Transparency: I am a conversational junkie. There I said it. This is my truth and if you know mE in real life, you know this as well. 

I am always looking for the next conversational fix full of insights. 

Have you ever met a person that was so calm that their peace seemed contagious? 

Have you ever met a person so magnetic that sitting with them felt second nature? 

These types of people are rare. Their presence is more than valuable. What they are able to contribute to any conversation is like pure gold. 

Chris Woodhull is that kind of person. I have known Chris for several years and my first impression of him is just as impactful now as it was back then. He is true. He is real.

I was honored to be able to sit with him and just talk. We met up some weeks ago and that conversation was so perfect. We sat in a dope cafe/sandwich shop (The Spot on Main Street)  and connected through our love of art and people.  

Chris Woodhull sat back on the leather sofa and smiled as I began my fun interrogation. We know each other pretty well. He has always been very supportive of my art.  This link up was familiar and welcomed. It was an easy start to what would be a roar of exchanges that lasted for over 2 hours. 

Chris shared that his obsession growing up was for books and boxing. What an amazing combination. Books are gentle as they activate our minds and boxing is aggressive and it activates our body.

Muhammad Ali. Photo credit: Stanley Weston; archive photos, Getty Images

The author of this very animated and famous quote came from Chris’ favorite boxer. This catchy quote has some complexity wrapped in its color. Move through life with grace and gentleness but be ready to stand and fight back. 

I grew up loving boxing as well. My favorite boxer as a kid was Sugar Ray. He had a wind up out of this world. I watched some interviews of Muhammad Ali and fell under his spell. He was very intelligent and very straightforward. 

We spoke on the power of writing. We recognized the healing quality found in the arts. We spoke about race relations. When these 3 things are mentioned in the same conversation there is an immediate shift in the room. 

James Baldwin, photographer unknown

We spoke ocean levels deep on how art is an important component to change. We danced in conversation with all of the greats as we shared our love for poetry and jazz.  

Then there was James Baldwin. This poet, playwright, and activist showed up in spirit, I felt. 

James Baldwin is truly one of my favorite artistic activists. His words are legacy building. When Chris Woodhull said his name, I could see the respect he had for his work. Chris shared that he got to hear him speak (again another moment when I became silent)  and how that changed his life.

Through technology, we can hear and see some of James Baldwin’s conversations. We talked about the conversation between James Baldwin and Nikki Giovanni. This can be found on YOUTUBE. This exchange between these 2 amazing activists is something that I hold in such high poetic reverence. They spoke on the same relevant topics that we face today.  I could see that Chris felt the same as he talked. At one moment he tilted his head to the left and smiled from the inside.  It is his gentle movement between the arts of ode and what is going on today that makes his approach to mentorship so very special. 

This blog is to highlight partners, businesses, and community leaders that work or support the Glass Farm Community.  Chris Woodhull is just that. He began working in the community several years ago. He brought Build Me A World, his non-profit organization that offered mentorship and creative opportunities to the community.

I remember vividly being in some of those sessions. The space was so full of creative expression that I was speechless. When I am rendered into an awesome silence beware it must have been something remarkable. I fell in love with the air in that room. These Creatives …where had they been? Where had I been?  I was forever changed. For those beautiful moments, I am thankful. 

Chris Woodhull is back on Glass Street as co-director of the workforce development group “Build it Green” (BIG).  Build It Green combines mentorship with workforce readiness. 

I recently met some of the mentees/builders. We sat and talked about how this program has helped them. Glass House Collective is excited to have this program in the community. We look forward to highlighting the BIG program more in-depth in the coming weeks. 

Bringing his knowledge, experience, and expertise back to Glass Street ready to work we thank Chris Woodhull for his work past, present & future. 

We heard you! 

We amplify you! 

I encourage everyone to turn on some jazz, grab a James Baldwin book or sit back and watch one of the many videos online about him. 

If you are interested in more information on Chris Woodhull check these links out. 

Creative Mornings: Chris Woodhull

Build Me A World