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WHERE THE ARTS COME ALIVE!

it gets better Residency promotes LGBTQ+ acceptance and allyship in the Fox Cities

Written by Claire Schmidt, Community Impact Coordinator
Fox Cities Performing Arts Center



The residency started in March with members from the touring cast hosting a virtual roundtable discussion called the World Café. A variety of community members engaged in this lunch discussion including, but not limited to, educators, business employees, and nonprofit leaders. The group looked at goals made at the World Café 7 years ago to indicate what had been accomplished, what had been improved upon, and what still needed work. Participants were thrilled to see that over 75% of the previous goals had either been met or approved upon. They then anxiously started brainstorming ideas for what comes next and what steps they can take to accomplish them. 

The Fox Cities Performing Arts Center was also still able to get the cast involved with the community, even if it was virtually. The workshops were designated specifically for LGBTQ+ student groups and the educators who advise those groups. The students had access to two workshops: Songwriting with Billy Thompson and Moving with Mario Mosely. 

The songwriting workshop introduced students to the beginning basics of songwriting and led them in a group discussion of “what do you wish you could tell adults?” Throughout the cathartic discussions, students threw out their thoughts, some of which were already very lyrical—leading them to be the perfect lyrics for a song. Students were encouraged to try their hand at writing a stanza or two. In addition to a school workshop, Billy Thompson also held a public songwriting workshop that was the same structure except asked adults “what do you want to tell LBGTQ+ youth in the Fox Cities?” 

Moving with Mario Mosely created a fun way to get students up and moving during their school day. Mario Mosely is an original member of the it gets better tour and has worked with accomplished performers such as Beyonce, Ariana Grande, Zendaya, and Britney Spears. He led the groups through a basic dance warmup and then taught students a short cut from a song. All of the music used throughout his workshop are either from LGBTQ+ artists or allies. 

Thanks to The Green Bay Packers Foundation for grant support and to Community First Credit Union and their ongoing support of the Community First Community Engagement Series.  
 
Diverse and Resilient’s Room to Be Safe is in Appleton and offers resources and support to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community members experiencing violence both in their communities and their relationships. To learn more about Diverse and Resilient, please visit: www.diverseandresilient.org
 
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