April 3, 2016 | Deaf Jam | Germantown, MD
I arrived at BlackRock Center an hour early for a tech check and to get a brief tour of the center. BlackRock is a hub of creative activity including community classes, art installations, performances, lectures and more. Krista Bradley, Executive Director, is a true visionary, who radiates enthusiasm for her work and brings a generous spirit to her multicultural programming.
Krista along with Education Director, Jillian Levine-Sisson created a dynamic program combining live performances by D.C. based ASL artists with a screening of Deaf Jam and a panel discussion. The integrated audience of deaf and hearing included children, teens, adults, and seniors. It was a lively afternoon filled with humor and play from the ASL performers whose work included ABC storytelling – a traditional art form that uses the hand shapes from A to Z to tell a story. ABC stories are a comprehensible introduction for non-signers into the creative storytelling practices among ASL users.
Our panel discussion got into issues of access for cultural events and educational practices for deaf children. Unfortunately, most deaf children do not have an opportunity to indulge in ASL poetry at school and the art form is endangered as a result. It was an inspired afternoon of cross-cultural conversation with many repercussions yet to unfold.
Post by On Screen/In Person touring filmmaker Judy Lieff.