URBANA – Climbing PoeTree arts activists Alixa Garcia and Naima Penniman will be artists-in-residence today through Thursday at Unit One/Allen Hall on the University of Illinois campus.
With roots in Haiti and Colombia, Garcia and Penniman live in Brooklyn and travel the globe on a mission to overcome destruction with creativity. They have worked with other poets such as Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, Danny Glover, The Last Poets, and Dead Prez; led workshops in institutions from Cornell University to Riker's Island; and painted murals on walls from the Bronx to Santiago, Toronto to Jamaica.
All of their events will take place in the South Rec Room of Allen Hall, 1005 W. Gregory St., U and are free and open to the public. The schedule:
– 7 p.m. today. "Art is Our Weapon, Our Medicine, Our Weapon, Our Medicine, Our Voice, Our Vision." A spoken word and slide-show presentation inspired by their career as arts activists under the name Climbing PoeTree. Participants will have an opportunity to contribute their personal manifestos to S.T.I.T.C.H.E.D., a tapestry of Stories, Testimonies, Intentions, Truths, Confessions, Healing, Expressions, and Dreams that Garcia and Penniman have collected and stitched together from 3,000 individuals since Hurricane Katrina.
– 7 p.m. Monday. Bookmaking Workshop. Participants will create their own hardcover journals from salvaged and recycled materials. Garcia and Penniman discuss their experiences as arts educators, creating curriculum for at-risk youth and children of incarcerated parents.
– 7 p.m. Tuesday. Writing Workshop: Planting PoeTree. The workshop will seed poems rooted in the experiences of participants.
– 7 p.m. Wednesday. Stencil Graffiti. An introduction to street art techniques such as stenciling, wheat pasting and spray paint. The participants will create a collaborative mural on plywood.
– Noon Thursday. "Poetry is Not a Luxury," a lunch date with Climbing PoeTree, La Casa Cultural Latina, 1203 W. Nevada St., U.
– 7 p.m. Fashion Statement: Silk-Screening and Stenciling Clothing. Participants are asked to bring blank T-shirts, sweatshirts or any article of clothing that needs new life. They will silk-screen and stencil on the fabric. Participants also will finish the mural begun earlier in the week.