Woke: a slang term, easing into mainstream rhetoric from AAVE (African American Vernacular English), a dialect rooted in Black culture. In that context, awake is often rendered as-woke. These days, 'woke' is increasingly used as a byword for social awareness.
Woke Towers was a social practice event consisting of a painting and poetry slam sourced from local artists and poets that took place in the attic space at the State Theater in State College, PA. The student collective W.O.R.D.S. performed their team and individual slam poetry alongside live painters from the School of Visual Arts. As the poets performed their work the painters responded through visual representation creating a dialogue between the two disciplines. All canvases were faced away from the audience to ensure the poets had the crowd's full attention. As the painters completed their works, the attic space slowly evolved into a gallery as each piece was then hung for the audience to view. At the end of the Slam, we asked all members, audience and artists, to participate in a reflection of the event that took the shape of a panel discussion. We see Woke Towers as a kickstarter to a larger project of inclusivity, community outreach, and social awareness. By incorporating viewer participation, student run groups, and artists in the community we hope to open up The State Theaters patron demographic by addressing the specific wants and needs of a ever growing student population.