In August, 20203 we spoke with one of our newest staff members working with the Temporary LockDown Ensemble at the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center. Ivan Ramos, the Artistic Lead, shared some amazing insight on the program and the addition of poetry to the workshops:

How has your experience been working with the Temporary LockDown Ensemble so far?

Working with the Temporary LockDown Ensemble has been fantastic! I love the fact that I am creating this thread between all the programs including TLD and that’s really focusing in on Chicago and their neighborhoods and creating poems about their feelings, their emotions, what they see, what they hear, what they smell about Chicago and their neighborhood.

Can you kind of walk me through what a workshop has been like lately?

I’ll bring in a poem, it’ll be by either a Chicago poet or someone who’s talking about a city or talking about Chicago specifically. The young folks read from the poem and then we’ll discuss the poem, what they heard, what words or what images came to mind. I’ll have them write that down or I’ll transcribe it and then from that we create a collaborative poem. It gives young folks a chance to read and discuss the poem and then also respond to the poem in their own words.

How has the outcome felt so far?

The outcome is fantastic. I’m getting individual pieces and I’m also getting all these collaborative pieces! I feel like it’s very organic. I feel like it’s very natural and, most importantly, it’s not forced. We’re really working on pacing ourselves with the young folks, making sure that they understand what the subject is but ultimately there’s a lot of great content coming up.

What are you looking forward to with this group?

Coming up we’re prepping for an intimate friends and family performance. We’ll have everything that we need so I think we’ll have plenty to choose from as far as what they’ve written.

If you’d like to support the expansion of new, positive art forms in our programs, please: