The first ever West Side Open Mic, was a rousing success. Held Friday February 24, 2012 inside the Grant Street Neighborhood Center (GSNC), the community appreciated this event (judging by the many happy faces in attendance), by blessing us with their attendance. Organizers estimate that as many as 150-175 people attended the event. People and performers alike just had a good, ole time.
More than just giving young people something to do, the open mic was first conceived by young people (who use the GSNC on a daily basis), as a way of creatively using the space to engage the surrounding community. What could be better than neighbors getting together to appreciate the young talent in their own back yard?
The types performances ran the gamut of artistic creativity. Included in the line up of the 18 artists who performed were; poets, MC's (some may refer to them as rappers), gospel hip hoppers, acoustic guitarists, violin players, singers, dance performances, an art painting performance, and some essay readings.
Performers who especially went in, and did their thing were; Mariah Tirado (poetry), Jamar Crump (dancing), Desinty and Ambilique Sierra (singing separate songs), and Eddie Bristow (accompanying guitar).
A special shout out of appreciation goes out to all volunteers for this event. These volunteers included students from several high schools through the Speak Your Mind & Shape Your World literary journal (Elizabeth Borngraber). Students/volunteers from Buffalo State College, Houghton College, the GSNC (Megan Little), and PUSH Buffalo members also helped out. Students from these colleges, Buffalo city common council member David Rivera (who has been a supporter of GSNC since day one), as well as many people from outside the immediate neighborhood were in the audience. The sound system for the event was donated for the evening by Ismail & Company.
Community control of resources, or the control of something by the community. This is what PUSH Buffalo has been preaching since first forming. When the people who live in a neighborhood can control what goes on (in this case a key building/community center) on their block, only good things can happen for them. Just imagine what would've happened if the library (GSNC) was left mothballed. Community building events like the West Side Open Mic would never have been conceived, let alone happen. The only thing that would've been celebrated in that location on February 24, would have been blight.
Posted on Wed, March 14, 2012