King Street Block Comes Alive with Saturday Event
Naa Koikoi Aziza Zenzile Kebey (at top) – a poet, multimedia artist, and activist – will present her poetry at 1 p.m.
POTTSTOWN PA – Expect the 300 block of King Street, outside the YWCA Tri-County Area, to be transformed Saturday (Oct. 23, 2021) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a community event that unveils a street art installation and includes a student art contest, dance, poetry, music, games, food, community resources, and employment opportunities.
The local art and activities are part of a more-than-20-years national YWCA observance of October’s annual “Week Without Violence.” Its theme this year, “Beyond Resilience: From Surviving to Thriving,” is intended to bring people together to celebrate unity, reject violence, and create a space for conversations and healing.
The line-up of artists, collaborators, community partners, and vendors has been chosen for their work to uplift communities and create opportunities for people of all ages. They’ll engage with one another through art, movement, dance, and music, while creating opportunities for dialog centered around peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all, promoters said.
The day’s participating artists
The list of performers, entertainers, educators, and resources includes:
- Street artists Drew Montemayor, Erin, and Feesah, who are collaborating on a street art installation commissioned by YWCA Tri-County Area;
- Poets Cydney Brown, the 2020-2021 Philadelphia Youth Poet Laureate and a senior at Abington Friends School, and Naa Koikoi Aziza Zenzile Kebey, a poet, activist, griot, published author, vocalist, educator, and hair culturalist;
- DJ Vijay Das of Loud Radio PA;
- Performances of the West Powelton Drummers and Steppers – 76ers Stixers;
- Dance companies from the Tri-County and Greater Philadelphia areas, including Visions Dance and JCWK Dance Lab;
- Jessica C. Warchal-King, a performer, choreographer, educator, and arts advocate, and director and founder of JCWK Dance Lab;
- Laura Cobbs of Visions Dance Performance Company in Boyertown;
- Edna Garcia, James Williams, and Ashanique Monlyn of the Reading-based RIZE Program, a youth arts non-profit organization;
- The Berks County-based Alvernia Dance Company; and
- Concrete Cowgirl Erin Brown, executive director of the Philadelphia Urban Riding Academy, an organization that aims to diversify equestrian sports and reduce youth violence.
The event also will showcase the artwork of Tri-County area middle and high school students who have submitted original art for display in the Week Without Violence art contest. Community members at the event may cast their votes for their favorite student art. Student artists will be honored at a reception later this year.
Food prepared by the YWCA’s Dignity Kitchen will be available for sale. Proceeds will benefit Dignity Kitchen, which offers empowerment through food service training, sustainability through social enterprise, community engagement through food service, and hunger relief through its commercial kitchen in Norristown.
Sponsors and partners
Event sponsors include Comcast NBC Universal, Genesis Housing Corporation, Sherwin Williams, Pottstown Neighborhood Partnership Projects, Hobart’s Run, WSFS Bank, Pottstown Hospital-Tower Health, Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell and Hippel LLP, the Gulati Family Foundation, the Pottstown First Baptist Church, A Star is Born Financial Services, Herr’s Snack Foods, and Wawa.
Community partners and vendors include NAACP, POWER Interfaith, Pottstown Community Arts, Art Fusion 1964, PTICC, Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP, Widoktadwen Center for Native Knowledge, Pottstown Community Action, Montgomery County Commissioners Office, The Camel Project, Strive, Trellis, PULP, Absolutely Fly, SQS Party Affairs. The YWCA will be represented by its Dignity Kitchen, Early Learning Center, Youth Empowerment Program, Foster Grandparent Program, Advocacy, AmeriCorps DAWN, Adult Education and Training Center, Mission Engagement employment opportunities, and its development and marketing team.
Photos provided by the YWCA Tri-County Area