“We’ve always had dreams of making it big and having big, crazy, innovative ideas,” Jayson Dominguez says of his friendship with Worcester Youth Poet Laureate Adael Mejia, whom he first met in kindergarten. The pair began writing and performing together as classmates. at Burncoat High School. “After high school,” says Dominguez, “we finally had the opportunity to physically implement these ideas and actually start working.”
One of those “big, crazy and innovative ideas” is the second Color the City art festival, which runs from 5 to 9 p.m. Aug. 12 on Worcester Common.
The festival has a stage with dance performances and several music genres from rap to metal to classical. There will also be several Worcester-based food trucks, booths run by local artists and small businesses, and spaces where community organizations will share information about their services to festival-goers.
Platform, a youth-led arts organization in the Worcester area, planned and organized last year’s Color the City festival and is currently in the final stages of preparations for this year’s event.
“We have a very diverse crowd, and they’re all from Worcester and the surrounding area,” says Dominguez, who heads the logistics team. “We want to highlight people and give them a platform to elevate themselves, hence the name ‘Platform’.
Mejia worked on the Color the City event last year as part of Create 508, Worcester’s youth arts program, and this year is leading Platform’s marketing and communications team.
“When [this year’s organizers] came together, we knew we wanted to do the same concept as last year, which was a festival of young artists,” Mejia said. “We decided early on that we wanted to continue Color the City because it meant so much. It was like our baby and we treated it with so much care.
According to Mejia, Color the City 2022 includes a dancing flash mob and interactive animatronics that Create 508 built in collaboration with the Technocopia makerspace. Youth bike delivery program 508 BikeLife and community skateboarding group Push Worcester will be organizing a group ride that will travel from Elm Park to the center of the festival.
Dominguez, who also performs on stage as an actor and singer, said young creatives who are not connected to established music or art scenes make up the core of Color the City.
“The stories and experiences told by local residents is something completely different because the city doesn’t do that especially for young adults and teenagers whose stories aren’t being told,” Dominguez said. “Stories being told and people involved are the future.”
Dominguez expressed hope that Color the City will be a role model for more Worcester residents who want to organize their own events and bring their communities together.
“Grassroots awareness exists for a reason,” Dominguez said. “People think the only way to start something successful is to already be successful, or to cheat and find a loophole, but that’s something anyone can do.”
Dominguez recently starred in the play Her Name Is America, which Mejia wrote and directed. The production, which Mejia described as “the first modern operatic rhapsody,” featured monologues, poetry and performances by local musicians, comedians and dancers, all centered on the coming-of-age story of a young Worcester man.
In addition to preparing for the festival, Mejia is also working on a poetry collection and comic book universe set in Worcester. He has collaborated with several local musicians and is featured in the documentary “Whirlwind,” about famed cyclist and Worcester resident Marshall Walter “Major” Taylor and the racism he faced as a black athlete in the early 1900s. .
Mejia said that in addition to her duties as Young Poet Laureate and her work as an artist, she will be managing the start on the Street stage at the September festival and hopes to organize a large-scale music festival in Worcester. the next few years.
“I’m fighting for the arts, I’m fighting for the voiceless minority,” Mejia said.
The Platform is online at https://theplatform508.wixsite.com/website and on Instagram at @theplatform.508.