5E/Heru celebrate building reopening by hosting January DFY gathering

February 29, 2012

Tanesha Fashion performs "It's Me"
DETROIT – The 5 Elements Gallery and the Heru Organization were joined by the rest of the Detroit Future Youth (DFY) groups in celebrating the reopening of their non-profit visual art and hip-hop culture gallery on January 28 in Detroit's historic Corktown District. Approximately 70 community members from the 12 DFY member organizations and their supporters turned out for the event which featured workshops centered around 5E/Heru's seven power principles, performing arts, hip hop fashion exhibits and a special meal prepared by local family-owned caterer Sunflower Mama.
“We now have our building back to do our programming in a consistent space,” said 5E's Piper Carter. “We had been like nomads bringing our technology and learning into various environments, which was great as far as exposure for ourselves and our youth. Now we will have a space they can call their own, and they are very excited about helping take care of the building as well as continuing the workshops and field trips.”
DJ Sicari Ware turns over the wheels of steele to 5E Youth
The 5E Gallery was founded by Detroit Disc Jockey Sicari Ware in 2008 as a creative outlet for the city's art and music communities. Its mission is to increase public awareness and appreciation of Detroit's contemporary visual arts and music communities through exhibitions and educational programs. 5E and The Heru work collaboratively to support and mentor young up-and-coming local artists.
The groups believe that contemporary art and Hip Hop transcend international boundaries and involve all forms of visual expression, including painting, sculpture, drawings, prints, illustrated books, photography, architecture, design, film and video. They also embrace new art forms, which reflect and explore the artistic issues of today, but are yet to be developed or understood.
“It was awesome to see the 5 Elements Gallery space open again,” said DFY Coordinator Alia-Harvey Quinn. “5 Elements Gallery has been a partner on the deepest level, before the Detroit Future work even formally began. As a member of the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition, 5 Elements Gallery helped create the vision for this work. It has been an honor to support them and the work they do with young people.”
DFY Youth discuss principles during a breakout session
Following an opening reception catered by Akila Muhammad's Sunflower Mama's Vegan Catering featuring locally grown organic food, the gathering broke out into workshops to discuss each of the groups' seven power principles. Those principles are: cultivating self knowledge and awareness, recognizing self as the beginning of community, deliberately practicing positive and productive expressions, respecting organic learning and all intelligence, positively creating reality to empower others, nurturingly inspiring accountability, and growing substantial infrastructure to help the community flourish.
The gathering then reconvened to creatively share their reflections on the principles. The innovative ways of presenting those reflections ranged from call-and-response, to skits, to improvised rhyme saying. That was followed by a presentation on collaborative economics by Detroit Future's Jaun Martinez, who is also a member of the Beehive Collective. Cooperative economics is one of the core principles shared by DFY, 5E and The Heru. As part of the DFY Collective the groups have been partnering to develop cooperative economic models developed by area youth.
“It was informative, interactive, completely in line with our principles as well as the principles of the Detroit Future Collective,” said Carter. “It was fun for all.”
The fun didn't stop there as the event was highlighted by a non-stop fashion show accompanied by DJ Sicari's music with 5E/Heru artists King Kold, Taneesha Fashion, Bryce Anderson-Smalls and Kadiri “Sirius” Dobey taking the mic. King Kold performed “Let 'em Know.” Young Teneesha stole the show with her performance of “It's Me,” and Bryce and Kadiri brought down the house with a new version of their food justice anthem “Bootleg Food.”
5E member struts his stuff during fashion show
“As far as 5E/Heru we are structuring our programming more,” Carter said. “We will have slightly more formal skill learning with regard to media creation, software, principle building, media literacy, constructing messages, building issue based campaigns, refining media skills, critiquing our work, researching facts, etc. Our way is more organic and we will continue with this organic style of facilitating as well as include a consistent time for structured learning activities.”
The January gathering marked a milestone in the progress of the DFY Network. Coordinators said they are looking forward to deepening the work of the network for the remainder of the programs funding cycle.
“One of the overarching goals of Detroit Future Youth is to facilitate deepened relationships among the partners,” Harvey-Quinn said. “We do this largely through gatherings, which are hosted on a rotating basis by one of the partnering organizations and attended by all the other organizations. I think this gathering proved that relationships are deepening.
“It was great to see youth from different organizations, backgrounds, neighborhoods, and ethnicities dancing and having fun together. And for Detroit Future Youth, working to deepen relationships is not just about creating feel-good-moments; we work to deepen relationships to increase our capacity and sustainability. At the end of this 16 month funding period, because of the time spent together, these groups should be comfortable attending each others workshops, sharing curriculum, partnering, asking for support and offering support. Facilitating deepened relationships means that our work will continue even if funding is unavailable.”
For more information on the groups involved in this event visit: 5egallery.org, theheru.org, detroitmuralfactory.com or youth.detroitfuture.org or Sunflower Mama at http://www.facebook.com/pages/SunflowerMamas-Vegan-catering-and-Gluten-free-soups/375886795760794?ref=ts&sk=wall.