My name is Levi Todd, and I’m the Founder and Executive Director of Reacting Out Loud. Just in time for our collaborative event with On the Mark this Sunday, Faith asked if I would write a bit about Reacting Out Loud and the similarities between our organizations.
What is Reacting Out Loud?
ROL is an independent organization devoted to uplifting poetry and affirming community in Muncie, Indiana. We host monthly open mics, poetry slams, and will soon be debuting a youth workshop program in 2017. Our goal is to make poetry accessible and highlight the connections it is capable of making between community members.
How did it start?
When I was a freshman at Ball State, the easiest way to make friends was to joke about how little Muncie had to offer. I found myself slipping into familiar jokes about the meth epidemic (something I realize now is grossly not funny), and how there was nothing to do off-campus. At the same time, I was impressed by Muncie’s art scene--here was a town with a monthly comedy open mic, shows practically every day at Be Here Now, a bi-annual arts festival, plays and musicals at the Muncie Civic, and more. I began to ask myself how I could contribute to Muncie’s success, rather than holding it back. I started the Reacting Out Loud poetry open mic, a monthly event that took place off campus, and I’m very grateful for the positive feedback we’ve received from the public.
Why the collaboration with On the Mark, For the City?
I’m so glad that a group of young artists is committed to beautifying Muncie in a way that truly considers community input, and that their mission will extend past a one-time project. Both ROL and On the Mark, For the City are doing community work without any major funding or nonprofit status, and our common goals seemed to obviously call for collaboration. I’m really looking forward to our continued cooperation as we embolden the arts scene in Muncie.
What’s happening on Sunday?
ROL is hosting our monthly poetry open mic at Two Cats Cafe, where We're Trying Collective will be on site to introduce themselves, their mural project On the Mark, For the City, and answer questions. Attendees will be able to donate and contribute a wish for their community via origami, with all funds going toward the collective's mural in Downtown Muncie. As the mural’s goal is to demonstrate Muncie’s commitment to inclusion in light of the tragic shooting in Orlando, we’re encouraging LGBTQIA+ poets to share their work (though everyone is encouraged to read). We’re expecting a large crowd, and I couldn’t be more excited!