CLEVELAND — Cleveland is just days away from being in the national spotlight for the 2022 NBA All-Star Game. Events are scheduled all weekend for guests and visitors to enjoy.
Performing artists are also preparing for a big weekend, too.
On Friday, Feb. 18 the 'Cleveland Power of Sport Summit' begins at the Cleveland Metropolitan Conference Center inside the One Cleveland Center.
The three-day event features several exhibits, panels and workshops. It will celebrate diversity, equity and inclusion by demonstrating the power of sport as a catalyst for change.
"We're trying to use sport as an opportunity to talk about diversity, equity and inclusion in the community and in the country," said Rachel Stentz-Baugher, Vice President of Administration and Development for the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission. "We're talking about racial equity, LGBTQ advocacy, mental health and sport for all in terms of sport, for people with disabilities. So we're really covering the whole spectrum in terms of diversity, equity and inclusion through sport.
Included in the summit is the Power of Sport Performing Arts Competition. Its goal is to encourage artists to create an original poem or song that describes how the power of sport has affected them, their community or their outlook on the world.
"We felt like the intersection between sports and arts is very significant," Stentz-Baugher said.
Stentz-Baugher said to help create some guidelines and come up with a panel of local judges in the art community, she reached out to hip-hop artist Archie Green. Green is known for running school programs, helping young Black students improve their mental health through music.
"If I had the opportunity when I was young when I was in high school to perform during All-Star Weekend like it would, it'd be bragging rights. That's bragging rights for your friends and your family," Green said. "This is the opportunity to give artists who are both young and more seasoned, the opportunity to be on a bigger stage to perform something brand new, something original. Which gives them the opportunity to not only be seen and heard, but the chance to meet with other industry professionals that may give them that opportunity to have their works published or to hear their songs on the radio. We really wanted to give the Cleveland art scene an opportunity to create something special tied to the power of sport."
The competition began on Feb. 4, when applicants applied for the competition. Judges have selected three finalists from each category (poetry and song) and one winner will be chosen per category, per age group.
"We had a bunch of great submissions, but the ones that really tied to the theme, as well as also, you know, the ability to be at the summit to perform those were the main areas that helped us to pick out [the finalists]," Green said.
The finalists will give their final and live performance at the summit on Saturday, Feb. 19 at 4 p.m.
"In addition to seeing all these legends on court and in sports, you're going to see legends that live here already in art and music, in hospitality," Green said.
All of the events at the summit are free, however, you can plan your visit ahead of time by clicking here.
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