ROOTSFest 2011

ROOTSFest 2011 is a 5-day celebration of arts and culture, and an exploration of the ways by which art and culture may be used to foster healing, leadership and sustainability in our communities. ROOTSFest is put on as a collaborative effort between Alternate Roots, a re-gifting arts organization based in Atlanta, GA and CultureWorks, an arts group based in West Baltimore. This celebration of West Baltimore is based around the Highway to Nowhere — the project on Route 40 that displaced hundreds of families and created not an active freeway, but a failed, empty, and somewhat haunting strip dividing neighborhoods and communities. CultureWorks and Alternate Roots are seeking to create a new image/perception of this area as a blank, green slate (52 acres of green space along the Highway are under- (or utterly un-)used and will act as the stages to both performing artists and art installations) to serve as the foundation that may reawaken a community in disrepair.
ROOTSFest will take place from June 22-26, and will be an all-day (and most the night) affair. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday will host the National Learning Exchange, an opportunity for artists and community activists from all around the country to come together to discuss and explore the impact and possibilities of arts and culture on cities, neighborhoods and communities such as ours. The Learning Exchange will run from 10-4, starting with a keynote speaker and moving into breakout sessions. Late Night Cabarets will take place Thursday and Friday evening (10:30pm until…) at the LoFT in Station North and artists will be staying in MICA dorms for the entirety of the festival. Following the NLE on Wednesday and Thursday, ROOTSFest will be hosting performances (everything from dance to theatre to spoken word)… somewhere, hopefully in Station North. 
Needs!!!  We’re looking for people to 1) come and support the festival (Sat (10am-10pm) & Sun (10am-6pm). Outdoor Festivals are totally free and will have performances on 4 stages over the course of the weekend, as well as artist, community, health and vendor booths), 2) be part of the National Learning Exchange (fees for local folks are only $25/day, which is pretty great). This is an amazing experiential opportunity to open an absolutely essential conversation. In order to be effective, we need to hear from people from all walks of life. Please come! 3) if you’re interested, we need really good and interesting and motivating folks to help lead some break out rooms at the NLE and 4) this is where the majority of you come in: LOTS of volunteers. For everything.
Please see the official ROOTSFest website at for all information. If people are interested in joining the NLE, they can sign up on the website or contact Natalya at Volunteers should contact Jai Brooks at or
at 443-413-2577. Anyone with questions is also welcome to e-mail or call me at anytime at