Southern Word speaks to the artist in everyone

Executive Director Benjamin Smith (far right), board members, and poets at recent mixer. (photo: Deborah Culp)

Executive Director Benjamin Smith (far right), board members, and poets at recent mixer. (photo: Deborah Culp)

A recent mixer and ‘show and tell’ of sorts held atop the beautiful Waller Building in downtown Nashville provided a myriad of insight about the ‘Southern Word’ organization. The information, networking, sumptuous foods and mixture of VIP guests, artist and poets provided an educational, mind stimulating experience for all. Nashville’s Mayor Megan Barry stopped by to show support her and encouragement for the young people involved and the organization as a whole.

‘Southern Word’ offers creative solutions for youth to build literacy and presentation skills, reconnect to their education and to their lives, and act as leaders in the improvement of their communities. Among the many resources and artistic genres included are ‘Spoken Word Residencies’ and ‘Workshops,’ ‘Music Production’ and ‘Songwriting Programs,’ ‘Writers in the Schools,’ and the ‘Youth Poet Laureate Program.’

Executive Director Benjamin Smith, Dr. Janet Walsh, state Rep. Harold Love (an event table sponsor), Cheryl Woodard and others shared a wealth of knowledge, down to the nuts and bolts of the program and the importance of the necessary ongoing support.

The National Public Library Foundation, Metro Arts, Studio NPL, and the Tennessee Arts Commission: ‘The Art of Changing Lives’ are some of the key organization sponsors.

Guests participated in an impromptu creative writing class at the end of the gala event. Prior to that, guests were dazzled and wooed by some of the most talented young people taking the craft of spoken word and poetry past the 27th floor level that everyone was already standing on. The spoken word artists didn’t hold back. Their themes ranged from today’s societal issues to real life’s almost racy scenarios about their mindset and body types.

However all was well received and the relevance of the message helped ground the ‘Southern Word’ platforms other artists to come on board. Those talented young people surpassed the courage levels it must have taken to stand before that packed room and confidently release their invaluable talents. The well-received event made it easier for the dignitaries, entrepreneurs, fellow artists and lay people to comply with the executive director’s call for financial support. Amid the sea of beautiful people, a spectacular panoramic rooftop view, a sponsored buffet of tantalizing foods, select beverages (spirited and plain) contributed to the pleasures and documented fond experiences—leaving many wanting to learn more about ‘Southern Word.’