PageSlayers Session One is a Wrap!

From Mail Art & Yoga to Reverse Lipographs & Open-Mics, Our Campers SLAYED.

 Writing a letter to his new pen pal; photo credit: Alex Delbeau-Charles

Writing a letter to his new pen pal; photo credit: Alex Delbeau-Charles

Over the last three weeks, so many wonderful things have happened in Opa-Locka with our PageSlayers. Read on for highlights, cute pics, and awe-inspiring words!

SIDEXSIDE Pilot a success!

During our first week, we had the amazing Elia Khalaf come in and lead our students in zine-making, as well as workshops on mail art. As part of our collaboration with EXILE Books, he, along with founder PageSlayers Dana De Greff, led our campers in the art of writing letters, the epistolary form (poetry in the form of letters), and they even designed the VERY FIRST OPA-LOCKA STAMP! Our PageSlayers wrote letters to kids in Little Haiti in collaboration with Gang Alternative, and the results were magical...

 PageSlayers' letters and stamps; photo credit: Alex Delbeau-Charles

PageSlayers' letters and stamps; photo credit: Alex Delbeau-Charles

 Ms. Shameka reads a letter with camper, Kourtney; photo credit: Alex Delbeau-Charles

Ms. Shameka reads a letter with camper, Kourtney; photo credit: Alex Delbeau-Charles

 Mr. Elia leads campers in the art of stamps; photo credit: Alex Delbeau-Charles

Mr. Elia leads campers in the art of stamps; photo credit: Alex Delbeau-Charles

 Old Opa-Locka City Hall, colored in by a student, then transformed into a stamp; photo credit: Alex Delbeau-Charles

Old Opa-Locka City Hall, colored in by a student, then transformed into a stamp; photo credit: Alex Delbeau-Charles

 Combining an element from each individual's stamp, our PageSlayers colellectively created the very first Opa-Locka stamp!

Combining an element from each individual's stamp, our PageSlayers colellectively created the very first Opa-Locka stamp!

Poetry with Roger Reeves

“Poetry is different from a story, or a movie.” During our second week of camp we had renowned poet Roger Reeves as a guest artist; he started the morning discussing the question many of us ask ourselves all the time: what is poetry? Our kids came up with great responses like “sometimes it rhymes, and sometimes it doesn't, and sometimes it talks about what it’s doing.”

 PageSlayer Jalahn thinking hard with Mr. Reeves

PageSlayer Jalahn thinking hard with Mr. Reeves

Then they came up with a list of “a” words to form a reverse lipograph: instead of omitting letters or words, they were challenfed to include words with the letter “a” to make their “A” poems.

 Class pic with Mr. Reeves!

Class pic with Mr. Reeves!

Here’s a sample of what they came up with:

Asia Brennen

Jalahn Panda aloud and crazy,

alive as a crab

Outlasts a shark

that laughs in the water

sassy and mean

all around that land

Awesome water and crazy

Thanks, Samantha.

 

Jalahn Hudson

A car and a flag

apple dancing and I am

as small as an apple

and a baby that’s leaping

imagine a sassy baby

imagine a cat that has feathers

laying candy

that has parents and a dragon

 

We also had some yoga!

 Yoga burrito? Photo credit: Maria Esquinca

Yoga burrito? Photo credit: Maria Esquinca

Merging poetry, yoga, and mediation, our last week included a visit from poet and yogi, Becca Medevin, who said "yoga, meditation, and writing offer us life-changing tools. It is a gift to be able to share these tools with the PageSlayers students."

 Slayers do the downward dog!

Slayers do the downward dog!

Our Slayers listened to their breathing, stretched, moved, wrote, and shared from the heart, coming up with some wonderful words and physical expressions of poetry.

And a beautiful and awe-inspiring open-mic

 Keep in touch, Session One Slayers! Photo credit: Alex Delbeau-Charles

Keep in touch, Session One Slayers! Photo credit: Alex Delbeau-Charles

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And of course, many thanks to our partners at the OLCDC, Thrive Innovation District, The Knight Foundation, Miami Dade Community Grants, the WaveMaker Grants, Locust Projects and Andy Warhol Foundation, and EXILE Books! We love you! 

 Happy to be reading, writing, and making new friends photo credit: Alex Delbeau-Charles

Happy to be reading, writing, and making new friends photo credit: Alex Delbeau-Charles

 

 

 

From PageSlayers to Published Author

Last summer, Javan Allison, a student at Norwood Elementary, attended the inaugural session of PageSlayers Summer Camp. Less than a year later, he’s the published co-author of a new children’s book series: The Adventures of Javan and the 3 A’s. Javan and his mother, Monique Cooper, co-wrote the first book, #AsthmaSucks, which was released this past March. Since then, Javan has performed at readings and held book signings, taking the idea of Slaying to new levels!

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Can you tell us a little bit about The Adventures of Javan & The 3 A’s? The Adventures of Javan and the 3 A's is about a boy named Javan who describes how he feels with his disabilities through imaginary adventures. The 3 A's stand for Asthma, ADHD and Anxiety. Javan was diagnosed with all 3 and has been tackling these illnesses on a day to day basis.  

What kind of book is it? The book is an informative yet educational children's book to help children understand their disabilities so they can better communicate how they are feeling, and for parents to understand them from a child's perspective.

What inspired Javan to write his own book? Javan had an opportunity to meet a young writer on a school field trip and knew then [that] it was possible to be a writer but didnt know how to go about it until [he] attended camp last summer with PageSlayers.

When did Javan first start writing creatively? Javan started writing creatively at [PageSlayers’] writing camp when he wrote about his dad's red junky car. It was a unique passage about his dad's car and he was very detailed and he brought humor to it as well.

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How do you think PageSlayers may have affected Javan’s writing process? PageSlayers played a great impact on Javan's writing; [the camp] was his push to start writing and they made it fun [and he realized that it’s] also a great thing to be a Writer/Author.

Do you think Javan will keep writing more books? Yes, the first book that was published on March 30th, 2018 was #AsthmaSucks, which is the first book in the 3 book series. This is where Javan describes how he feels and ways to prevent severe attacks [within his] imaginary adventures. The next two books to be released will focus on the topics of ADHD and Anxiety.

Where can other students, parents, and supporters find the book? You can find the books on Amazon.com and BarnesAndNoble.com.

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PageSlayers Welcomes Guest Artist, Elia Khalaf

Throughout the summer, our instructors will once again be joined by several visiting artists who work and create art within Miami and beyond. Our hope is to introduce our campers to working artists whose careers may inspire them to visualize their own creative lives in a new light. In addition, our guests can help connect our students to the greater artistic community with Miami and beyond. Now that we are less than 1 week away from starting our first camp session, we thought it would be a great time to introduce one of our visiting artists. Below, you can find our Q&A with Elia Khalaf, a visual artist and graphic designer living between New York and Miami. He has worked as a designer for EXILE Books, Books are Nice, and The New World Symphony. Elia is currently spearheading a project called Made Up Memories as a Miami Awesome Foundation grantee.

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1. What kind of work do you do? My work deals with issues of public amnesia and construction of identity through narrative bookmaking and community-based art.

2. What are you looking forward to most during your time with PageSlayers? I am thrilled to foster a safe playspace of self-expression with PageSlayers. I can’t wait to see the campers’ inspirations and inner-worlds materializing!

3. What lesson are you most excited to share with the campers? That we are walking, talking stories and we CAN author our own lives.

4. Why do you think it is important for students in Miami to be exposed to art and creative writing at a young age? Young students in Miami, for all this city’s cultural richness and diversity, need to be exposed to art and creative writing to be inspired—to witness the power of collaboration, and to develop their own unique voice.

5. Where can students, parents, and supporters find your work? Check out my portfolio at elia-khalaf.com or my Instagram, @eleeyuh.