Peacebuilders Camp at Koinonia Farm

Who has access to the arts?

At Peacebuilders Camp, many of our conversations follow a similar pattern. Campers discuss a particular human right, what groups of people are often denied access to that right and why, and how we can increase everyone’s access to that particular right. This year we followed that same pattern of analysis during a full day analyzing and immersing ourselves in “the right to enjoy the arts.”

During one discussion we split into breakout groups, and each small group watched a few different Youtube videos describing access issues to the arts. For example, one video was about children living in a dump being empowered through a photography program. Another was about a choir competition in which the judges had to travel to see a Men’s Choir perform because it was a prison choir that could not compete at the show in person. We discussed the fact that all people (including prisoners) are human beings and that your inherent human rights should not be taken from you no matter what. All groups recognized that practicing the arts accomplished many other things besides creating art, like increasing health and building community.

Dancer Lane Salter joined us from Atlanta to conduct a dance workshop. Campers had a great time moving, playing games, and making up their own dance sequences. Lane invited campers to express themselves through movement and challenged them to use their bodies to imagine being someone who is typically denied access to dance as an art form. They focused on four big ideas:

  1. Dance is a language.
  2. Dance helps us connect to others.
  3. Dance helps us express who we are.
  4. Everyone can dance.

After starting the day off on this positive note, most of Friday was spent finishing up our collaborative art project (final reveal coming soon!) and rehearsing for the talent show. We invited the entire Koinonia community to join us at the talent show, and many Koinonians contributed their talents as well. Overall it was a varied show that included a capella singing, rapping, guitar, keyboard, comedy, hula hooping, a monologue reading, folk singing, and more. For one camper we set up a projector and showed a video of her performing on trapeze because her talent couldn’t fit in the chapel. We also had a moving partner performance from our two counselors with Tabatha performing spoken word while Freedom did a live painting in the background. It was a wonderful show and hard to believe most of these campers just met on Monday. I always wonder if their paths will cross again and how they will end up using their talents in the future.

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