- Views & Opinions
Express Yourself Milwaukee will present SOUL, an evening celebrating the culmination of creative work done by young people and professional artists working in collaboration through Express Yourself Milwaukee’s yearlong multi-disciplinary arts exploration. The performance brings together dance, music, spoken word and visual arts.
Express Yourself Milwaukee is a local non-profit that works with low-income and at-risk youth in Milwaukee’s central city. The youth learn to express themselves in healthy, positive ways using a variety of creative means.
SOUL will be performed on May 4 at 6:30 p.m. at the Milwaukee Theatre, located at 500 W. Kilbourn Ave. in downtown Milwaukee. The family-friendly event is free and open to the general public. Donations will be accepted. Look for the train stations located throughout the theater to catch the conductors and leave a donation.
Express Yourself Milwaukee selects a different theme to focus their creative work on each year culminating in a final public performance. The theme of this year’s production is SOUL and is defined as the inner force that keeps one moving forward, ignites meaning, purpose and positivity in one’s life, and is connected and expressed through community. The May 4 performance of SOUL will include 120 youth, 30 artists and musicians.
“We chose the metaphor of a ‘soul train’ to remind us all to get on board with our soul family,” said Lori Vance, founder and executive director. “The young people and adult artists who have worked on SOUL have created for Milwaukee an energetic, immersive experience that will surprise audiences with its creative commingling of artistic forms. Our hope is that the work will inspire, touch and deepen everyone’s commitment to the youth in our city and the changes we need to make together.”
“Milwaukee is blessed to have an organization like Express Yourself Milwaukee that does such positive and creative work with Milwaukee’s disadvantaged and at-risk youth,” said visual artist and former Milwaukee Bucks player Desmond Mason, who recently did a weeklong residency working with Express Yourself Milwaukee. “I wish the town I grew up in had something like that. I personally know how important art has been in my own life, so it was wonderful to work with Express Yourself students and staff artists to create visual elements that will appear in their final big showcase of the year.”
“The exceptional artistic team and leaders at Express Yourself Milwaukee care so much about the youth in this city,” said David Wake, local musician and Express Yourself Milwaukee music director. “The ongoing dedication to helping people realize that there are alternatives out there to find hope and bring unity to community, never ceases to amaze me. I am so proud to bare witness time and again as desperate stories of division and disenfranchisement make way to real examples of togetherness through the healing power of art.”
For more information about Express Yourself Milwaukee and their upcoming performance of SOUL, please visit exyomke.org or call 414-272-3498.