At the last cypher event, the crowd created fill-in-the-blank poems and shared them with one another.EXPAND
At the last cypher event, the crowd created fill-in-the-blank poems and shared them with one another.
Photograph courtesy of Bianca Mikahn

Place Matters at Denver's Community Cypher Series

Bianca Mikahn's been all over the music scene for the past decade. She's released albums, run Check Your Head, a mental health program for youth, given a TEDxTalk and hosted music events. Art is a way of life for her.

On Thursday, April 25, she'll take her skills as an MC to Community Cypher: Place Matters, the third and final installment in a series hosted by the nonprofit organization Creative Strategies for Change. The night serves as a fundraiser and a celebration of music and art. There will be open-mic battles, poetry workshops and dance centered around the discussion of why place matters.

CSC runs youth programs in Denver that use art and education to forward social justice. In the mix: hip-hop theater, several orchestras, facilitator workshops, restorative-justice practices and more.

Mikahn has collaborated with the organization in the past, serving as music director for the project Social Imagination, a theater-based exploration of social justice. Through her work with the group and Check Your Head, she's noticed a gray area around people's individual challenges and systemic struggles they face.

Place Matters at Denver's Community Cypher SeriesEXPAND
Photograph courtesy of Bianca Mikahn

The cypher series digs into that ambiguity — on a personal level.

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"I encourage everybody to show up as tangibly as possible," she says, "It's hard to cover a topic like 'place matters' and understanding geographically where we are located, emotionally where we are located. It's a style of interaction that is different. We wanted to give multiple opportunities to do that."

For many years, Mikahn created art that was "pain-based and pure survival."

"For me as an individual, I've been thinking a lot about compassion. I don't have any more space to give pain," she says. "If you need to work off the pain, you don’t necessarily have to hold it and house it. We deserve to celebrate joy and be creative about joy and diligent in seeking and articulating it. That’s a lot of what the cypher is looking to do."

Community Cypher: Place Matters, 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 25, 2900 Downing Street, free.

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