The Phinney Neighborhood Association is partnering with Mirror Stage to create “Contexpo: Incarceration & Redemption”, a free arts program that is welcoming to all. The first set of Contexpo arts events will be held this Friday and Saturday (6/24 & 6/25) in the upper floor of the Phinney Center’s Blue Building at 6532 Phinney Ave N. All events are free and open to the public.
It begins tomorrow, on Friday, June 24 at 6pm with an art exhibit reception. Following the art exhibit reception, there will be an open mic Poetry Slam at 7pm hosted by legendary poet, Miz Floes. Miz Floes will share pieces throughout the night, and all poets and spoken word artists are invited to participate by presenting pieces that explore the concepts of incarceration and redemption.
There will be a lineup of artists including rapper Tycarius Cummings, poet Raul Sanchez, former convict turned speaker Omari Amili, as well as visual artists from incarcerated artists.
Mirror Stage is a non-profit arts organization which uses the power of storytelling (in all its forms) to challenge assumptions, bias, and prejudice. With this new programming series, created by artistic associate QuiQui Dominguez, Mirror Stage is using the performing arts as a way to spark conversations about important issues in today’s world, while providing a platform for historically excluded voices and faces.
About Poetry Slam Host, Miz Floes:
Miz Floes (she/her) is a vocalist, author, producer, playwright, actress, and Spoken Word artist living in Seattle. Critics have described her sound as mature and smooth. Miz Floes grew up in inner-city Chicago where, she says, she was surrounded by violence and poverty. She credits the literary arts for saving her. As a woman, mother, grandmother, and member of the BIPOC community, Floes seeks to transform pain into art and productively release it back into the community.
About “Life After Prison: The Prison-to-School Pipeline” Speaker, Omari Amili:
Omari Amili (he/him) is an author, speaker, and community organizer. Since his release from prison in 2008, he earned a master’s degree from the University of Washington Tacoma, where his research focused on the benefits of college education for formerly incarcerated people. In 2018, he was named a Distinguished Alumni by Pierce College, and has been featured in the Seattle Times and the News Tribune.
Following his conviction on 30 felonies related to bank fraud, Omari was released from prison and climbed his way up from a GED to earning a master’s degree. Since graduating, he has used his voice to change the narrative and introduce new possibilities for individuals from backgrounds like his.
“I want to help products of the school-to-prison pipeline enter the prison-to-college pipeline.”