Monday, December 10, 2012

Outreach in the Deaf Community Campaign

White Space Writer/Director/Actress Maya Washington,
Actor CJ Jones, Interpreter Lisa Arroyos,
 Actress/Poet Tanya Alexander at
Hollywood Black Film Festival
Throughout the past year, White Space has made its way around the United States and remote parts of the world as far away as Budapest. Although the film has appeared in two deaf film festivals (Seattle Deaf Film Festival and Maine Deaf Film Festival) and one disability festival (Cinema Touching Disability Festival), 2013 will be focused on reaching deaf audiences with the work that has opened the eyes of many of in the hearing world.

The biggest challenge for White Space on the festival circuit is that most "mainstream" festivals do not present captioned versions of the films presented.  As a result, attendance by deaf or hard of hearing patrons at mainstream festivals is nearly non-existent.

Whenever possible, White Space Poetry Project curates screenings and other events to include American Sign Language interpreters, deaf actors, poets and community partners in the deaf community.  2013 presents a great opportunity to do even more.

Maya Washington and Lisa Arroyos

With the help of community partners, friends and others like Youth Performance Company, VSA Minnesota, Sign World TV and Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness, White Space Poetry Project will continue to provide accessible low to no-cost screenings of White Space, panel discussions, poetry performances and writing workshops for youth and adults. The push will involve outreach efforts in Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York and Washington, DC.

Poetry Workshop Students

Hundreds of hearing students have engaged with the work of White Space Poetry Project throughout 2012.  Through the 2013 Deaf Outreach Campaign, the focus will shift to creating opportunities for hearing and deaf students, teaching artists and poets to work with both hearing and deaf audiences in addition to continued collaborations between deaf and hearing poets as well as "mainstream" educational environments.

White Space Poetry Project has created a unique experience for all who have come into contact with the magic of White Space and the idea that creative opportunity exists between the hearing world and the deaf world.  Creating bridges and common ground between hearing and deaf culture can be challenging for those on both sides of the equation, yet the rewards are great and the White Space that connects us all.

If you are interested in supporting the work of White Space Poetry Project in 2013, consider a tax-deductible gift to our annual giving campaign today!

Khary Jackson and Jonathan Roberts
at Loft Literary Center