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Express Yourself: Party in the Set - Celebrating 20 Years in Performance

Endicott College is pleased to announce the exhibition and reception for their longtime collaborator, Express Yourself, Inc.  Express Yourself:  Party in the Set, Celebrating 20 Years in Performance, is presented in the Carol Grillo Gallery and the Desnoyers Overlook of the Walter J. Manninen Center for the Arts, Endicott College, 376 Hale Street, Beverly from now through October 21. Gallery hours are Monday – Friday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Starting on September 15:  Monday – Thursday: 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., Friday: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Saturday + Sunday: 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. Please join us on Sunday, September 28, from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. for a lively reception and dance to the Reggae and Latin Rhythms by Combo Sabroso Quartet with Stan Strickland and the Express Yourself Drummers.  The exhibition, reception, and performance are free and open to the public.

Express Yourself immerses young people in music, dance, and art, empowering them with life-changing results. They celebrate cultural diversity and collaboration with isolated youth from 17 Department of Mental Health facilities. Since 1989, over 7,000 children have worked collaboratively with artists such as Blue Man Group, STOMP, and Keith Lockhart. Together they create the set designs, visual art, and performance pieces for their grand celebration at the Wang Theatre, and these sets are now on display at Endicott College for all to see in the Party in the Set exhibition. Large, colorful works of art on the first and second floor include puppets, origami fabric, lanterns, silhouettes, and geometric patterns which bring the Walter J. Manninen Center for the Arts to life and create a party atmosphere.  Express Yourself challenges myths surrounding young people with mental illness and at-risk youth, allowing these individuals to explore art as a path toward a healthy sense of identity and feeling valued for their creativity. Each year more than 300 young people collaborate and celebrate in a thriving multi-disciplinary art community.

In 1988, Paula Conrad – educator, choreographer, and dancer – founded Express Yourself to bring creative arts programs to youth in residential and outpatient treatment facilities. Stan Strickland – educator and award-winning musician and performer – joined her as co-executive director in 1995, and together they expanded Express Yourself into a network of professionals, affecting the lives of young people in over 50 Massachusetts cities and towns.

From the beginning, nationally recognized guest artists joined with Express Yourself to collaborate, create, and perform with program youth at their annual year-end celebration. Over the past 25 years, they’ve developed a team of creative professionals who care deeply about their community. Conrad states, “We know that art can heal and change lives — we see it happen every day. Our team is committed to being a positive, consistent presence in the lives of the youth we serve.” 

If you have any questions regarding the exhibition Express Yourself:  Party in the Set, Celebrating 20 Years in Performance or any of the related programming, please contact Kathleen Moore at 978-232-2655 or kmoore@endicott.edu.  If you are interested in learning more about Express Yourself, Inc., please see their website at:  www.exyo.org


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