The Downtown Partnership's Art on the Streets program in Colorado Springs starts this Friday with a program engaging with issues of power and public space.
Artist Nikki Pike recruited local poets, dancers and artists to create 8-minute pieces reflecting on social and economic justice. The performance series, called WE, is an extension of Pike's work in Denver reimagining the role of monuments.
Performers will stand on a pedestal in front of the Pioneers Museum while sharing their work.
Ashley Cornelius is one of the performers at the event and the co-director of Poetry 719, a Colorado Springs community poetry organization. She said the event is a chance to engage with ideas of power and privilege.
"People are so protective of monuments for zero reasons, so let's be protective and support the actual community members, communities of color and marginalized groups," said Cornelius.
The piece she's presenting, entitled "Black Don't Crack," discusses societal perceptions of Black women and emotions.
"My mindset [when writing] was that statues have one fixed emotion, and really trying to talk about how Black women are only allowed to have one emotion, which is happiness," said Cornelius. "Our tones are policed--we're not allowed to get angry or get sad, we have to reinforce this strong, independent Black woman that we often see represented in statues."
Cornelius said her piece "shares the raw emotion that we as Black women feel all the time and have to hide."
Other performers include mixed media artists Jasmine Dillavou and Su Kaiden Cho, along with performance artists Sage and Gregg Deal.
The outdoor event starts at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, August 7, and is free to the public. It will be followed by an unveiling of Pike's sculpture, "WE the PRIVILEGED," which will be exhibited downtown.