Southern University Alumnus and local artist, Donney Rose, has been selected as a recipient of the 2018-2019 Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellowship.
According to the Kennedy Center website, the Citizen Artist Fellowship celebrates emerging artists across the country who utilize their art form for positive impact on communities.
Donney Rose is a man of many talents with a great hustle, and the combination of these two things has lead him down a path on which he has touched his community for the better.
In an interview, Rose gave a lot of insight into what it is he does in the community and how young artists can follow his lead.
As a Teaching Artist and Marketing Director for Forward Arts Inc., Donney’s day starts off in a classroom. He goes to middle and high schools to facilitate poetry workshops. After a couple of hours teaching poetry, he comes back to the office to promote and publicize keep Forward Arts, designing flyers, press releases, e-blasts, creating newsletters, keeping the flow of information to the public steady.
However, the Citizen Artist nomination came from other work he does in the community.
A woman by the name of Naida Owens, who works for Louisiana Division of the Arts was familiar with Rose’s work after his “9-5”, as Donney likes to call it; Co-Hosting the Drawl, a poetry Podcast with Desiree Dallagacimo, attending and hosting community forums and dialogues, creating spaces for voices to be heard clearly. Donney says it best,
“There’s the Forward Arts, 9-5 work and then there’s the work after work. All of those things combined kind of fed into my getting nominated for this recognition….There’s a whole communal aspect...that has nothing to do with the work I’m paid for. A lot of it has to to with the work that I volunteer [for] and the advocacy work outside of the day job. The day job is also tied into that as well.”
Even a representative from the Kennedy Center told Mr.Rose as much, speaking on the extensive research they conducted into his background, both on and off the clock.
As advice to the younger artists on campus, Donney pressed the importance of working your craft outside of your given genre. Essentially, not doing this will leave an artist hard pressed to find a wider audience, to connect to the larger community. Once you leave your “pocket” and start having your voice heard, not only will you become more engaged, but you’ll have more eyes on you.
Daniel Ellis, a Mechanical engineering major, stated,
“I agree with his advice. It should particularly work well with HBCUs.” Support of one another being a key belief many activists in the black community share, it isn’t hard to see where Mr.Ellis is coming from.
Upcoming events Donney will help to put on include Soul’d Out Sundays, typically held at the Parlor on the first Sunday of every month barring Easter Sunday, and the Annual All City Teen Poetry Slam Festival. Preliminary Bouts, will be heldApril 18th-21st and finals, April 27th-28th.
Performing at All City will be top ranked female poet, Ebony Stewart and top ranked slam poet, Arvind Nandakumar.
Forward Arts is always looking for volunteers and to expand the audience they reach. Donney can be found on Twitter @drose225 and Instagram as donney_rose.
Forward Arts can be followed on Facebook and Instagram at Forward Arts BR, and on Twitter @ForwardArts. Following them helps in remaining up to date on community events, especially their programming and opportunities for young artists.