Young Women’s Drumming Empowerment Project (YWDEP) was founded in 2005 on a grant from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities’ Young Artist Program. YWDEP recruited young women ages 13-18 living in Washington, DC for a summer program that engaged them in weekly workshops with DC-based female artists on African hand drumming along with poetry, spoken word, performance technique, movement, theater staging, song writing and more. In its pilot year, YWDEP young women were exposed to an all-women’s drumming group in Baltimore, the infamous Malcolm X Park drumming circle in DC, and two DC open-mic poetry nights. The 2005 YWDEP group—who call themselves the She Poets of the Rizing Moon—has performed at 8 separate venues since September, and will engage as mentors to a new group of YWDEP participants for 2006. In 2006, a Director, 3 staff, 2 interns, 4 mentors, and 8 local artists engaged in manifesting the talents of another group of young women, empowered to use their hands, voices, hearts and minds to express themselves.

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