Premiering at Glass Street Live this year is “Neighbor Rooted,” an original and multidiscipline performance art experience inspired by the history of the Glass Street area.In an effort to bring more meaningful and locally-inspired public art projects into the neighborhoods of Chattanooga, the NeighborRoots grant program was created by the City of Chattanooga to help different neighborhoods celebrate or honor a historical person, place, or event important to that area. Glass House Collective was lucky enough to receive one the grants awarded in the performance arts category and we are so excited to announce that the work will have its premiere at Glass Street Live on Nov 9.
“Neighbor Rooted” is a collaboration between spoken word artist and SWAY creative strategist, Erika Roberts, The Pop Up Project, and local musician/producer, Brophesor X. This is a completely original artwork and we can expect a uniquely layered performance piece featuring spoken word, original choreography and original music inspired by the Glass Street area.
Roberts is the founder of Velvet Poetry Productions and is a Chattanooga-based activist for artistic expression as well a social justice artist. She has been nominated for a 2020 Black Excellence of Chattanooga Award (BEC) in the Best In Arts category.
Roberts said she spent many hours driving through the neighborhood sometimes intentionally taking the drive in from Amnicola Highway through Boyce Station and the surrounding streets to get the feel as if approaching the area for the first time. “I think it’s interesting to drive into a place with that in mind, what does it look like when you’re driving over to Glass Street from Amnicola? Seems like it’s nowhere but then it’s somewhere,” she said.
Also bouncing around her creative brain were beats by BrophesorX, a Chattanooga-based creative, writer and producer. It was BrophesorX’s new mix, “Moksha” that he created for the project, that Erika played over and over during some of the writing sessions for “Neighbor Rooted.” Moksha is a Hindu term about liberation, the release of suffering, and enlightenment. BrophesorX is passionate about how art and holistic practices create meaningful change and used music samples by Outkast and Erykah Badu in “Moksha” to underscore the liberation message throughout.
Taking key words from Erika’s poem, Mattie Waters and Jules Downum from Chattanooga-based Pop-Up Project, choreographed and directed a new dance featuring 5 local dancers. Pop-up Project, known for socially conscious site-specific work, is a highly acclaimed non-profit production company that creates custom performances combining movement, music, and film.
Downum, who holds a master’s in applied anthropology, said the collaboration helps shine a light on trying to make the world a better place. “We live in a world where things aren’t always great and we have limited power and resources to do anything about it,” she said. That’s why it’s important to keep this community’s story a part of Chattanooga’s story. “We’re honoring an area that has been left out and overlooked but is important to all Chattanoogans.”
Five dancers (including two ballet-trained and 3 hip hop dancers) will perform multiple dance segments that are choreographed to move with Erika’s words and BrophesorX’ beats, all rooted in key themes of Community, Empowerment, Unite, Glass Street, Neighbors, and Roots.
Using the platform of our annual block party as a venue, it is our hope that the stories of the historic neighborhood coined Glass Farm that surrounds Glass Street can be experienced in a positive and impactful way that will let everyone see and know that we are so proud of where we live and believe better days are not only within reach but worth reaching for. The opportunity to create, celebrate and share history is one way we continue to believe in what’s possible while attracting new believers to help us get there.
The performance will be premiered at 2pm, with encore performances at 3pm and 4pm. The site-specific performance art piece created for and about Glass Street is a collaboration between The Pop Up Project, Velvet Poetry Productions, Brophesor X, Public Art Chattanooga, Good Neighbor Network, and Glass Farm Neighborhood Association, and Glass House Collective.
Glass Street LIVE! is Saturday, November 9
The intersection of Glass St. and Chamberlain Ave.
Stay In The Loop : Glass Street LIVE! Facebook Event page.
Let’s fill the streets with celebration as we come together with our neighbors! Don’t miss an afternoon of family-friendly activities celebrating local artists, homegrown cooks and business owners, and Chattanooga’s most talented rappers, poets, gospel singers, hip hop artists and dancers!