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Monday, May 10, 2010

Celebrated musicians set to join students on stage at DC SCORES Inspired Art Gala

A large part of our first Inspired Art Gala, May 19 at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, obviously is the collection of approximately 70 pieces of art paired with DC SCORES poems that will be auctioned off.

But it is not the only attraction of the event, which will begin at 7 p.m. (click here to buy tickets). In addition to the art, the night will feature poetry readings by at least six DC SCORES schools as well as three special, very accomplished performances by guest spoken-word specialists.

Gabriel “Asheru” Benn is not only a Peabody Award-winning Hip Hop artist here in DC, but he has a very real connection to the students DC SCORES serves – he has been a teacher and administrator in DCPS for the past 13 years and founded Guerilla Arts Inki, LLC, a community service organization that specializes in education through the arts. He also is involved with other literacy programs that help students through hip hop.

And those who attend Inspired Art, will have the pleasure of seeing Benn perform. Since 1997, he has released several hip hop albums and performed alongside the likes of Common, Mos Def, Jill Scott, Ludacris, The Roots and others.

So you won’t want to miss Benn’s performance. And you won’t want to miss out on Ayanna Gregory, either.

The soul singer, songwriter and agent of change sings not just to entertain, but to heal audiences with her beautiful, soothing voice. Since attending Howard University in the early 1990s, Gregory has been recognized as powerful and progressive as she’s been called on to perform at major rallies and marches.

In 2003, the soul music artist put forth her debut album, “Beautiful Flower,” and since then she’s traveled the world performing her spiritual music while sharing stages with icons such as Stevie Wonder, Maya Angelou and many others.

Gregory is the daughter of celebrated comedian and human rights activist Dick Gregory.

Finally, David James promises to put on a captivating show. James is the front man for Ndelible, an alternative/soul/hip hop band that plays high-energy shows and produces unique cadences. James might not have his entire crew at the Gala – Ndelible also includes guitar player Myron “Q dot’ Mullon and drummer Ron B. – but he’ll undoubtedly have an inspiring performance put together.

Ndelible’s music has been described as a cross between the Foo Fighters and the Fugees, and the group’s debut album, “Time and Chance,” has a little bit of everything, according to their website: “The end result may remind listeners of Prince, Outkast, and even Dave Matthews Band at times."

Since 2006, James’ group has traveled the country, performing alongside the likes of Common, Eric Roberson, Dwele and Fertile Ground. And James, certainly, won’t disappoint when he takes the Inspired Art stage.

So between student performances and three professional acts, the Inspired Art Gala will have quite the entertaining aspect. The evening will begin at 7 p.m. with the silent auction – accompanied by snacks and drinks – and will be followed by the performances, in the Corcoran’s beautiful auditorium, around 8:30 p.m.

Adding to the star-studded cast, Michel Martin of NPR will emcee the event and accomplished local architect Allen Y. Lew will be on hand to receive the 2010 Inspiration Award.

Martin is the host of NPR’s popular syndicated “Tell Me More” show and has spent more than 25 years working for newspapers, TV and NPR. Lew, as the Executive Director of the Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization for DCPS, has been responsible for managing renovations of DC’s 141 public schools and has also overseen large jobs such as the construction of the Washington Nationals stadium.

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