Grantee Cohort Spring 2020, Spring 2021
Location New York
Art for Justice’s 2020 planning grant supported a musical collaboration between the Apollo Theater and the American Composers Orchestra for a contemporary production of Joel Thompson’s Seven Last Words of the Unarmed that speaks to policing killings of unarmed black men across the Unites States. In the face of Covid-19 closures, the grant also served as a stabilizing force for the project last year as the Apollo closed to the public in March 2020.
The new partnership will support the production of Seven Last Words of the Unarmed as part of a full performance called The Gathering: A Collective Sonic Ring Shout. Thompson’s work will be paired with Tania Léon’s Reflections and Carlos Simon’s Amen! plus new works by composers Toshi Reagon and duo Lelund Durond Thompson and Jason Michael Webb. The production will use art as a tool for community healing and reflection in the wake of the murders of George Floyd and Breanna Taylor last summer and the reenergized Black Lives Matter movement. The production will be performed in May 2022: twice on the Apollo’s main stage and once for local NYC schoolchildren.
Photo courtesy of the Apollo Theater Foundation