Black Arts MKE collaborated with Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc. Epsilon Kappa Omega Chapter Sorority to provide a unique week-long summer camp opportunity in dance. I AM. Masterclass exposed local youth to James Gilmer, an accomplished Black artist with the internationally acclaimed African American dance company – Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. The collaboration included hosting 100 local MPS students at the recent Alvin Ailey Performance at the Marcus Center. The dance program is generously sponsored by Gloria F. Gilmer, Philip and Beatrice Blank and the Pauline Redmond Coggs Foundation.
Black Arts MKE’s inaugural I AM. Masterclass took take place at the Marcus Performing Arts Center, June 20-24, 2022 included a culminating performance for youth families and friends. Each student applicant was required to provide an essay to be eligible for the I AM. Masterclass. “I love dancing. The art of dancing is amazing, the way your body is able to move swiftly with the rhythm within every step is so mesmerizing. I believe that dance tells a story and every time you dance, you’re telling yours,” says 14-year-old Muna Heissan of Carter Christian Academy.
Executive Director Barbara Wanzo says, “We’re continually looking for impactful ways to inspire creativity in our youth. We have incredible MKE-based talent who work with students every day. Still, so many youth never have the opportunity to travel beyond Milwaukee, not to mention get direct exposure to this caliber of performing arts talent. Thanks to the Epsilon Kappa Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., we had a wonderful opportunity to not only launch an exciting new program, but to expose youth to the infinite possibilities for their future. As is often said in our community, ‘If they see it, they will believe it.’”