- IMAGE COURTESY OF ANYA KANDEL
- PRESS PLAY : Momentus International is comprised of 15 youths from Santa Maria to San Luis Obispo who will come together to participate in an international conversation through art. With the help of local artist mentors, these young people will work to create a performance that expresses their message to the world, and gives a glimpse into our community from the eyes of our youth. In their second week together, they will be engaging with our community, speaking on Spanish and English radio stations, and television. A bilingual documentary will be made of the process, and will be shown locally and to their peers across the globe. These events take place July 31 from 6:30–8 p.m. at ARTS Space Obispo in the SLO Creamery, 570 Higuera St. Info: 544-9251 and Aug. 7 from 6-9 p.m. at Linnaea’s Café, 1110 Garden St. in San Luis Obispo. Info: momentusinternational.org/dana/ or (510) 847-4837.
New Times How did Momentus International start?
Anya Kandel I did my thesis on storytelling in Ghana. That spurred my inspiration for this project, which is studying inter-cultural communication, and I founded Momentus International a few years ago, in the Netherlands and in Ghana. In Ghana we were there for three months and worked in three different regions. Youths worked with local artists to create performances that expressed who they are.
New Times When you travel to these places what is the experience like—finding the students and artists?
Kandel Each place you go is a whole new experience because each culture is so different. The principal and teachers recommended who they thought would benefit from the experience, or encourage those students who had that spark in them.
New Times There seems to be a lot going on, along with many genres of art.
Kandel For the Central Coast Momentus, we have been working for two weeks with youths who have come together and have worked every day with professional artists/mentors for the first week. They attended a workshop in their particular field. [We have] local artists as well as visiting theater artists from San Francisco who did interactive story theater. We have Diana Stanton, who is a dancer, Erma Schauffer who teaches improv at Cal Poly, as well as musician Dave Stamey. Along with the mentorship of these artists and myself, we give the students a space to express themselves and talk about who they are and what is important to them, what impact they want to make on the world. They learn how to work with each other on a local basis, and from there, move outward. They will be on the radio, they will create a film. It’s local to global—that’s the idea.
New Times Tell me about the film.
- IMAGE COURTESY OF ANYA KANDEL
New Times What is going to happen in SLO on July 31 and Aug. 7?
Kandel The youths will screen their film, and a film from Ghana, and there will be a performance, which gives a glimpse into their message to the world. Afterward there will be an interactive talk back, which is inspiring, and gives an opportunity for people who attend the event to participate in a conversation about our local community and what is important to us, to young people, and how they can all collaborate.
New Times Tell me what “Press Play” means?
Kandel We can do something now. It’s not a time to wait. Every single person can do something small to impact the world, and that is how we are going to change. There is a language that goes beyond words: we don’t necessarily need to speak to communicate; we can dance, we can do art, play music.
New Times Why should the community attend the Momentus events?
Kandel It’s an opportunity to hear the voices of young people who are engaged in the community and ready to make a difference. The audience is just as much a part of the performance. It’s a conversation … art is a form of conversation.
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