Slam Academy Showcase

by J. Anthony Allen


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The Slam Academy was created by three friends, J. Anthony Allen (MN Orchestra – Composers’ Institute Fellow), James Patrick (American Composers Forum MECA Award), and Joshua Clausen (Jerome Fund for New Music Recipient). All three are active producers and educators in the Twin-Cities new music scene.

Slam Academy’s needs are probably somewhat different from many other USA Projects. Most groups need a funding push to make a great artistic endeavor come to life, and the reward is a great art for everyone. We’re looking to do the same thing, but as a means to another end: we need to create a powerful, dynamic showcase of our best student’s work in order to reach a wider audience and inspire new creative voices.

Slam Academy was created to provide focused, subject-by-subject, a-la-carte-style instruction in the electronic arts. Educational opportunities in electronic music are widely available at the college level, but the degree-seeking path isn’t for everyone. It can be prohibitively expensive, locking young creators into crushing debt before they can find themselves as artists. As an alternative, Slam Academy offers content ‘modules’ – three two hour classes, one per week for modest fees, around $50 per hour of instruction. In that way it’s not very different from private violin lessons, or a community-ed class in ceramics. It really is all about the music and the community. We are doing what we love most, making music and sharing the creative process with others.

The project has yielded some incredible work from very talented students already. We've developed the project with grassroots promotion and no outside funding, and we're really excited about what this has turned into. A large-scale showcase performance is the next step for us, to provide our students with the exposure they deserve in the Minneapolis music community, and to get the word out about what we do at Slam Academy so we can provide this opportunity to others.

We will use USA Projects funds to provide the best possible performance experience for our students, renting a beautiful theater, providing in-depth critique and development sessions, using the highest-quality sound and light equipment and promoting the showcase as an A-list event. To this end we plan to hire a short-term marketing consultant to help us reach more diverse audiences. Our initial plans for promotion include varied targeted advertising strategies and free workshops in public schools. We will also be bringing on a graphic designer to develop a full class brochure, T-shirts, and stickers and other items.

This project is one that we are all very passionate about. We believe in our mission, and we know we can achieve it. If we raise beyond our $6000 goal, we will extend our public school workshops out into the suburbs and surrounding area, as well as our targeted advertising.

Thank you for your consideration.