As Covid-19 restrictions across the city continue to be lifted, the Van Wezel will offer free live music on its lawn Saturday, June 12, at 11 a.m. Kennedy Center Citizen Artist and Scholar Olmeca will perform with a live band for the first time since the pandemic began. The bilingual concert will be an immersion into Latinx culture and a celebration of community. Olmeca will also stream a lecture on "hip-hop creative strategies for culturally responsive teaching" through Van Wezel's "Artworks Anywhere" initiative on June 9 at noon over zoom.
Olmeca is a bilingual hip-hop artist, producer, activist and scholar who focuses on social justice and cultural expression. His visit to the Van Wezel will be his first time experiencing Sarasota. He hopes the concert will introduce people to the beats of Latin-American hip-hop fusion, but more importantly that the music will make people feel. "We have spent too much time doing things with our heads. It is time we feel and understand each other with our hearts," says Olmeca. "We need our hearts to take over now."
For Olmeca, art is the most powerful way to teach an audience and form community. "Art connects to the heart, psyche and spirit. Music does that on a whole other level. What's great about music is that even if your mind doesn't accept what is being said, your body will--you look down and your foot is tapping."
Ultimately, Olmeca wants the concert to be a pure celebration. Whether concert-goers learn something from the music or not, he believes it is time to celebrate as a community once again. So bring your blankets and chairs and enjoy a day fit for festivity.
Olmeca will perform on the Van Wezel Lawn on Saturday, June 12, at 11 a.m. Entry is free and all ages are welcome, RSVP here. His music can be found on all major streaming platforms.