Approaching Complex Community Issues through Storytelling
Intermedia Arts is a nationally recognized leader in empowering artists and community leaders to pursue arts-based approaches to solve community issues. They provide creative people of all ages with opportunities to come together across disciplines, sectors, and boundaries to create artwork that tells the stories and experiences of underrepresented communities, locally and beyond.
The Blacker the Berry was a multidisciplinary response to the culturally provocative prompt, 'The Blacker the Berry’ at Intermedia Arts in 2014. Curated by Shá Cage, the performance and visual art exhibition featured layered and intriguing multimedia works by 50 Twin Cities women of color, including youth and emerging and established artists.
During the post-show dialogue, an ensemble member said, “This is one of the few times I get to be under black female leadership. Speaking as an Asian multiracial woman, I thank you for providing the space for all voices to be heard under the direction of a black female lens.”
Inspired by the real life experiences of Somali drivers, Vietnam vets, artists, and others, Global Taxi Driver uncovered a little known slice of the Twin Cities and a unique view of the world from behind the wheel of a cab. Director/playwright Leilani Chan teamed up with artists Pedro Bayon, Ifrah Mansour, Ova Saopeng Nicole M. Smith, Gaosong Vang and Blake Williams to gather and tell stories of taxi drivers in the Twin Cities.
Leilani Chan said, “The perception of the profession is different than the reality. We’re collecting these stories because I feel cab drivers get a bad rap. One part of that is because it’s a job often held by men of color. Another part is pop culture. Robert DeNiro, Taxi Driver — this isn’t that. These are real men; they are professional men; they’re family men. They all have different stories and histories that brought them here. I’m interested in those real stories.”