January 8, 2020

Youth on Record Hires Celebrated Poet, Author, and Arts Advocate Suzi Q Smith as Executive Teaching Artist

Youth on Record Hires Celebrated Poet, Author, and Arts Advocate Suzi Q Smith as Executive Teaching Artist

If you paid attention to Denver’s art scene in 2019, you know about Suzi Q. Smith. A born and raised Denverite from Park Hill, Ms. Smith is currently the Co-Chair of Denver’s Cultural Affairs Commission, and last year she spoke on a panel about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the arts, spoke at the Grant Maker’s in the Arts conference, was a speaker at TEDx in Boulder, was the featured poet at CUPSI 2019 in Houston, TX, shared a story and a pair of shoes at the Empathy Museum for the Biennial of the Americas,  performed at Black Music Matters, and most recently worked with Denver’s Lighthouse Writers Workshop to develop programs specifically geared to engage and include writers of color.

Joining the Youth on Record team as a full-time staff member is a homecoming for Ms. Smith, who had previously worked as a contracted partner artist and community advisor to the organization when it was both in its infancy and start-up phase.

“Youth on Record has been an important part of my life since its inception, and I feel very much at home here. I started teaching with Youth on Record in 2010/11, and we have grown together in powerful ways in the last decade. I am thrilled to be back, it's a privilege and an honor to get to work with these students and be a co-conspirator in their education, being able to bring my skills and experience as an artist into the classroom again.” Smith says.

As Youth on Record expands its reach throughout the city, it’s expanding its services to include middle schools, where Ms. Smith will head the organization’s middle school pilot program. She’ll teach at Hill Middle School, specifically poetry and performance classes to 6th, 7th, and 8th graders, five days per week. In this pilot, Ms. Smith will teach roughly 100 teens and pre-teens, all of whom will receive academic credit for the classes.

“Having Suzi Q back in the daily mix of our work is a dream come true. She’s a fierce and talented artist, who is also nurturing, politically and socially informed, and brilliant. Plus, she’s absolutely hilarious. This combination is exactly what our students need in the classroom,” says Youth on Record’s Executive Director, Jami Duffy.

In addition to her role in the classroom, Suzi will also work with Youth on Record’s executive team to craft the vision for the organization’s next ten years.

Duffy goes on to say, “Youth on Record has so much to offer the local and regional arts community, and will soon roll out our strategy to further prepare traditionally marginalized musicians for careers in the creative industries. Right now we’re building our dream team, and our dream vision – and Suzi Q is an important part of both."

About Youth on Record

Ten years ago, a group of friends and local musicians from Denver had a vision to “harness the power of music and the people who love it.” They took that vision to stages, open mic nights, coffee shops, street corners, peace marches, and protests, and ultimately to middle and high school classrooms and youth residential treatment centers. Ever changing and evolving, and always putting students and artists first, this vision became Youth on Record (formerly Flobots.org), now a nationally recognized and award-winning arts education and youth development movement.

The mission of Youth on Record is to empower Colorado’s underserved youth to achieve their academic, artistic, and personal best by employing local, professional artists as their educators. The vision is for youth to discover how their voices and value can create a better world. Visit www.youthonrecord.org for more