Opening doors: Group offers mentorship, collaboration for student artists
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Hood2Good, a collaborative group of local student artists, just wrapped up its second showcase of the season when the coronavirus pandemic shuttered entertainment venues, including the group’s home base — Bowen Theatre at Maryland Hall.
Maryland Hall, a performance arts center, is home to many Annapolis resident art companies, such as Annapolis Opera, Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, Ballet Theatre of Maryland and Live Arts Maryland. Hood2Good, a group of teenagers and young adults passionate about dance, music, poetry and other creative outlets, became an official partner of Maryland Hall’s ArtReach program this summer.
The ArtReach program brings art initiatives to Annapolis and Anne Arundel communities with less access to creative arts. For Hood2Good members, the partnership with creative hub Maryland Hall establishes their standing as a local performance group.
“It’s so significant, it opened the doors and the potential for a lot of kids,” said Kenneth Starkes, the group’s community mentor.
Hood2Good began in 2018 after the death of Terry Bosley, a 17-year-old Annapolis kid killed in Eastport. The group holds round table meetings with city leaders like Police Chief Ed Jackson, organizes charity donation drives and puts on music and dance performances at the Bowen Theatre.
The group’s partnership with ArtReach allows for more funds and resources, allowing the group to expand its membership, mentorship opportunities and host more events like youth showcases where members perform on stage for a live audience.
“Showcases are, I would say, really, really fun to watch,” Annapolis High School senior Jalen Lamkin says while writing a new song in his bedroom. “You bring in local people who want to see their kids perform, people’s friends from school who want to see them perform, it’s a really great environment overall.”
Since the coronavirus pandemic shuttered indoor entertainment venues, the 10-member group has kept its momentum with biweekly video calls. Members teach art classes to one another, such as photography tricks, dance moves or design workshops.
The local artists also support and promote each other’s work in a setting Lamkin described as “a music college but for high schoolers.”
“It brings all the local talent to one spot. I can get a photographer to take a few headshots for my Instagram, or I can get a poster made with my artist name on it,” Lamkin said. “We can just all collaborate on different things. Two artists can work on one song together while another artist makes the album cover.”
Lamkin joined Hood2Good in March right before the pandemic shutdown. To pass the time in quarantine, the 17-year-old began writing songs and making music. Now the singer performs his original songs with a karaoke machine on Saturday nights in downtown Annapolis, along with dropping singles every Wednesday on his social media platforms under his stage name “DuckSauxe” and “Room41More.”
Hood2Good is moving its winter showcase online as a safety precaution during the pandemic. The show is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 14, and will be the beginning of many online performances, Starkes said.
In the meantime, group members are choreographing for an October dance tournament, leading poetry readings, planning art projects and more roundtable discussions with city leaders.
“It’s opening the doors for the opportunity for kids to really pursue what they want, their true passion,” Starkes said.