring representatives from over a dozen arts organizations across LA’s 2nd supervisorial district, including Make Music Los Angeles, LA Commons, Outfest and the World Stage. The performances and panels focused on how the arts educate and empower the district’s underserved communities. WVTC’s interactive workshop, co-moderated by WVTC’s Educational Coordinator Raul Cardona and Associate Artistic Director David Guerra, included a calland-response of a series of Mayan myths with the summit participants. Participants also made colorful drawings and performed reenactments of the ancient tales. As WVTC’s Managing Director andEmpowerment Congress Arts & Culture Committee Chair, David Mack, noted, “participatory workshops are a unique way for LA’s residents to connect to the crucial and transformative effect the arts has on our communities.”

Over 200 participants attended “The Empowerment of Art,” the first summit workshop produced by Arts & Culture, the Empowerment Congress’ newest committee, and attendees included artists, community activists, government officials and civic leaders. During March, the committee, now the fastest growing in the Empowerment Congress with over 20 arts organizations represented, will launch a series of performances throughout the 2nd district commemorating World Theatre Day and honoring the spirit of the Congress’ celebration of “The Year of Empowerment.”

Important Links after jump

Watts Village Theater Company
Founded in 1996 by actor and Watts community activist Quentin Drew and actor/playwright Lynn Manning as an outgrowth of Cornerstone Theater Company’s residency in Watts, Watts Village Theater Company is a multicultural urban company that seeks to inspire its community with an appreciation of all cultures through
new works about contemporary social issues.

Wende Museum
A collections-based research and education institute that preserves Cold War artifacts and history, making resources available to scholars and applying historical lessons of the past to the present.

Organization to bridge audiences, filmmakers, and the entertainment industry through exhibition of queer-themed films and videos

Your 2nd District Art and Culture Organizations:

Lula Washington Dance Theater

• Watts Village Theater Company

Streetlamp Studio

• Wende Museum

Arts for LA

24th Street Theatre

Make Music Los Angeles

Los Angeles Poverty Department

Southern California Library

PALEF [Performing Arts For Life And Education Foundation]

LA Commons

Ebony Repertory Theatre

The World Stage

Towne Street Theatre

• Lennox Arts & Culture Committee



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