Ari Highsmith (she/her)
"Luna Sol Child"
Avenue Artist-in-Residence (Music) | Teaching Artists | Mentor
I have watched The Avenue since its inception, be cultivated into a safe space for the youth of this city. I watched in awe, as a black woman (Reenah) ushered this space into a safe haven for black and brown artists such as myself. I have laughed, danced, cried, played, connected and explored aspects of myself that I never imagined I’d tap into.
These are just a few reasons as to why I have, and continue to feel comfortable supporting this space. But above all; community and youth engagement is centered at The Ave and for that, I am thankful and humbled to be of service.
There have been so many memories made in this space, it’s difficult to narrow down one specific moment that resonated with me most. From watching the youth lead fashion show during Black Pride, to connecting with my now band mates (The Cosmos), crying my eyes out as Charles Emanuel sang to my spirit, and lastly, to welcoming and celebrating Azuri, our beautiful Steinway Boston upright that helped expand our songwriting and instrumental music program. Every moment I’ve spent at the Avenue has made me proud to be a part of such a welcoming community and space. It’s impossible to pick just one highlight, because I felt each so deeply. I remember being introduced to Reenah Golden at a very young age, through the spirit of Kuumba. And I am proud to see that over a decade later, she is keeping that spirit alive through The Avenue.