Old Masonic Hall
Elijah Lynch, also known as Smiley Gatmouth, is a multidisciplinary artist who got his start in Denver, Colorado’s, rich spoken-word community. His emergence into the intersecting worlds of arts, activism and community-cultivation began in middle school and continues as a Youth on Record teaching-artist. This workshop takes a practical approach to provide key insights, tips & strategies to build confidence and make your words resonate. The session will focus on writing for spoken word and on spoken word performance skills. You don’t need to have any spoken word experience to take this workshop.
Workshops take place concurrently and participants may register for one workshop for all three days or all three workshops for one day. Registration is encouraged to reserve a space as capacities are limited. Please contact Drea Edwards at 970 547 3116 ext 1 or firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
YOR’s education, music, and community programs are designed to help young people become more free, more rooted in their personal power, and better able to thrive in spite of systems and circumstances that dis-empower and marginalize them. YOR designs and implements strengths-based, music-centered programs intended to equip young people from historically under-resources communities with skills needed to find success in life by advancing their academic success, increasing their economic opportunities and career skills, and strengthening their community connections and networks.
Elijah Lynch, also known as Smiley Gatmouth, is a multidisciplinary artist who got his start in Denver, Colorado’s rich spoken-word community. His emergence into the intersecting worlds of arts, activism and community-cultivation began in middle school, when he became a regular at community hubs such as The Mercury Cafe, Slam Nuba and the Floboots.org community center. After becoming a member of the Minor Disturbance Youth Slam team in 2009, Elijah began performing, teaching and traveling regularly while still in high school. The support he received from local artist-communities helped provide him with both a strong foundation and a firm commitment to service-work. Upon graduating as the poet Laurette of Jefferson County Open High School, Elijah had gone on tour, founded the 7 Block Open Mic and been awarded the First Wave Urban Arts full-tuition scholarship to the University of Wisconsin—Madison. His involvement in the First Wave allowed him to expand the scope of his work and develop his craft immensely; he studied under a plethora of world-renowned artist and educators, developed work in a wide range of genres and formats, and accumulated nearly a decade of experience as a professional teaching-artist.
Elijah’s time in First Wave also allowed him to make major strides as a practitioner of art. In Madison, he was consistently booked for local concerts, university events and private affairs, and was also a regular performer at the city’s most prominent annual Theatre and Music festivals. As[AM1] a solo-artist, band-member and two-time First Wave Touring Ensemble Selected Artist, he frequently traveled the country to perform a multitude of poetry-features, live-music venues and national-conferences including the NCAA National Conference, the National Council of English Teachers Convention and the Boys & Girls Club Keystone Conference. Finally, the opportunities afforded to him by First Wave allowed Elijah to perform at various venues in Europe, most notably as a resident lead-vocalist for the infamous Jazz Club in Florence, Italy. Elijah has been fortunate enough to create in coalition with countless excellent artists over the years; his collaborators have included Grammy-winning musicians Juan de Marcos (Juan de Marcos and the Afro-Cuban All Stars) and Greg Doby (Gynx), seasoned contemporary poets like Saul Williams, Danez Smith and Ken Arkind, and internationally-recognized figures of various disciplines such as Chris Walker (Dancer, Jamaica) and Faisal Abdu’allah (multi-disciplinary/visual-artist, UK). His poetry has been featured on HBO, his band-work has appeared on PBS’s 30-Minute Music Hour w/ Andy Moore, and his solo-music has been play-listed by Pitchfork.
Elijah’s work as an educator is similarly vast in nature. It has included regular-instructor positions with organizations like The Boys & Girls Club of Dane County (Madison), The JVN Project (Madison) and Creative Strategies for Change (Denver). However, it has more often consisted of being featured as guest-facilitator for youth organizations, schools and government-programs. Among the hundreds of guest-facilitator experiences Elijah has collected over the years, YCA (Young Chicago Authors—Chicago), GetLit LA (Challenger Detention-Center Camps—Los Angeles), Brave New Voices (International YouthPoetry Conference—location varies by year) and the B&GC Keystone Conference (Boys & Girls Club Annual Conference for Selected Students, Los Angeles) are among a few. He has also returned to Minor Disturbance to serve in several capacities over the years, most recently as a coach for the 2017 Denver Youth Poetry Slam Team. On top of teaching for youth-based institutions, Elijah has served as an instructor for older-groups as well; he has served as a guest-lecturer on critical-race & media studies (CA 436: Race, Ethnicity & Media; University of Wisconsin—Madison), Effective Language Arts Pedagogy (National Council of English Teachers; Boston) and Culturally Relevant Pedagogy alongside Dr. Marc Lamont-Hill (Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings ‘Getting Real’ Series; University of Wisconsin—Madison). His own art has been regularly utilized as an educational tool by Denver-area teachers for nearly a decade and has been studied in classes at Harvard University. In 2018, he founded The Lonesome Zeroes; a passion project dedicated to serving students, educators & artists through radical community collaborations. As a Youth on Record teaching-artists, he aims to extend the lessons, tools and opportunities he has been blessed with to the next-generation of Denver youth, and nurture the traditions of artistic mentorship that provided his life with purpose.
Stephen Malloy Brackett has been rhyming words as a calling and profession for the last 12 years. He has toured the world with his band, Flobots, using music as a platform for engagement and collective empowerment. The band’s platinum hit, “Handlebars,” has allowed Stephen to share the stage with many of his heroes including Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama, Rage Against the Machine, Public Enemy, Bernie Sanders, and Emily Keys.
His time as a philosophy student at Colorado State University nurtured his life-long love affair with the arts, education, and activism. Blending his passions, he co-founded the non-profit Youth on Record in 2008. Youth on Record exists to empower Colorado’s youth to achieve their academic, artistic, and personal best by employing local, professional artists as their educators. To date, Youth on Record has impacted the lives of thousands of young people and after 11 years serving on the Board of Directors, Stephen is proud to join the staff this year as Director of Special Programs.
Born and raised in Denver, he has seen a decline in arts education in the public school system, and is doing all he can at Youth on Record to ensure that all young people in Denver have the tools to tell their own story – be it through music production, lyric writing, poetry, spoken word or movement. Stephen is a driving force in curriculum development and program planning for Youth on Record.
Stephen comes from a family that set a precedent of using your gifts to benefit others. He gives credit to his mother, Ava Malloy Brackett, for setting a precedent that allowed no label to define her outcome. Stephen lives in his hometown of Denver, Colorado with his brilliant wife Jennifer, dog Scout, and beloved cat, Puma.