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Program to offer men with cancer unique roadmap

Cancer is a life-altering experience that impacts careers, relationships and bank accounts, while also giving the diagnosed an unwanted glimpse of their own mortality. Male survivors face a set of unique challenges, among them a clear direction on how to take back the power in their lives.
 
If cancer survivorship is a journey, Berea resident Dan Dean believes he has the roadmap. Dean, 36, is the founder of M Powerment, an organization providing resources geared specifically toward men affected by cancer. A series of free workshops, including a two-day event, Sept. 24 and 25, at Market Garden Brewery and Nano Brew Cleveland next month, promise action-oriented, practical skills that allow participants 21 and over to face the disease head-on.
 
"Men don't have great coping mechanisms to deal with illness," says Dean, a 12-year survivor of stage IV non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. "In layman's terms, guys don't talk about stuff."
 
M Powerment teaches participants to master their internal narrative and better communicate challenges with a spouse, partner or other support person. Program framework is based on mythologist Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey, which prompts listeners to "follow their bliss," as well as the tenets of narrative medicine, an approach that harnesses people's stories to promote healing.
 
"By doing the work, you'll shift your energy into a more empowered place than you would be if you were victimized by the experience," says Dean, an avid backpacker and hiker. "It's about focusing on things that help you grow."
 
M Powerment workshops are research-based and use strategies approved by oncology social workers. Dean's road to an "m-powered" existence began upon diagnosis at age 23. Later years found him sharing first-person interviews with cancer survivors via a personal blog. Dean's mother, Caren, died of brain cancer in 2014, giving him further perspective on living a full life five, ten or 20 years after the disease is first discovered.  

Dean launched the group in May 2015, upon receiving seed money from the Char and Chuck Fowler Family Foundation. He hopes to garner additional funding from cancer organizations and for-profit businesses as the enterprise expands. After the Cleveland event, Dean is looking ahead to events in Chicago, Los Angeles, Denver and Boston.
 
Ultimately, the program founder aims to form a wide-ranging network of cancer warriors. The program also has a sense of humor. Per the website, "This isn’t a trust circle and you aren’t going to hug someone in a sweater vest. You’re going to flex your cancer kicking muscles and come out m-powered men."
 
"The mission isn't to be in a group circle and talk about what happened, but to give survivors tools to successfully move forward," adds Dean. "It's almost like a 'cancer fraternity,' meaning anyone that comes in with a shared experience is going to bond over the cause." 

BOUND zine and art fair to rock MOCA this weekend

This weekend, area zinesters, art aficionados and anyone fond of old school print is invited to browse more than 50 exhibitors from near and far at BOUND, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Cleveland's second annual art book and zine fair.
 
Free and open to the public, BOUND will take place in Gund Commons on the museum's first floor on Friday, Aug. 26, from 5 to 10 p.m. and on Saturday, Aug. 27, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Attendees will have a chance to meet and interact with booksellers, artists, photographers, poets and independent publishers from Northeast Ohio as well as from points across the country. All of them will be offering limited edition art books and zines at affordable prices. In addition, a reduced $5 admission includes access to the MOCA galleries as well as all the programming and talks associated with BOUND. There will also be live music on Friday and DJs spinning tunes on Saturday.
 
"It's going to be a very high energy event with a lot to offer people who are either artists and creators or fans of comics, zines, photography, and art books," says Deidre McPherson, MOCA's curator of public programs. "There will be publishers, comic book creators, zinesters, printers, poets, and photographers here." They'll be exhibiting work that tackles pop culture, activism, feminism, gender identity, madness and sexuality – just to tag a few topics.

BOUND, MOCA Cleveland's second annual art book and zine fair
 
Contemporary artist TR Ericsson, whose pieces are part of several permanent museum collections, curated the event as he did last year's inaugural effort. His work, notes McPherson, imparts "voice to the voiceless," which is also at the heart of BOUND – but don't ask either to tap picks from the upcoming line up.
 
"The most compelling aspect of the book fair is the diverse selection of artists and book makers," says Ericsson, adding that "this makes it impossible to list favorites simply because each offering is so exceptionally unique."
 
"You'll find artists who went to art school and have a very extensive background in creating work at a high level," adds McPherson, "but also self trained artists who are incredibly talented and have done some outstanding work in their careers."
 
Fair enough, but in lieu of favorites, here's a sampling of BOUND exhibitors. Locals include John G of Shiner Comics, co-creator of the local horror comic Lake Erie Monster; the venerable Mac's Backs-Books on Coventry; Caitie Moore, who will be exhibiting her indie photobooks from her Nomadic Bookshelf project; artist Jerry Birchfield and the Gordon Arts Square institution Guide to Kulchur along with proprietor RA Washington, who is a tireless advocate for marginalized voices in print medium.
 
Out-of-towners include Brooklyn artist Paul Weston of Instigator and his interactive ANY1 mural project; Philadelphia's Nathan Pierce, Claire Cushing of Same Coin Press; and from New Orleans, former Clevelander JS Makkos of NOLA Digital Newspaper Archive, who will conduct printing demos on mimeographs, the predecessors of the copy machine.
 
BOUND at MOCA ClevelandA host of emerging local voices such as photographer and internet sensation Alison Scarpulla and Cleveland Institute of Art grads Matthew Rowe (BL^NT), Ash Fiasco and Evan Fusco will round out the roster.
 
A soundtrack will accompany the entire event, with Friday night's live music performances staged on MOCA's loading dock and doubling as part of the museum's creative sound music series, LOADED. Bands include Form A Log, Hiram-Maxim and Fake Species. DJs from WCSB Radio will aptly score the action in Gund Commons throughout the day Saturday.
 
Saturday's programming will feature presentations, discussions and a workshop on zines and how to make them from Cleveland-based artists Jacob Koestler of My Idea of Fun and Anna Tararova, proprietor of Meowville. A panel discussion on the use of zines as a platform for emerging and marginalized narratives will include RA Washington; Akron-based writer Angel Cezanne, founder of Eleanor: A Zine, which aims to empower women and non-binary people by promoting their art; and Jimmy Lewis of Columbus, Ohio, founder of Fag Enabler, a zine for queer, feminist, and nonconformist creativity. The panel discussion will be moderated by poet, author, and change catalyst M. Carmen Lane. An after-party at the Grog Shop will cap off the two-day event.
 
McPherson hopes to build on the momentum of last year's Mimeo Revolution: Art Book + Zine Fair, which was inspired by MOCA's 2015 exhibit How To Remain Human and Ericcson, who coincidentally approached MOCA staff with the idea of modeling an event after the MoMa PS1 Art Book Fair, a popular underground fair in New York and Los Angeles. The resulting three-day event attracted some 1,000 attendees.
 
"Attendance was amazing. It was great to see," says McPherson, adding that she expects similar numbers this weekend – or even more attendees mingling with exhibitors, which numbered about 30 last year. "It was gratifying to see how many artists were given a space at MOCA to share and talk about their work."
 
Lastly, BOUND is a fitting dovetail with MOCA's current exhibit, Mark Mothersbaugh: Myopia. From the 30,000 original post cards he's created over the years to the 1977 self-published 300-page My Struggle, Booji Boy, which are currently on display at the Akron Museum of Art and MOCA, respectively, Mothersbaugh's work embodies an alternative legacy of underground and DIY culture.

Mark Mothersbaugh: Myopia
 
"Mark Mothersbaugh – when he was a student at Kent State University – created zines and was self publishing and using art books and zines and his own drawings as a way of expressing himself," says McPherson. "Mark was definitely inspired by the mimeo revolution that was occurring in the 1960s and continued through the 70s," she adds.
 
Furthermore, Friday night's live concert, which was curated by Dandelion Moon's Andrew Auten, Lisa Miralia of Mysterious Black Box and artist-musician David Russell Stempowski of Polar Envy, will be an energetic fusion of experimental sound, avant rock and punk.
 
"These three bands were hand picked and selected with Mark Mothersbaugh in mind," says McPherson.
 
Myopia will be in its final weekend during the fair. Hence the reduced $5 admission is an affordable last-chance to see the dazzling collection along with the extended BOUND presentations.
 
"It's a great capstone," says McPherson of the interactive farewell to Myopia.
 

CAC report tells story of how county residents connect to arts and culture

Cuyahoga County's population utilizes arts and culture in a variety of ways, from museums and theaters to smaller community festivals and neighborhood events. Recently released findings from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture (CAC) show just how connected residents are to the region's arts offerings.
 
CAC's 2015 Report from the Community shares stories of county residents impacted by the 210 organizations CAC funded in 2015. Self-reported data from these groups revealed more than $383 million arts-related expenditures county-wide, including upwards of $158 million in salaries to 10,000 employees.
 
Other key statistics from the report include:
 
* 50 percent of CAC-supported programs had free admission in 2015
 
* Nearly 6.9 million people were served by arts programming last year, including 1.5 million children
 
"The report provides good evidence of the story we're telling," says Karen Gahl-Mills, CEO and executive director of CAC. "Arts and culture is having a huge impact on Cuyahoga County."
 
Gahl MillsNor are culture lovers only visiting conventional venues like the ballet or a gallery, notes Gahl-Mills. Nature and science organizations, community gardens and other non-traditional entities are attracting crowds through their own arts-infused efforts.
 
"It's not just big institutions; we're shining a light on smaller organizations," Gahl-Mills says. "There's extraordinary variety."
 
This year's report also relates the experiences of community members impacted by arts and culture. One featured resident is Patty Edmonson, an employee at the Cleveland History Center, who returned to the region to curate the center's 13,000 dresses and 40,000 textile objects.
 
"Residents are the ones who benefit from the dollars we invest," says Gahl-Mills. "We use tax dollars to support the arts, so we need dialogue with the public to understand what work we can do."
 
This summer, CAC has been visiting festivals and events to get further feedback from the community. The undertaking includes "street teams" going out to barbershops and farmer's markets and asking folks what inspires them about the arts. Gahl-Mills says public funding for the arts is a key facet in making Cuyahoga County a vibrant, attractive place to live.
 
"People care about the arts and we need to hear from them," she says. "The more we know, the better grantmaker we can be." 

INDUSTRY event to champion 'disruptive' innovation

Disruptive innovation describes a product or service that changes an existing market while serving as a guiding star for innovation-driven growth.
 
This powerful way of doing business will be the focus of INDUSTRY, a conference aimed at the innovators who build and launch products. This fast-rising community of pacesetters is set to meet September 15-16 at Music Box Supper Club in the Flats to discuss the "disruptive" creation techniques that help larger corporations behave like startups.
 
Spearheaded by Paul McAvinchey and Mike Belsito, founders of the Product Collective media group,  the event brings together leaders from industries such as software, consumer packaged goods and healthcare. Speakers will include Google Ventures' Ken Norton and ESPN’s Ryan Spoon. Meanwhile, working sessions are expected to explore engaging ways to deliver digital and physical goods in the same nimble way as a new company.
 
Paul McAvinchey"Larger companies are looking at smaller businesses for new methods to ship products," says McAvinchey, founder of the TechPint networking event and director of North American client services for DXY, which designs corporate mobile solutions. "They're driving products forward based on what they hear from customers."
 
Product managers are leading these efforts, driving goods forward based on customer feedback. Food manufacturer General Mills is one example of a multinational company bringing products to market more quickly via interviews with consumers about various cereals on the market.

McAvinchey also points to local firms like OnShift and CoverMyMeds that employ managers to guide new offerings through development. McAvinchey adds that several large Cleveland-area consumer product businesses actively disrupt their own m.o. by employing internal teams to unearth new market opportunities.
 
"These companies are fast-moving and startup-focused," he says. "That's who (this event) is going to appeal to. A product formed by one leader and a large team is more likely to be fine-tuned and usable."
 
McAvinchey expects 350 attendees at this year's INDUSTRY get-together, with over 90 percent of them hailing from outside Northeast Ohio. Cleveland's gradual emergence as an innovation hub is a draw for industry officials who view disruption as a positive.
 
"In the startup world there's a term called 'get out of the building,' where a team is ready to release a (product)  and literally gets out of the building to talk to customers,"McAvinchey says. "It's a hands-on approach that lets companies understand how customers want to interact with those products."
 

Mentoring program readies CMSD eighth graders for high school and beyond

Selecting the right high school is not a choice to take lightly, observers say, as it has potentially far-reaching influence on future educational opportunities and even long-term employment. A Cleveland-based program is giving area eighth graders some much-needed direction on that critical decision.
 
True2U is a mentoring and career awareness effort that prepares junior high students for high school via goal-setting injected with a dose of career and college readiness. Last year, the program connected 807 Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) youth with 150 mentors, a figure expected to double for the 2016-17 academic season. The goal is to serve all 68 CMSD schools by next year.
 
"Every eighth-grade student in a True2U school is part of the program," says Molly Nackley Feghali, project manager for the joint venture, partners for which include CMSD, The Cleveland Foundation, MyCom, Greater Cleveland Partnership, Neighborhood Leadership Institute, and the Greater Cleveland Faith Based Collaborative. "It's helping young people see their future and what they want to do in high school."
 
Eighth grade is a developmental crossroads for students as they explore identity issues and find their unique interests, including what they want to study beyond high school, Nackley Feghali says. Mentors selected from Cleveland's corporate and nonprofit sectors meet groups of attendees for three hours each month, following a structured curriculum that combines personal development with career exploration.

Among others, curriculum components include Naviance, a comprehensive, career and college readiness software package and Teens Can Make It Happen: Nine Steps to Success, a goal-setting and personal responsibility curriculum developed by entrepreneur and author Stedman Graham, who is also an associate of media magnate Oprah Winfrey.
 
"Students are being exposed to different career paths," says Nackley Feghali. "The more diversity we can bring to the program, the better."
 
Launched in 2015, True2U is already making an impression, its director maintains.
 
"CMSD has its high school choice fair in January," Nackley Feghali says. "Based on our programming and relationships they've built with mentors, students say they feel more prepared to make their decision."
 
The program can also curtail high student drop-out rates that occur between eighth and tenth grade. Ultimately, mobilizing an extensive network of school and community resources makes the road to higher education a littler smoother.
 
"Even as adults we struggle with what we want to do, so asking an eighth grader to make decisions that will impact their careers can be daunting," says Nackley Feghali. "We're focused on helping students know more about who they are and what their interests are so that they'll make good decisions for their futures and continue to stay engaged in school."

True2U is recruiting mentors for the 2016-17 academic year. E-mail true2u@neighborhoodleadership.org for more information

Event aims to invigorate African-American-owned businesses, communities

LaRese Purnell believes the best way to improve a city's financial stability is by increasing the revenue of the businesses within it. As founder of a nonprofit bringing exposure to African-American-owned enterprises in Cleveland, Purnell has dedicated a weekend later this month to breathe life into that concept.
 
Awareness, education and economic impact are the themes of The Real Black Friday (RBF) event to be held August 12-14 at three separate locations in Cleveland. The initiative, now in its third year, will promote local black entrepreneurs, many of whom are already listed in a directory on the organization's website.
 
Restaurants, barbers, architectural firms and a credit union will be among the ventures on hand, garnering the kind of attention a lack of advertising dollars often prevents.

"These are small, self-started businesses with not much capital," says Purnell, an author and speaker who also serves as chief financial officer at The Word Church. "They've never had a billboard or radio ad. They're fighting to keep their doors open, so marketing is at the bottom of the totem pole."  
 
During the RBF, owners will meet potential customers as well as fellow proprietors who face the same challenges. Purnell wants African-American entrepreneurs to form a support network to help buoy national black buying potential, which is expected to reach $1.4 trillion by 2020, according to the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth.  
 
"The idea is to create longevity for these businesses," says Purnell. "We're educating owners about scaling up and dealing with increased traffic."
 
Purnell says enduring success means harnessing black spending power and influence for more than a weekend. "Flip this Biz," taking place on August 13, will highlight renovations done to Annie B’s and Earl’s Place, located at 4017 St. Clair Ave. The restaurant will not only get a facelift, but also a crash course on revenue growth from JumpStart and the RBF team.
 
"Flip this Biz" is the kind of outreach that drives consumer spending habits over the long term, Purnell says. Increased social media presence, meanwhile, can draw customers from outside African-American neighborhoods.
 
"We need to support our own, but would like the entire community to come out," says Purnell. "We want these businesses to be around for generations."

Other events include the MiIlion Dollar Movement at the Faith Community Credit Union, 3550 E. 93rd St., from 12 to 6 p.m. on Friday. And on Sunday, the Word Church, 18909 S. Miles Rd., will host a Solution Session TownHall, the Black Business Expo and a Taste of Black Cleveland. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Admission is free.
 
The RBF concept originated in 2014 when Purnell launched his book, "Financial Foundations." He recalls meeting small business owners who were paying rent directly out of their cash registers. Ultimately, he believes, championing African-American-run shops can uplift the neighborhoods surrounding them.
 
"It's a hard fight," says Purnell. "The more dollars we drive to small businesses, the more impactful it can be to our communities." 

Making organic dough 'feels good' to Cleveland food entrepreneur

Pizza, calzones, empanadas and pot pies are all delicious, there's no debate to be had on that. However, thanks to the efforts of a Cleveland-area food entrepreneur, those flavorful goodies are now healthier, too.
 
Terry Thomsen, founder of Frickaccio’s Pizza Market in Fairview Park and the West Side Market - where their pizza bagels have been a staple for more than 30 years - launched Feel Good Dough in January. Thomsen's new venture is a line of USDA-certified organic frozen dough balls, which their proprietor says are vegan-friendly and GMO-free. The all-purpose dough, made in a 3,000-square-foot production and retail space in Fairview, can be used for both dinner and dessert recipes.
 
"It's good for pizza, dinner rolls, or anything else that's 100 percent clean without GMOs or pesticides," says Thomsen.
 
Though Thomsen previously trucked in organic artisan breads and dough balls, her latest enterprise is a good option for people with food allergies or difficulty digesting gluten. Feel Good Dough recently partnered with Milwaukee-based Red Star Yeast to utilize the company's 100 percent organic yeast, a move Thomsen says will keep her treats pure.
 
Terry Thomsen"I insisted on 100 percent organic including the yeast," she says. "This is not a common practice for many manufacturers, which are just 'made with' (organic ingredients) or 90 percent clean. We chose not to be like the rest."
 
Thomsen, a Lakewood resident, exhibited her homemade dough last month at the Fancy Food Show in New York. Upcoming is Expo East in Baltimore, where she will display Feel Good Dough for potential distributors.
 
Consumers can find the frozen dough balls today in 12 states. Locally, Heinen's, Whole Foods, Mustard Seed and other local markets carry the product, with Kroger's and Giant Eagle serving as future potential landing spots.
 
Thomsen initially test-marketed the dough out of her West Side Market location. After getting picked up by Heinen's, she tweaked the recipe to withstand additional heat for grilling and baking. Clean ingredients aren't cheap - Feel Good  Dough's suggested retail price is $5.99 - but healthy eating is worth the price, the business owner says.
 
"It's about being a grandmother and making something for families," Thomsen says. "Knowing people are eating it without stomach issues makes me feel good."

Weapons of Mass Creation draws talent from across the globe to Playhouse Square this weekend

Upon its launch in 2010, the Weapons of Mass Creation (WMC) art and design conference was envisioned as a small meet-and-greet for area artists. Fifty people attended the event's first iteration, starting a tradition that in recent years has reached beyond regional and even national boundaries.
 
Now in its seventh year, WMC is expected to draw more than 1,000 professional and aspiring artists, designers, small business owners and other makers of all innovative stripes. The three-day happening, hosted August 5-7 at the Ohio, Kennedy and State Theatres in Playhouse Square, features TEDx-style talks with a diverse panel of speakers, interactive workshop sessions and live podcasts.
 
Among this year's speakers are Grammy award-winning designer Stefan Sagmeister and Cleveland kidnapping survivor Michelle Knight, who will discuss the healing power of art and art therapy. Cleveland designer Aaron Sechrist will host a creative celebration that includes live art battles and podcasts.
 
Bill BeachyFounded by Cleveland-based design studio Go Media, the annual arts conference has grown in popularity due to a unique mix of guests, programming and educational offerings, says event director Heather Sakai. Attendees will learn how to create everything from a captivating comic book storyline to a profitable design business. New this year is a free "desk yoga" class that teaches simple poses busy artists can do while working. 
 
"The general feel is inspiring and authentic," says Sakai. "There's a good sense of community here. We offer a little bit of everything."
 
Positive word-of-mouth has broadened WMC's audience, as web developers and videographers now mingle with artists from traditional media.
 
"Cleveland is huge for design, arts and culture," Sakai says. "When people come to town, we try to expose them to all the city has to offer."
 
WMC moved downtown from the Gordon Square Arts District to give the metro area better exposure. About 60 percent of program patrons reside outside Ohio, coming from arts enclaves within cities such as Los Angeles and Austin. International visitors from Australia, India and the United Kingdom round out the packed event venues.
 
Sakai says broadening the guest list to include non-artistic residents can put a focus on both Cleveland and its emergent creative hub.

"Fundraising is one of the biggest challenges WMC faces," she says. "People love the idea of the arts in Cleveland, but it's hard for them to follow through with raising funds. Hosting a premier design conference is a great way to make art accessible to any Clevelander."


CSA grad keeps the 216 in his heart, offers kids hope through dance

It's a fair June evening and Nehemiah Spencer sways stageside at Wade Oval Wednesday, clad in black-on-black Converse and a crew neck festooned with the familiar red curves of the Coca-Cola logo. Today’s theme is “Reggae Night,” and the assembled families are chatty and sporting Bob Marley T-shirts. Spencer has picked up a loose branch in each hand and moves his arms in easy rhythms, improvising a deft twirl of one wrist in time with the band. A few huddled couples smile at him from their blankets, unsure if he’s part of the show.
 
Spencer, a graduate of the Cleveland School of the Arts (CSA) and Juilliard, is now a company dancer with the Complexions Contemporary Ballet in New York City. The Glenville native is preparing for a new show with the company in Israel. So what’s he doing in Cleveland on a Wednesday night?
 
Spencer comes home every summer. In 2012, he founded the Nehemiah Project, a dance-intensive effort that provides affordable instruction to inner-city youth. Beyond typical lessons in technique, however, the program holds classes geared toward social justice, covering topics on everything from bullying prevention to race relations workshops.
 
“For example, I know that bullying is not just physical, but most of the time, there’s an aggression that needs to be let out, in some cases physically,” says Spencer. “I wanted people to realize that there are different ways you can use your body to allow yourself to feel liberated. That’s what dance basically does.”
 
Every year, the program tackles a new community initiative. One summer, the students created a showcase for nursing home patients, choosing the venue and choreographing the piece themselves. Last year, the group held an anti-bullying flash mob in Tower City, dancing to “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The Cleveland-based MadWerkz Studios filmed it, and created a documentary short that was shown at three film festivals, winning the “Audience Choice Award” at the ICE Film Festival in Dayton. For several summers, students have participated in diversity and community relations seminars hosted by the Shaker Heights High School Group on Race Relations and the Cleveland Police Department.
 
“We had our first student alumni of the The Nehemiah Project graduate from college just recently and that's huge,” says Obadiah Baker, founder of Tender Hearts Crusades, the nonprofit that acts as the Project’s primary fiscal sponsor. “That's the whole point – to give them the emotional tools they need to cope with the reality of life. We're trying to build resiliency in at-risk youth, especially those that are in disadvantaged, underserved areas in America. We want to equip them with the tools they need to endure in any type of environment, especially because of their social position within American society.”
 
This year, the program has attracted more sponsors than ever before, including the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Ohio Arts Council, Neighborhood Connections, and yes, Coca-Cola.
 
But on this summer night, the kids are at Wade Oval as part of a collaboration with Fresh Camp, an urban gardening and hip-hop recording program for Cleveland youth. They’ve created a modern dance piece to a song the Fresh Campers wrote and produced. The performance starts quietly, with four dancers stretching their arms into acute angles to a folk-inflected melody. Soon, the bass rises, and the Fresh Camp MCs enter, rapping “Everything is better when we work together!” while the dancers spin. By the end of the set, they’ve invited half of Wade Oval to join them onstage.
 
It’s more than Spencer ever hoped for. He started the program as a one-off after a conversation with his mother, Callie, lamenting the lack of affordable dance courses in Cleveland. Through CSA, he traveled to dance conferences across the country, but knew many of his peers didn’t have that opportunity. In the Nehemiah Project’s first year, he taught the classes himself and created a Kickstarter to pay for costumes. Soon, he’d raised $1,500. Five years, a number of Juilliard Summer Arts Grants and a fateful meeting with Baker later, and the Nehemiah Project is a rising force in Cleveland arts education.
 
For Spencer, the program is a tribute to his mother, who serves as a mentor and for many young dancers. When he founded the Nehemiah Project, he also established a scholarship fund for graduating CSA seniors and named it after her – the Callie E. Taylor Award.
 
“Programs like this are important, because they give students an alternative viewpoint on the reality that we live in, because we can live in a really scary place. But it doesn’t have to be, if people find something that they’re passionate about or something that scares them, and do it anyway.”

For more information about the Nehemiah Project, visit www.facebook.com/holisticdance or email Obadiah Baker at Obadiah.baker@tenderheartscrusades.com.
 





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