Creative Response

A reflection

by Vershawn Sanders-Ward

what does it mean to be seen?

what does it mean to have access?

what does it feel like…to imagine?

there are many words that I wrote down as documentation of my experience with this project. but as I sat with all of those words on the paper all I kept asking was what does it mean to be seen? what does it mean for a community to have access and imagine a just future for themselves? as I listened, and processed and listened and processed, and wrote, and breathed… I was struck by how difficult it was to articulate, in a very real way, what a just society would look, feel, taste, smell, sound like. I had to take deep breaths, many of them over the course of each community gathering.

how can we awaken our senses out of the past, through the present, and blast into the future. it felt hard, heavy, sticky, the air got thick and then light…and thick again…but, it still felt possible. I kept considering what in our lived experiences have blocked our imagination, or ability to set our expectations above and outside of a current reality. my attempt in this artistic offering was to suspend reality, to blur the limitations of NOW….to rediscover…to IMAGINE?

Vershawn Sanders-Ward (she/her/hers)

Artivist, Founder, Artistic Director, CEO, Scholar, Educator, Mother, Wife

A native of Chicago, Vershawn Sanders-Ward holds a MFA in Dance from New York University and is the first recipient of a BFA in Dance from Columbia College Chicago (Gates Millennium Scholar.) Sanders-Ward is a 2019 Chicago Dancemakers Forum Awardee, a 2019 Harvard Business School Club of Chicago Scholar, a 2017 Dance/USA Leadership Fellow, a 2013 3Arts awardee. Vershawn is currently on faculty at Loyola University of Chicago , serves as a board member of the African American Arts Alliance of Chicago and was selected to attend the inaugural Obama Foundation Summit for Emerging Global Leaders.