March 13, 2014

For immediate release:
Contact: Robbin Zella or
Lydia Viscardi

The Women Gather,
A Women’s History Month Celebration

Bridgeport, CT...The Housatonic Museum of Art in collaboration with Shanna Melton of Poetic Soul Arts presents The Women Gather, a Women’s History Month Celebration in the Performing Arts Center of Housatonic Community College at 900 Lafayette Blvd., Bridgeport, Connecticut on Thursday, March 27, 2014 from 6 – 9 PM, free and open to the public. Inspired by the Nikki Giovanni poem, “The Women Gather”, this poetry showcase of five women poets presents their perspective on love, life, relationships, womanhood, motherhood, and creativity. Performers include Brenda’s Child, B. Leah, Shanna Melton, Sick Prose and Tahani Salah. For further information contact Shanna Melton: shatamel@gmail.com, or call 203-572-4937 or www.HousatonicMuseum.org.

The Housatonic Museum of Art’s collection contains over 5000 works of art spanning ancient through modern times and is one of the largest permanent collections of any two-year college in the Northeast. Exhibition and programs are funded in part by the Werth Family Foundation, Institute of Museum and Library Services, Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, Fairfield County Community Foundation, Target, Housatonic Community College Foundation, and other individual donors. If you are interested in supporting HMA exhibitions and programs by donating to the Housatonic Community College Foundation, contact the Museum at www.HousatonicMuseum.org.

About the Poets:

Brenda's Child
Brenda’s Child is a self-proclaimed diva on a mission to inspire and save lives. Born Latoya Bosworth, she dubbed herself Brenda's Child at the age of 21, in honor of her late mother Brenda Kay Swinton. With a little brass, plenty of bold, and the right amount of vulnerability, she has performed as a spoken word artist nationally from her hometown of Springfield, MA to San Diego, CA. In 2007, Child published her first poetry collection. Subsequent publications include five books, including two novellas and a memoir. In 2012, she collaborated with two fellow artists to write, direct, and star in the stage play, The Thick Chronicles...A Body Image Story. Child’s articles on parenting and self-esteem were included in blackandmarriedwithkids.com. She currently writes for two monthly publications, An African-American Point of View Newspaper and Lioness Magazine. Child’s is a PhD candidate and has a special education teacher certification, a B.A. in Sociology, an M.S. in Nonprofit and Philanthropy.

Shanna T. Melton
Shanna T Melton of Poetic Soul Arts is a visual artist, poet, and community organizer and the Housatonic Museum of Art Ambassador of Poetry. She has performed in poetry venues from New York through Boston. Melton has been active in organizations focused on college preparation, culture, art, and HIV/AIDS peer-education. Her visual art career began in 2001 and exhibitions include a one woman show, Freedom Dancing at The Barnum Museum in Bridgeport, CT in 2009. Her artwork is featured in A Silent Genocide, and Soldier Blues, a documentary and play created by Tantra~Zawadi. Melton coordinated the 2006 Black History Month Exhibit Freedom at City Lights Gallery in Bridgeport, CT and the 2008 poetry stage at The Harlem Book Fair, Harlem, NY. Melton is the founder of Lyrical Voices Night of Poetry & Arts, The Writer’s Group, and co-founder of Verses, a night of poetry at the Nuyorican Poets Café presented by Urbintel Productions. Melton is also the author of a collection of poetry entitled, A Voice in the Symphony and her debut CD, A Woman’s Song. She was recently honored by Bridgeport’s Black Pride as “A Woman to Know in 2011.”

Leesah Velasquez
Also known as Ms. Sick Prose, Leah Velasquez is a mother, wife and social service worker who writes poems about her experiences with love, life, and everything in between. In 2009 she earned a spot on the Nuyorican Slam team where she helped the team earn 4th in the nation.

Tahani Salah
Tahani Salah is a performer, poet, and activist based in Brooklyn, New York. She currently serves as a youth outreach coordinator and Board Member with Urban Word NYC. She is a member of the Nuyorican Slam Team and author of the forthcoming book Respect the Mic. Salah has been featured on HBO’s Def Poetry Jams and in the film Deaf Jam. As an artist dedicated to bringing light and solutions to communities where people’s voices have been silenced, Salah has performed at a number of world famous stages including the Apollo Theatre in New York City and at universities in South Africa and Germany. Salah lent her talents to the cause of MDGfive.com, a website that uses the power of art and social media to increase community engagement in the fight to improve maternal health. Her contributions include a poem entitled “Mother, Your Strength is Beyond Compare.” Salah is passionate about peace and activism and carries that into the classroom as a high school educator, showing how life creates art and using it all as a tool of expression. She is a graduate of Columbia University.