‘Face Forward’ philanthropic art

St. Thomas students and local artists pull together talent for to aid literacy in India.

John Sand

âÄúFace Forward: Art Through HumanityâÄù WHERE: First Avenue, 701 1st Ave. N. WHEN: April 21st TICKETS: $12 Despite the rigorous agenda of becoming the next Richard Prince or Andy Warhol, the artists behind âÄúFace Forward: Art Through HumanityâÄù still found time to turn their attention to the greater good. The project is a young artist collectiveâÄôs effort to raise $11,000 to fund the construction of a school in India by working with Charitable Association for the Vulnerable Emancipation Trust (CAVE) . After the cost of production, 85 percent of profits will go toward the cause. âÄúFace ForwardâÄù is the brainchild of St. Thomas senior Amanda Leaveck. After learning that the literacy rate in India is stuck at a staggering 66 percent , Leaveck set about planning the project in February after she returned from a brief study abroad in Uganda. The First Avenue show has revolved around the work of young, up-and-coming Twin Cities artists; from slam poets and dance companies to fashion designers and visual artists. âÄú[The programâÄôs] goal is to show everyone whoâÄôs involved in the arts community that they can use their talents for something other than personal gain,âÄù said Leaveck. The showâÄôs lineup covers many forms of media. Local hip-hop figure Milak Watkins , whose rhymes focus on issues of social justice, is slated to headline the show. His songs set to conquer hardships and people that stand in the way of his goals, with lyrics like, âÄúI got the key to happiness/but I canâÄôt even see the door.âÄù Watkins is joined by the likes of Poetry in Motion Dance Company âÄî which features University of Minnesota Dance BFA graduates âÄî local rock band Cedar Avenue and a fashion show by Star Model Management. âÄúFor me, itâÄôs never been about what the students get out of it,âÄù said Leaveck, âÄúItâÄôs been about what India gets out of it.âÄù She continued to say that for the small ticket price audience members will be entertained by those local personae who are ready to take over the Twin Cities spotlight, all while investing a small amount of money in a venue much bigger than the world of local slam poetry. âÄúFace ForwardâÄù is not only a night of performing and visual arts, but a command for AmericaâÄôs youth to step up into the world sphere and avoid turning their gaze onto their own problems for at least one night.