Wes Sam Bruce: Banners of Being

January 17, 2020

This week, our youth were delighted to welcome back to the studio collaborating guest visual artist Wes Sam Bruce. Wes hand cut and dyed individual cloth banners for each youth, that incorporated a word of being – such as “Be Creative”, “Be Wonder, “Be Heard”. Wes spoke to the kids about how “the root of the word imagination is “Imaginari”, which means to picture oneself. The language we use to picture ourselves, to communicate and to make art with can act as keys to open doors into new selves – our imagination creates our reality!”

Like receiving a fortune cookie or opening a present, each youth got to pick a banner scroll and discover their word, handwritten by Wes. They were asked to reflect on how they personally connected to their word and were then given the freedom to paint their own interpretation of it through color, line and shape.

Our youth really connected to this project, and took deep ownership over their words. For some, like the word “Be Forgiving”, the word brought up what youth are actively working on in their lives. For others words like “Be Radiant” or “Be Childlike” allowed the youth to delight in the joyful aspects of themselves.

The youth were extremely proud of their work and felt very moved by the ability to see themselves in such an empowering way. The youth then created lists of “Being” that they took home to remind themselves of all the things they want to imagine themselves to be in the coming year.

All these banners, created by youth from across all our programs in Massachusetts, will be sewn together in community for our annual performance IMAGINE NATION and later on exhibit. Mark your calendars to see how these powerful banners take shape on stage at the Boch Center Wang Theatre on May 21st, 2020.