Above: Darion Brown, host of Reo Town Sessions, Alejandro Saláis and Michael ‘Mikeyy’ Austin during the check presentation in 2017.
LANSING, MI -- Michael ‘Mikeyy’ Austin is a 21 year old Hip-Hop and Neo-Soul artist who believes in the power of creative expression. Just returning from a performance in Chicago, at which he drew rave reviews and was invited back to the Windy City, he finally had a moment to review the line up for the annual signature event “Black Art Matters.” This event will be held at the Robin Theatre located at 1105 S Washington Avenue is on Friday, February 16 at 6:30 pm. Tickets are $10.00.
Last year, Mikeyy and his team launched a monthly event at Reo Town Sessions that takes place once a month at the Robin Theatre. They highlight a local artist to help promote and display their work while introducing them to the community.
“Reo Town Sessions is just not limited to musical expressions. There are some pretty dynamic performers in the area. Whether playing music while someone is dancing or displaying photography or paintings, we have it all. We want to be that eclectic welcoming venue. This free monthly event is meant to create platforms for rising artists,” Mikeyy said.
With a year of successful ‘Sessions’, there have been many who have graced the stage at the Robin Theatre. "Black Arts Matter" awards will also be given to individuals that advocate, create resources and artistic platforms for young people.
“My passion is the arts and youth. I want to combine those passions to create opportunities and resources for our students,” said Mikeyy. “But in order to create opportunities and give resources, we need as many people to be a part of making that happen for some really talented students.”
The struggles when one wants to pursue arts and does not have all of the resources or support available is something that Mikeyy knows well. He equally understands the importance of collaboration with other organizations and has worked with the Lansing Area Economic Partnership, Lansing School District and Lansing Community College to raise funds.
A campaign called #ProjectArtMatters was also started last year raising scholarship money for Lansing School District seniors to continue their education in the arts. Last year, they raised $4,000 and surprised four students with $1,000 each.
Eastern High School graduate, Alejandro Saláis is in his freshman year at Central Michigan University (CMU).
“I am so grateful for the #ProjectArtMatters scholarship provided by REO Town Sessions. It helped relieve me of my collegiate financial endeavors and has given me the opportunity to continue my involvement in music at CMU, as a member of the Chippewa Marching Band,” Alejandro said.
For more information about Reo Town Sessions and the performances on February 16th, log on to their Facebook page. If you are interested in donating to the #ProjectArtMatters scholarship fund, please send an email to email@example.com.
February 4 - February 17, 2018