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What is the sound of public art? Midtown Out Loud

Musician Joe Kye performing in Midtown Out Loud's event, "Guitars, Poetry, Pints...and Paws," at Shine Cafe on July 2, 2014.

Twice a month, Shine Café hosts one of Sacramento’s most prominent and provocative open mic nights, Midtown Out Loud.

From 8 p.m. to well past 10, musicians, poets, and authors alike take the stage for five minutes apiece to perform, to share, and to celebrate their artistic endeavors.

“Midtown Out Loud is a place for artists,” said Heather Anderson, the founder of MOL. “Be they spoken word artists or musicians, they are able to freely express themselves in an incredibly forgiving space where they’re not just appreciated but celebrated.”

Beginning in 2010, the open mic night was originally hosted at what is now the Midtown Village Café, but after the passing of her mother in 2012, Anderson was forced to place the event on hiatus. Now, almost four months after its relaunch and relocation, it’s apparent that MOL has encouraged long-lasting connections among Sacramento’s artistic community.

“You’re in a space where people want to do good,” Anderson said. “The time that we have, let’s spend it wrapping ourselves in art and pushing out love into the community. That’s what it’s all about.”

Anderson’s take on life undoubtedly reflects certain tenets of MOL, which has raised contributions and awareness for local organizations such as the Sacramento Poetry Center’s Real Poets Writing Project and Breaking Barriers, a support service for people with HIV.

Most recently, the MOL event “Guitars, Poetry, Pints…and Paws,” raised $850 and facilitated 10 adoptions for the Front Street Animal Shelter on July 2, 2014. With over 100 people in attendance and 29 performers, aspiring and professional artists alike received warm welcomes, eager applause, and plenty of hugs from co-hosts Anderson and Jen Ikemoto.

From the rhythmic words of Jovi Radtke, Ike Torres, and Addison Kalasatno, to the somber melodies of Howard Hall, Tony Galioto, and KC Shane, “Guitars, Poetry, Pints…and Paws,” was an inspiring statement of public art and expression. Up and coming Sacramento musician Joe Kye brought the night to a close with a “Happy Song.”

Video Credit: Sage Fox

“We have so much art happening in the community, and so few people, I think, really know what’s happening,” Anderson said. “We’re just in one place.”

In this one place though, people have come together to support not only each other, but the event as a whole. Anderson insists that without the help of co-host Ikemoto, the loyalty and support veteran performers, and the photography work of Kim Berns, MOL would not be what it is today.

While MOL’s fundraising events are only on occasion, a warm welcome and accepting audience can be easily found on the first and third Wednesdays of every month at Shine Café.

“We have short and fragile lives,” Anderson said. “What better way to spend your time than to be able to be in a place of art where people are reminded of who they are.”

Photo Credit: Kim Berns Photography

What is the sound of public art? Midtown Out Loud via @sacramentopress

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