As communities have grown further apart and people become more divided, Art Prevails Project, a local non-profit, is putting unity at the center of its experiences. The Umoja Cypher Sessions are monthly community gatherings that give people the space and support to discuss difficult social and cultural issues through artistic expression. While isolated cultural clusters foster like-minded group think, the Umoja Cypher Sessions is a welcoming space that aims to be a catalyst for change through meaningful dialogue and community building.
Each gathering is grounded in a social theme and is explored through the lens of a feature art discipline, whether it’s a poetry reading, vocal performance or visual art piece. Together, participants deconstruct the social theme through discussion and the creation of their own artwork with the support of teaching artists. Topics that will be explored include racism, mass incarceration, gentrification, police brutality and more.
“There’s no coming together if we don’t do so truthfully,” said Darius Daughtry, Founder and Artistic Director of Art Prevails Project. “We have to face the ugly, but we can do so beautifully using the arts to promote change.”
Artists and residents gather together for the Umoja Cypher Sessions every second Saturday at various locations throughout Broward. The next event will be held on June 12th at 3:00 p.m. at the FATVillage warehouse district in Downtown Ft. Lauderdale, 531 NW 1st Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL. Subsequent events will be held in FATVillage and at the Old Dillard Arts and Heritage House, 821 NW 8th Court, Fort Lauderdale, FL, in the Sistrunk neighborhood.
The Umoja Cypher Sessions are one of seven new Art of Community projects funded by the Community Foundation of Broward that will help answer the community’s call for social justice. “It’s really the arts that unify us, they heal us, they inspire us,” Community Foundation President/CEO Jennifer O’Flannery Anderson, Ph.D., said. “These programs are going to have an amazing impact on our community.”
Support for the Umoja Cypher Sessions has been provided by the following Funds at the Community Foundation of Broward: Helen and Frank Stoykov Charitable Endowment Fund, Edward Hashek and John Jors Charitable Fund, Leonard & Sally Robbins Fund, and the Everett H. Metcalf, Jr. Unrestricted Fund.