‘For the Culture’ promotes unified Waco community through art

Photo courtesy of 'For the Culture' event

Lindsey Reynolds | Reporter

Art lovers around Waco and Baylor united on Monday in celebration of art through music and spoken word. This ‘For the Culture’ event, hosted by 2018 Baylor graduate Reggie Singletary and Waco art gallery Cultivate 7Twelve, included poets from Waco Poetry Society and Baylor alike. The set list was a mix of musical and poetic artists from the Waco area and current Baylor students and alumni.

When asked about the inspiration behind the event, Singletary explained he gained many ideas for the event from NPR’s Tiny Desk series. This video series, hosted by Bob Boilen, features musicians and singers in an intimate concert atmosphere. All music in the series is made organically, through instruments and a cappella sounds. No background tracks were allowed.

In addition to creating an intimate jam session for artists around Waco, Singletary used this event to unite the people of Waco with the students of Baylor.

“I wanted this event to be for the purpose of bridging the gap between Waco and Baylor,” Singletary said. “I wanted to bring all of the talent I knew of to one place.”

Philadelphia sophomore Jadé James said the event was refreshing, in that it gave her and other artists a chance to express opinions that may not be widely accepted on campus through individual art forms. James also said this event helped her connect to the people of Waco through their shared love for art.

“I think that whenever Baylor talks about reaching out to Waco and connecting to the people, it’s often times approached through a white savior complex perspective,” James said. “We never talk about connecting on an artistic level, or even just in a way to get to know them better. Who knows what they have to offer that I don’t?”

James said the music and poetry that was presented at the event allowed everyone, regardless of race, demographic, zip code or political views, to relate to each other on a personal level. She said she believes more events such as this should be held for this purpose.

“We might see them as just Wacoans, but they’re exactly like us. There is no need to treat them as an outreach initiative,” James said.

Houston sophomore, Nathan Cumberbatch, said the event was an eye-opening experience for him as he was introduced to the talented artists in Waco.

“I thought most of the talent would be coming from Baylor, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that there were other artists who do not go to Baylor that showcased their talent,” Cumberbatch said. “I was impressed by what they did.”

A performer at the event, “Judah” Blunt is a rapper and junior at Baylor from Kaiserslautern, Germany. Blunt said that, following the event, he initiated friendships with other artists in the Waco community — something he feels is necessary for other Baylor student to do.

“The event was a huge step in placing people from seemingly different worlds in a similar environment, and that regardless of your education, your “bubble”, or whatever place you may be in societally, a lot of people on this campus go through the same issues as people in this community,” Blunt said. “We are significantly more the same than we are different.”

Artists and attendees from the event affirmed that more events should be held to bring prominence to the commonalities of the university and Waco with the goal of promoting a more unified community.