why we exist
Bay Area Creative provides opportunities for creative expression and the study of the cultural impacts of famous and contemporary works of spoken word poetry that empower individuals to develop empathic communication skills and foster positive change in themselves and their communities. We work predominantly with families of color in under-served neighborhoods in the geographic areas of San Francisco, Oakland, Richmond, Berkeley, Pittsburgh, Hayward, Daly City, Pacifica and San Jose.
We envision a world where people listen courageously, speak thoughtfully and act equitably in times of conflict and in times of joy.
"I want my children to be able to kneel and pray without the weight of a thousand crumbling buildings on their shoulders"
- Deema A 7th Grade
what is slam poetry?
Slam Poetry is a fusion of traditional poetry, hip-hop, story-telling, and theater. Students are given the tools to express emotions, challenge ideas, and educate audiences in a creative way. The performances are interactive and entertaining. Slams (performance poetry competitions) are held at city, regional, and national levels.
Poet Visits and Residencies: Local professional poets go out to school sites to run writing and performance workshops
After School Clubs: Local professional poets start after school clubs that learn advanced poetry techniques
Camps: Kids get to spend summers working on larger performance projects with other activities integrated
Poetry And Mixed Art Events: Local and youth poets share the stage for a few hours of creativity amplified
Professional Development: Professional poets work with teachers to offer strategies on bringing out student voice
Team Building: Professional poets corporate team building workshops to boost morale, inclusion, and teamwork.
Therapeutic Arts: Professional poets hold workshops to promote individual and family healing through spoken word
SPARC Ink Anthology: Youth writers and Bay Area Artists have their work published in annual book
Filmmaking: Professional film makers work with students to create short videos based on their poetry
"My soul was born on a playground.
My heart came from the seasaw; it never stops teetering"
Daphne Y 7th Grade
"Imagine women have always been in a box. Imagine the sound of fists against metal walls slowly expanding the cramped space so we can make more room for our girls to escape"
Shelby B & Amanda E 6th Grade
school sites & camps
Melrose Leadership Academy
Ocean Shore School
Ingrid B. Lacey
Luis Valdez Leadership
Sylvester Greenwood Academy
The Berkeley Slam
The Oakland Slam
Rich Oak Alchemy Slam
Mike Taylor teaches spoken word to kids of all ages. He has performed on stages from San Francisco to London and he's led national poetry teams in competition. He founded the SPARC Poetry organization and continues to create workshops that connect to the youth from all walks of life.
BAC Executive Director
SPARC Poetry Program Director
Patrick Ohslund has been a teaching artist and professional spoken word poet for over ten years. He has toured across the nation as well as internationally and has opened for renowned musical groups such as The Wailers. Patrick currently leads spoken word workshops for students ages five to 25, and is a lecturer at San Francisco State University.
BAC Deputy Director,
Digital Storytellers Program Director
Jamey Williams is a professional spoken word poet, actor, rapper, and educator. He has taught poetry at a multitude of institutions including: college universities, juvenile detention centers, public schools, and community events. He makes sure that students experience a fun and safe community during his lessons.
Program Director, Director
Jenna Robinson a two-time grand slam champion of Hawaii Slam and has performed across the U.S. as a street musician and as a part of 6 national slam poetry teams, taking second place nationally in 2015. She has an MA in Expressive Arts Therapy from the California Institute of Integral Studies and works as a therapist with survivors of domestic violence and their children. She specializes in strengths-based, postmodern and intermodal approaches.
Collin Edmonds, is an activist, singer, and poet hailing from Richmond, Ca. He is an organizer of the Rich Oak Alchemy Slam and Oakland Poetry Slam. He enjoys writing poetry, critiquing societal norms, and shattering expectations of black men in America.
His poetry is a reflection of the Hood and the identities it holds within its palms. Collin teaches spoken word, and inspires students to rise above their situations.
Brianni “Bri” Blue is a published author, spoken word artist and motivational speaker from Berkeley, CA. Bri’s passionate and emotionally-charged performances allow her to connect with audiences through empathy, relatability and inspiration. She was the Founder and Host of the weekly “Speak Easy” open mic series, and created the 'Unapologetically You' Awareness Campaign with a mission to uplift and empower women.
Born and raised in the San José, CA, Jarvis’ work delves into his relationship with his communities, sexuality, masculinity, national/global politics, lineage, race, gardening, mental health, personal growth, love, love, and love. Jarvis is a 2019 Poetry Foundation Incubator fellow, the 2019 Silicon Valley Creates and Content Magazines Emerging Artist Award recipient, and the San José Poetry Slam’s 2018 Grand Slam Champion.
Nazelah Jamison is a performance poet, actor, vocalist, and emcee. She is an East Coast transplant, former organizer of the Oakland Poetry Slam and sometimes reluctant superhero. Her first book of poetry, Evolutionary Heart, was released in Fall of 2016 on Nomadic Press. Nazelah gives the best hugs in the Bay Area.
Kevin (Prophet) Wright
Kevin Wright is an MC, Spoken Word Poet and Arts Educator from Richmond, CA. He was a member of the 2016 Oakland Poetry Slam team and is one of the organizers for the Rich Oak Alchemy Open Mic, the Oakland Poetry Slam and the Berkeley Poetry Slam. Kevin was a founding youth advisory council member of the RYSE Center in Richmond where he later taught Spoken Word Poetry.
Community Partnerships Manager
Jordan’s philosophy on education ties together hands-on learning, intersectional feminism, and the amplification of youth voices. She has performed with and mentored slam poetry teams nationwide. Jordan also works as a community leader facilitating strong relationships between grassroots organizations and the Bay Area women.
Abe Becker has been grand slam champion of the Berkeley Poetry Slam and Cal Slam. He has been a finalist of the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational as poet and coach, and he’s led workshops with every age level in schools and various community spaces. He loves the way poetry builds bridges both between people and within yourself.
Tim McClain believes every person has an individual uniqueness when dancing. Hip hop allows one to find their identity through the art of “freestyling”. Tim teaches kids to listen to the different tempos and rhythms in all types of music while testing out their skills and their creativity to make new moves. Through positive encouragement and peer support many students step out of their comfort zone to enjoy break dancing.
Jamie DeWolf’s diverse career as a performer and filmmaker has taken him from the lyrical brawls of the National Poetry Slam scene and HBO’s Def Poetry Jam to filming dangerous documentaries in the militarized streets of Kashmir. He’s written and performed with inmates at San Quentin Penitentiary and won “Performance of the Year” by NPR’s Snap Judgment.
Colin Johnson is a multi-hyphenate production artist working in the Bay Area since 2008.
His work has been produced or featured at Playground, Z Space, Pianofight, The Circus Center Cabaret, San Diego Comic-Con, Image Comics, Pint-Sized Plays, The Olympians Festival, Shotz, Shotgun Players, The Curran, and various film venues throughout the country.
Charles Ekabumi Elik
Tongo Eisen- Marte
Community Partnerships Manager
Solicitor, Legal Advisor