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Copyright 2021 The Listening
Copyright 2021 The Listening

The Listening Engages the Lynchburg Region with Performing Arts & Youth Programming

James Black

In 2012, a group of friends decided to come together with the purpose of enjoying something simple and often taken for granted by society: intentional art. The Listening, inspired by hip-hop artist Little Brother’s album of the same name, officially got its start because members of the Lynchburg community believed that it wasn’t enough to talk about music and poetry, but to pursue a greater and shared appreciation of those arts in an intentional way. Building off the creative renaissance that continued to embody the revitalization of downtown Lynchburg, The Listening began collaborating more intentionally with community members, organizations, and initiatives who shared their passion for creativity and the community, including the Lynchstock Music Festival, the James River Partnership for the arts and the humanities, and has been identified as one of Lynchburg City School’s partners in education.

To help better serve the community across the Lynchburg region, The Listening spearheads a variety of initiatives, including the Children’s Defense Fund: Freedom Schools program. The Freedom Schools program seeks to build strong, literate, and empowered children who are prepared to make a difference in their communities, nation, and around the world today. The program seeks to play a much-needed role in helping curb summer learning loss and closes achievement gaps through measurable outcomes, including finding that 85% of scholars avoided summer learning loss, 97% of parents saw increased reading confidence in their children, and 92% of parents were interested in engaging social action with their children.

In addition to the Freedom Schools program, and offering unique after-school workshops, The Listening partners with Battle Symphony to offer peer support groups to help individuals between 18-24 years of age battling depression, suicidal ideation, and anxiety to develop their own coping skills using storytelling, writing, and poetry. To benefit the artistic community in the Lynchburg region, The Listening hosts open mic nights to give creative members of the region the opportunity to display their talent, performance showcases designed to connect local creatives with national talent, and the Poetic Justice Conference, held virtually in 2021, which seeks to engage, change, and save lives with the performing arts through community engagement and youth programming. The conference, held in partnership with Blackwater Branding and Poetic Truth, featured multiple panels, performances, speakers, and breakout sessions led by speakers with diverse areas of experience and expertise in areas such as education, child advocacy, social justice, various art disciplines, and mental health.

The Listening’s mission of educating, empowering, and saving lives through intentional artistic expression would not be possible without the generous financial contributions of members of the community across the Lynchburg region. For more information or how to donate, please click HERE.

The Listening is located at 2500 Rivermont Avenue, Suite 106, Lynchburg, VA 24503. You can reach them by telephone at (434) 515-2103, or you can send them an email at info@welcometothelistening.org

To view upcoming volunteer opportunities and events, view The Listening’s page on SHARE Greater Lynchburg HERE.