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Town Hall Seattle: Arts & Culture Series

Town Hall’s Arts & Culture series elevates the voices of local artists while bringing world-renowned cultural icons to Seattle audiences. The series celebrates music, photography, sculpture, philosophy, heritage, and traditions around the world that enrich our lives.

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Mar 28, 2024

Hip-hop education is more than just music; it’s a dynamic tool for fostering student success and intellectual growth.

James Miles, known as the Fresh Professor, is renowned for his engaging teaching style. By infusing lessons with content that’s inspirational, intellectually engaging, and relevant to students’ lives, Miles demonstrates how teachers can use hip-hop education to help students better retain information and think critically about concepts inside and outside the classroom.

Miles will be joined by a panel of experts with backgrounds ranging from educators to artists who will talk about ways to ignite curiosity, ensure comprehension, and provide differentiation options for all kinds of learners. Weaving performance into their discussion, they will talk about the impact of hip-hop on their lives, how it shows up in current events, and the implications for education. At the program break, DJ Topspin will play music, followed by a discussion of James’s book, Gotta Stay Fresh.

James Miles, aka Fresh Professor, is a New York City artist and educator with 20 years of experience, now based in Seattle. He’s an Assistant Professor at Seattle University and serves as the Creative Economy Manager at Seattle’s Office of Economic Development. James has a rich history, including leadership roles at Third Stone, MENTOR Washington, and Arts Corps. His innovative Fresh Education program, using hip-hop and theater for academic success, has influenced educators worldwide. A graduate of Morehouse College and Brandeis University, James empowers teachers globally through professional development. His mission is to reduce educational inequities using the arts.

DJ Topspin aka Blendiana Jones is established as a musical pillar in the Northwest and across the world. He (seemingly) easily weaves a complex blend of hits and unearthed genre-spanning gems from both past & present eras, creating a musical tapestry all his own. Born from a Jamaican father and Panamanian mother, the pulse of the diaspora in the form of dancehall/reggae/soca/afrobeat is always present in his musical displays. He’s recently showcased them DJing in The Kingdom of Bahrain for the 2nd time in as many years, and has previously produced a weekly countdown show broadcasted throughout Tanzania (where he’s spun 3x so far) and to other African nations.

Moses Sun is an afro-abstractionist working in assemblage, painting, video, animation, and public art that explores the intersection of Pan-Africanism and the world’s diasporas. Moses Sun fuses hip-hop, jazz, afro-futurism, and the black southern diaspora of his childhood into a mix of visuals that blurs the lines between digital and analog art. His interdisciplinary practice comes from the hip-hop ethos of grinding in the studio, creating multiple tracks (series of works) that he remixes into new works. His search for common ground between diasporas has led to collaborations with Seattle’s Wing Luke Museum, SAM, Frye Art Museum, Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle Hebrew Academy, and Africatown Plaza.

Idris Goodwin is a multi-award-winning storyteller of stage, audio, screen, and page. Currently serving as Artistic Director of Seattle Children’s Theater, Idris writes, directs, programs, and /or produces relevant content for intergenerational audiences. Goodwin is the author of over 75 dynamic and diverse original plays. Committed to access and impact, Goodwin’s work is widely produced across the country by professional, community, and academic institutions alike.

Olisa Enrico is an artist, educator and administrator who engages the unique power of  art to cultivate community and culture. Olisa spent her childhood writing music and performing, traversing genres and rooted in hip hop as her primary form of expression. She branched out to theater and found passion for the power of story to reveal and heal. Olisa provides performances, professional development, curriculum development, consultations and workshops through her business, Praxis Essentials.