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Meet Darius Daughtry of Art Prevails Project in Broward

Today we’d like to introduce you to Darius Daughtry.

Darius, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
As a child, I began writing as a way to channel my anger. A counselor suggested writing as a means express my emotions. Those first “poems” were little more than rants.

Years later, those attempts at writing began to take shape as they were influence by a love of hip-hop. When my lunchroom freestyle sessions turned into secret notebook scribbling, I began to have a deep connection to and affinity for writing.

When my high school English teacher found my book of poems, she encouraged me to take my writing more seriously. From that moment on, I began to consider myself a poet.

Fast forward a few years and I find myself in middle school classroom teaching 7th-grade English. And I struggled, mightily. I struggled until I began to infuse the things that helped me find myself as a youngster.
I brought poetry and hip-hop into my classroom to help these struggling students find their voices. I’ve been doing that ever since. I continued as a teacher: English Reading, Creative Writing, Theatre and more. Once leaving the classroom, I became the Director of Programs for a nonprofit organization that focuses on utilizing poetry as a tool in classrooms throughout Broward County.

While that was an amazing experience, I knew there was more for me too. So, out of that, Art Prevails Project was born. My vision was to create an organization that engages communities through powerful artistic experiences.

Has it been a smooth road?
The road has not been smooth. Starting an arts organization is not easy, but it the journey is rewarding.
Luckily, I have encountered some amazing people on the path that have helped guide me towards promise. However, just like many upstart organizations, one of the major roadblocks is funding. We have great ideas to impact the community, but our struggle, thus far, has been building the capacity to continually provide the performance and educational experiences.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Art Prevails Project is a non-profit performing arts organization dedicated to expanding cultural conversations by providing impactful artistic experiences to communities that are often neglected in that arena. As a creative collaborative, we create and produce full-scale theatrical productions, provide pop-up performances and experiences, curate community events, and teach workshops in various artistic disciplines.

One of our most successful endeavors is Saturday Sessions, a monthly community experience in the Historic Sistrunk area of Fort Lauderdale. At Saturday Sessions, up-and-coming and emerging performing artists are provided a platform to showcase their many abilities. In addition, small business is offered space and opportunity to introduce their products and services to the community. This is a free, family-friendly event that adds a much-need dose of artistic flavor to an area that is often disparaged. Saturday Sessions happens every 1st Saturday of the month, from 5p-8p.

Also, The Happening: A Theatrical Mixtape, a multi-disciplinary stage production was a resounding success last year. Volume II will hit this stage July 28th, 2018 and it is guaranteed to be amazing.

We are blessed to have some extremely talented individuals in our fold: poets, actors, singers, etc. I am proud to have them connected to what I do and to continue to provide them with stages.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I think South Florida can be a good city for artistic endeavors, but I believe that there needs to be a greater investment in the arts. The arts have taken a hit across the nation – in schools, the government, and everywhere else, but it’s important the community buys in to create a better space for artists.

Artists are only as good as their opportunities. And when those opportunities arise, artists need support. They need the support in terms of dollars, butts in seats, and access to venues. Additionally, we need support in the digital space. Give artists likes, shares, comments, subscribes, retweets and everything else you can to expose them to the world.

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