Fire Commemoration Weekend

The Chewstick Foundation (Registered Charity #857) has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of appreciation and support from the community following the devastating fire that took place on July 21, 2016 that resulted with their newly opened premises at 81 Front Street. Over the past year, thanks to generous donations from individuals, small businesses, and corporate donors, Chewstick has been able to continue with some of their programming and service to the community. The Chewstick Foundation continues to deploy select programmes, including their Retreat Programme, whose next date is August 11th, a Heritage Month themed event series in May sponsored by the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs, and the Chewstick Community Art Programme which recently completed murals at Gombeys at Clearwater, Overview Hill in Pembroke, and recently commenced installation at St. George’s Cricket Club for Cup Match.

 

The Chewstick Foundation Executive Director, Gavin Djata Smith comments, “I am completely humbled and grateful for the response The Chewstick Foundation has received, and the work that our friends, family, and incredible volunteers have put into the fire recovery initiatives. The loss of the facility has been heartbreaking, but the community support has opened our eyes to how many people have been touched by Chewstick, either directly, through someone they know, or from the continued cultivation of the arts in Bermuda. This support has re-energized the team and renewed the commitment to the work that we do to bring all of Bermuda’s people together.”

 

The Chewstick Culture Hub was a facility designed to be a safe space for sharing ideas, creativity and learning through the use of arts as an effective tool to help build bridges in Bermuda’s polarized community. The July 21st destruction of the then newly-completed Culture Hub is now forever marked in the history of the organization, which is still working towards recovery.

 

Chairperson of The Chewstick Foundation’s Board of Elders, Sharon Baillie reflects on the opportunity the tragedy provided: “It has been incredible to hear how many people view Chewstick as a resource, sanctuary, and creative home. Bermuda needs Chewstick: a platform for developing Bermuda’s talent, a home for the local creative community, and one of the few neutral spaces that can accommodate deeper engagement and understanding. Over the past year many people have come together to reflect on the state of Bermuda’s arts and culture, and celebrate the many accomplishments. It is truly a community organisation, empowering one to enrich all.”

 

Chewstick continues to reflect on what is next. Smith says, “A constant question has been: when will Chewstick re-open? While several businesses have generously offered temporary office space, years of operating as a nomadic open-mic night have taught us that Chewstick isn’t just about a physical space, it’s about the people. Still, however, Chewstick has never been able to impact lives and community so much as through the operation of a dedicated, purpose driven facility, so we continue to work toward a permanent home.”

 

The Chewstick Fire Commemoration activities will begin this Friday, July 21st with a lunchtime gathering between 11am and 2pm on the lawn area between Pier 6 and No.5 Car Park, directly across the street from the former Chewstick Culture Hub location. Chewstick would like for people to come together and reconnect, encouraging all members, supporters, and friends to bring their lunch and enjoy or share a story, poem or song, and reflect on the organization, Bermuda and the year since the fire.

 

On Saturday there will be a Members’ Reunion Bonfire where members will convening for an evening of sharing and expression, while enjoying a swim and food. There’ll be music, an overview of the coming year and the chance to rekindle the Chewstick camaraderie and heart. Anyone interested in becoming a member of the Chewstick Foundation can visit our website www.chewstick.org or call 292 2439 and we’ll get you all set.

 

Finally on Sunday, July 23rd, a Fire Concert Fundraiser where singers, poets and rappers will take center stage. The lineup will feature Chewstick family members Kassie Caines (of The Big Chill), Ayana, Sharla Bean, Haz the Human, Matthew Johnston, Tiffany Paynter, Executive Director Gavin Djata Smith, and special guest, international Bermudian reggae artist Mishka. The concert will take place at 7:30pm, in the graciously donated private garden of Gotcha Covered, located at 39 Reid Street, across from Rock Island Coffee. Tickets are available online at www.ptix.bm, with General Admission available for $30 and Patron Tickets for $100, with all remaining tickets available at the door. The event will provide complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a bar (cash or card), as well as fantastic raffle prizes and merchandise for sale, with all proceeds going toward the recovery of The Chewstick Foundation.

 

The Chewstick Foundation would like to offer special thanks to the businesses, artists, and many individuals that continue to support through donations, attendance at events, community partnerships and positive comments in person and online. Chewstick is also incredibly appreciative of the efforts and talents donated to the fire recovery efforts by numerous volunteers, members and supporters. While there is not space to thank each individual here, all efforts are deeply appreciated.

 

If you would like more information or have any questions, contact The Chewstick Foundation through fundraising@chewstick.org or by calling (441) 292-2439.

 

The future is uncertain, but like a phoenix, the community can empower Chewstick to rise from the ashes.

 

ABOUT THE CHEWSTICK FOUNDATION

The mission of The Chewstick Foundation (Bermuda Registered Charity #857) is to empower storytelling, creative expression, and social justice to enrich youth, arts, culture, and community. This mission is achieved through a diverse variety of programming including; the famous Neo-Griot Lounge Open-Mic Jam Session, the Break The Chains Youth Poetry Programme, T.W.I.G.S. Youth Open-Mic Programme, creative outreach programs with inmates within the Dept. of Corrections, Chewstick Retreat Programme, Chewstick Community Art Programme, and countless events and initiatives highlighting the best of Bermuda’s music, poetry, film, art, and academia. For more information visit www.chewstick.org or call (441) 292-2439.

2017 Retreat Programme

Register for The Chewstick Foundation’s thrice annual (Winter, Summer, Fall) Island Retreat Programme in 2017 for the chance to learn, connect, get inspired, and have fun while appreciating the epic beauty of Bermuda.

Note the NEW DATES for the Summer Retreat on Darrell’s Island, Friday, August 11th to Sunday August 13th!

Here’s the link to sign up!

Signup deadline for the Summer Retreat is August 4!
Early Bird Prices available until August 1.

Activities will include drawing, poetry, creative writing, music, workshops and yoga in the gorgeous setting of our island home, while meeting a bunch of really awesome new people.

Dates and island locations for 2017 are as follows:

Retreat Location Dates
Winter Retreat Port’s Island Friday Feb 17 – Sunday Feb 19
Summer Retreat Darrell’s Island Friday Aug 11 – Sunday Aug 13
Fall Retreat Darrell’s Island Friday Oct 20 – Sunday Oct 22 (NEW DATES)

 

The Retreat Programme is now in its seventh year and has met and surpassed its purpose to bring people together to connect, to learn and to have fun while appreciating the epic beauty of Bermuda. If  you are a person who likes to tell stories, dance, play dominoes, swim, paint or pontificate on  life with others, the retreat is for you! If you simply need a moment of pause from the daily demands of work and home life, take the chance to unwind and maybe learn something as well. In addition to participant-led break out sessions, there is free time to reflect and to get inspired by the beautiful surroundings, activities such as hair braiding, Bocce (Chewstick’s official game), fishing (provide own equipment) and the Retreat Fireside, where participants are encouraged to share a new skill, story, poem, song or anecdote and everyone gets to participate in the always fun, sing along vibe.

retreatcircle1Price Breakdown is as follows (signup deadline is October 13 for Fall 2017):

Category EARLY BIRD Price (before Oct 10) Late Signup Price
General $250 $275
Member $175 $200
Youth (ages 12-18) $125 $150
Parent and Child $300 $325
Additional Child (under 12) $50 $50

Includes boat to and from the island, indoor accommodations, 6 meals, snacks, art supplies, workshops, and materials for the Retreat fireside.

Participants can opt to bring a tent, or stay in shared dorm-style accommodation (bunks are limited).

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Learning from each other on the Retreat

The Standard VERY IMPORTANT Information

Break-out Sessions are 1.5 to 2 hour workshops that offer insight into a variety of fields that all help participants to deepen personally and collectively. They are led by passionate people that want to share their fields of expertise and personal experience in a safe and organic environment. All attendees are invited (though not required) to submit a Break-out Session option for consideration, and everyone who attends is expected to bring a passion for learning and sharing. There are 3 Break-Out Sessions scheduled for each Retreat, with up to 9 options to choose from.

We don’t know who will attend well in advance, so it is difficult to let you know what each Retreat will offer specifically, but if you’d like to lead a session include a brief description in  the sign up form, we will let you know as soon as possible if yours has been accepted (there’s a discount for facilitators). Some useful information is below:

What do Participants Need to Bring?
The Retreats alternate between Ports Island, Paget Island and Darrell’s Island, three of the most beautiful and fully equipped islands in Bermuda. Unlike traditional “camping”, each island is fully equipped with plenty of beds, full kitchen and dining areas and bathroom facilities –making this excursion quite the opposite of “roughing it”, but you still need to bring a few things.

Essentials:
Pillow, Bedding (fitted sheet & blanket), Sleeping Bag and/or something to keep you warm
Clothing (2 sets of day wear/night wear etc. recommended)
Sneakers, Sandals, Boots etc.
Pajamas
Swimsuit/Swim Shoes
Towel (bath and swim towels recommended)
Toiletries
Plate/Bowl/Fork/Spoon/Butter knife/Cup/Water bottle
Flashlight
Chair (if you don’t bring it, be prepared to sit on the ground!)
Camera
Good vibes
Optional:
Tent
Any snacks you may want
Any other tools you need for your craft (musical instruments, notepad, sketchbook, art supplies, etc.) If unsure, contact us for more information.
Anything you want to share with the other participants (e.g. henna tattoos, craft supplies, knowledge, good jokes)
Lotion, sunscreen, hand sanitizer etc.
Bug repellent (though we haven’t had any problems with mosquitoes etc.)
Games (e.g. marbles, cards, etc. no electronic games please)

Please Do Not Bring:
Bad vibes
Portable game systems
Pets
Any illicit substances or materials
Anything you cannot carry yourself

A peek into what’s in store

Under 18
We are proud to be able to offer the opportunity for young people ages 6-18 to be able to attend and participate. The youngest will be taken care of by a child care provider away from the different workshops, while those willing and able to participate in deepening activities will be allowed to. Those under 18 will be required to get parental consent as well as an over 18 chaperone. If a chaperone cannot be identified we would be willing to ask other mature attendees if one would be able to be a personal chaperone for you. Please inquire well in advance if you will be bringing a child or if you need a chaperone.

Space is limited for this special event and we are inviting participants to take part in a journey along with roughly 50 participants for this tremendous, life-changing personal adventure. Friday evening boat departure and Sunday afternoon boat return information will be confirmed by email. Sign-ups can be made by phone on 292-2439 or by filling out the form. Cash or Credit Cards accepted; please make cheques payable to The Chewstick Foundation.

Even MORE information about the Retreat is available here! 

 

Chew Stories of Hope – Chewstick’s 14th Anniversary

Celebrate The Chewstick Foundation’s 14th Anniversary at an event featuring stories of hope from Chewfam throughout our evolution. Enjoy, laugh and learn while supporting the vibes.

DATE: Friday, January 6, 2017
TIME: Reception: 7 PM Showtime: 8 PM
LOCATION: City Hall’s Earl Cameron Theatre
TICKETS: $30 General, $15 Youth, $100 Patrons – available at the door and online at ptix.bm

The Chewstick Foundation (Bermuda Registered Charity #857) is celebrating their 14th anniversary this Friday, January 6, 2017 with a celebratory fundraiser entitled, “Chew Stories of Hope” at the Earl Cameron Theatre at City Hall.

The Chewstick Foundation founder and Executive Director, Gavin Djata Smith explains, “14 years ago, we created Chewstick as a place to express yourself and share your story. We have had helped foster the voices of countless talents, witnessed incredible performances, and participated in numerous community-focused events that used the arts as outreach. We have suffered some heartbreaking losses over that time: of friends, family, locations, and most recently the devastating fire that destroyed our new custom-built Culture Hub along with all of our equipment and cultural artefacts. But the thing that we have seen over the last 14 years but particularly within the past 6 months is a profound sense of hope within our community. They believe that Bermuda needs Chewstick, and that motivation is what has driven us to continue to fundraise and seek options for The Chewstick Foundation’s future.”

“Chew Stories of Hope” will feature stories, songs, and poetry from Chewstick legends and youth participants alike, including: Kassie Caines, the Miles Manders Band, Kidd Clazzic, Spring Flower, John Seymour, ChaVon K. Clarke,, the Bean Family, Carlita Lodge, Glenn Fubler, and Alba Fernandez. There will also be a special tribute to Bermudian musical luminary Lance Hayward by John C. Woolridge and original bandmate Clarence “Tootsie” Bean.

Deidra-Lee Bean, Operations Manager comments, “We often laugh that, as storytellers, Chewstick has never done a good job at telling our own story. We have been too busy creating events and opportunities to fulfil The Chewstick Foundation’s mission to empower storytelling, creative expression, and social justice to enrich youth, arts, culture, and community. It has been the support of artists and audiences that have propelled us to where we are today. The Chewstick Culture Hub was being used as a resource, sanctuary, and neutral space for creatives and other charities and grassroots groups. In losing that space, we have heard even more from the supporters of the arts how important it is that we continue our work. It is hard to describe what exactly it is about Chewstick that inspires the feeling of hope in our community, so we have asked some of our dedicated artists to share what it means to them.”

The Chewstick Foundation has provided a consistent platform for developing Bermuda talents and is consistently referred to as the only home for the local creative community. This will be one of Chewstick’s first large-scale events following the fire that destroyed their home at 81 Front Street in July 2016, and the organisation hopes that the 14th Anniversary event will help raise funds for their future endeavours.

“Chew Stories of Hope” is this Friday, January 6, 2017 at the Earl Cameron Theatre at City Hall beginning with a 7:00 PM reception and 8:00 PM showtime. Tickets are available at www.ptix.bm or at the door for $30 (general admission), $15 (youth), or $100 (patron). Drinks and other merchandise will also be available for purchase. Cash or credit/debit cards will be accepted.

For more information, email fundraising@chewstick.org

#Chewstick14

FIRE Exhibition Artists

Meet the artists who have contributed artwork for the Chewstick FIRE Exhibition & Art Auction, opening Wednesday October 19th at CHUBB Gallery!

Support the Chewstick Foundation by buying a piece of original artwork by these talented local artists.

K Funk and Lady Ree – Ukulele Concert and Winter Retreat Workshop

Groove to the sweet sounds of Ukulele and vocal harmonies THIS THURSDAY at an acoustic soul performance featuring K Funk and Lady Ree, who are also our special international guest workshop facilitators for Chewstick’s Winter Retreat this coming weekend!

PERFORMERS: K Funk and Lady Ree, and surprise guest artists
DATE: Thursday, February 16, 2017 (Tomorrow Night!)
TIME: 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM
LOCATION: Bungalow56, Reid Street (above Down To Earth Health Store)
TICKETS: Available at the door.
COST: $10, proceeds supporting The Chewstick Foundation, Bermuda Registered Charity #857.

Kristin Fung and Sheree Spencer, also known as ‘K Funk and Lady Ree’, are the infamous singing ukulele ladies of the TTC Subway Musicians Program in Toronto, Canada. Bringing the sounds of acoustic soul into new environments, this creative duo performs unique interpretations of their favourite songs ranging from Al Green to Elvis Presley, and have garnered attention from Tropicana Ltd, CBC TV News, Rogers TV and Radio-Canada.

Both Kristin and Sheree are professional musicians, performing artists, event producers and certified teachers with more than ten years of career experience in the fields of Entertainment and Arts & Culture. Their latest project ‘Uke Can Sing’ is a series of educational workshops that embodies community building while teaching participants how to sing and play the ukulele. ‘Uke Can Sing’ was sponsored by Waterfront Toronto’s Artist Instillation Program in 2016, and has been selected to participate in the 2017 ‘Toronto’s Arts in The Parks Program’ through the Toronto Arts Foundation. Grateful to be a visual representation of the diversity of Toronto, the city they call home, this Barbadian-Chinese Canadian duo enjoys the versatility that the ukulele provides in spreading music across wider audiences and extending their opportunities of creativity and innovation amongst various social platforms.

Their first time in Bermuda to teach and perform together, K Funk and Lady Ree will be leading a Ukulele Workshop for 40~ participants at Chewstick’s Winter Retreat on Port’s Island this weekend (February 17-19)!

Retreat attendees are in for a treat. Chewstick will be providing 10 ukuleles, borrowed from members of the community, for participants to learn this fun little instrument that ANYONE can play!