Goshen Rocks! Teen Initiated Arts Expo Comes to the Hilltowns.

Goshen Rocks: Youth Arts Expo Empowers Teen Artists through a Collaborative Network

Teens in western Massachusetts have outstanding skills, knowledge, and creativity to offer to the world! Celebrate their interests and accomplishments at Goshen Rocks: Youth Arts Expo, a collaborative showcase of music, poetry and visual art – all created and performed by local teens!

The Arts Expo is organized through a collaboration between Graffiti Cat Zine and People to Watch: The Next Generation – both are teen initiated arts-based resources that build creative community by connecting local teens with community venues and outlets for sharing their work. In keeping with this mission, Goshen Rocks offers the first event of its kind to western Massachusetts: not only does the expo combine visual, written, and musical creative work, it is the first community-based teen-specific creative event of its kind.

Held on Sunday, March 6th at the Goshen Town Hall in Goshen, MA, Goshen Rocks will feature live music performances and poetry readings, along with visual art. Musical performances from local teen bands include Ursa Minor, Kalliope Jones, Felixis Jinx, the Jackson Williams Trio, and Parlicium.

A teacher of Rock History at North Star: Self Directed Learning for Teens in Sunderland, MA, Melanie Dana has had the privilege of working with several of the teen artists who will perform at Goshen Rocks Youth Arts Expo.  “I teach that one of the important things about punk rock in the 1970s and 80s was the role of all-ages venues and a ‘do-it-yourself’ ethic that created vibrant scenes in cities across the US,” says Dana.

When she approached some of her students at North Star about applying for a cultural council grant, she was delighted to learn that there was already an initiative to create a local youth arts scene. Two North Star members, Evan Saito of Florence (age 16) and Sebastian LaMontagne of Ashfield (age 18) had already established People to Watch: The Next Generation in the Fall of 2015. Their project grew out of an event last September in Ashfield, MA, organized by Elmer’s Store proprietor Nan Parati, to highlight young local talent.

According to co-founder Evan Saito, “People to Watch: The Next Generation strives to build and empower the youth arts scene and community in the western MA. This project has a certain exciting feeling of change. A feeling that teens can empower themselves and take initiative.  We’re striving to connect our community with a lively and supportive network for creative teens in western MA,” says Saito. “Our longer term vision is a grassroots movement that supports a network for the greater youth arts community nationwide.”

Serving as more than just a celebration of creativity, Goshen Rocks serves as an important source of empowerment for both the teens involved and those attending. By celebrating the voices of teens within an intergenerational, community-based context, families can offer youth of any age a powerful example of what it means to be a part of a community. Families can also be mindful of the power of community while soaking in the creative youth work: considering the impact that local community members, organizations, educational resources, art spaces, events, traditions, celebrations, and other important facets of the community have had on the youth participating in the event can illuminate the rich resources and expertise present in western Massachusetts. The impact of local culture and sense of place upon the work of our teens is strong, and exploring the ways in which they experience our world can help them to be included and respected within our community.

Goshen Rocks will take place from 1-5:30pm on March 6th at Goshen Town Hall, 42 Main Street in Goshen, M. A donation of $5 is requested for admission. Help to spread the word about youth-driven artistic empowerment before the event by sharing through your social networks:

Facebook: Teen initiated arts expo comes to the Hilltowns! On March 6 from 1-5:30pm, Goshen Rock Youth Expo will exhibit a creative range of visual art and poetry, featuring musical performances by Kalliope Jones, Felixis Jinx, Parlicium and Ursa Minor at the Goshen Town Hall! Goshen Rocks Youth Arts Expo is a collaborative project between People to Watch: The Next Generation and Graffiti Cat Zine, supported by a MA Cultural Council grant. http://wp.me/p2aDO-f2l

Facebook: Teen initiated arts expo comes to the Hilltowns!  Goshen Rocks Youth Arts Expo, a collaborative project between People to Watch: The Next Generation and Graffiti Cat Zine, is coming to the Goshen Town Hall on Sunday, March 6th from 1-5:30pm!  Mark your calendars and see you there! http://wp.me/p2aDO-f2l

Twitter: Teen initiated ARTS EXPO comes to #WesternMA #Hilltowns: Sunday March 6 from 1-5:30pm!  http://wp.me/p2aDO-f2l

Next Teen Arts Expo is scheduled to happen in the Fall. Are you a teen wanting to participate? Email peopetowatchwestmass@gmail.com to find out more!


Goshen Rocks is supported in part by a grant from the Goshen Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

1 Comment

  1. Bill Westerlind said,

    February 25, 2016 at 11:40 am

    This sounds AWESOME! We are attempting to do similar events in Westfield and would love to learn from you! Our FB page is Westfield Arts & Cultural Forum.

    Liked by 1 person


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