Newtown High School graduates Zachary Kapple (2007) and Haley Keane (’09) have partnered to form MouthPeace Arts Center, which they hope will provide Newtown area high school students venues to express creativity.
“We both used to go to the Teen Center a lot,” said Ms Keane, who graduated from Tufts University in Boston with a bachelor of fine arts degree in papermaking and bookmaking.
Mr Kapple attended Hunter College in New York before earning his associate’s degree in communications from Western Connecticut State University.
Mr Kapple, who is a musician, and Ms Keane both found expressing themselves through art to be fundamental when they were teenagers, according to Ms Keane. She said she hopes MouthPeace Arts Center will allow other teenagers to do the same.
The idea for the arts center morphed over time, according to Ms Keane. The current vision, she explained, is that MouthPeace Arts Center will offer workshops for high school aged teens at different locations around Newtown. Ms Keane also said events will be held to raise funds to provide the workshops for free in the future. Workshops in the works include papermaking, comic book writing, children’s book illustrating, playing guitar, song writing, and more.
A kick-off event, which is being called "Howl!," is set to be held at The Teen Center (“The Garage”), 57 Church Hill Road, on Friday, October 18 at 7 pm.
High school students will be charged $8 to attend and other attendees will be charged $13, according to Zach.
The night will include an emcee, a DJ, and a Video DJ (or VJ), a poetry reading, and performances by Americana band The Proud Flesh, et al. Mr Kapple said anyone who would like to participate in the evening’s performances can call him until October 17 at 203-313-8136 to arrange that.
Ms Kapple said he is organizing the night to flow smoothly and advices all attendees to arrive promptly for the opening at 7 pm. He also said contests may be included in the evening event, including a “Howl at the Moon” contest, to highlight the fact the kick-off event coincides with a full moon.
“I think it is going to be a really fun event,” said Ms Keane.
Healing Through The Arts
MouthPeace, she said, aims to “ignite the creativity and passion for the arts within the youth of our community.”
“We at MouthPeace want to involve the youth of our town in a way that will encourage creative expression, and promote positive healing methods through the arts,” said Ms Keane.
Following the events of 12/14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Ms Keane said many people turned to artistic expression as a way to work through trauma and grief.
“Through this experience we also discovered the powerfully reaffirming experience of embracing and connecting to our community,” she said. “And thus, the seed of MouthPeace was born. We realized that there was a serious need to for a place where young people could interact and connect with one another while participating in artistic expression.”
Ms Keane also said she hopes the kick-off event in a few weeks will create traction and exposure by “reinspiring the youth of Newtown with something exciting and out of the ordinary.”
“The Teen Center has never before seen an event like what is planned for MouthPeace, and we have high hopes for the final outcome of this project,” Haley said.
For further information about the event or about MouthPeace, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.