Still Waters Collective began as an adult open mic at a Milwaukee nightclub called Mecca. From four poets standing sharing their work around a tall cocktail table, the Still Waters series grew to a weekly institution that nurtured a community for more than a decade.
Still Waters founder, Dasha Kelly, began being invited into schools and organizations as an established writer and performer. She created a constellation of workshops, afterschool projects, and special event series tailored for exciting young people about their own ideas, voice, individuality and agency. By 2008 Still Waters was predominantly focused on youth, delivering programs to three area schools. Today, SWC delivers programming to more than three dozen schools every year. Further, we offer employment, leadership development, and career training to program alumni between the ages of 18-25. Our family spans generations once again, with an adult open mic, a storytelling social, public workshops and discussions.
The future of Still Waters is to continue gathering our best ideas and selves around pages and stages, invigorating in us all the habit of listening AND being heard.
Still Waters Collect applies the craft of creative writing and the art of spoken word to build community, capacity and confidence.
DASHA KELLY HAMILTON
Dasha founded Still Waters Collective in 2000 as an open mic, and grew the event to an organization and an award-winning community-building initiative. She was nominated as a USA Arts Fellow, twice been a finalist as Poet Laureate for the State of Wisconsin and was named Artist of the Year by the City of Milwaukee. A former “Army brat,” Dasha lives in Milwaukee with her husband, their blended brood of five children, and one imperious cat.
As a teacher, she guides others through discussion and creative rhetoric in the hopes of building community and gaining understanding of self in relation to the world, Additionally, Alea wields her skills for sharpening the wit and critical thinking skills of all participants.
I am an activist for the generation of the millennials and youth from education, political, to public health. Rather it be physically, mentally, or emotionally my focus is on what’s behind the scenes. Stand for Equality for all, especially amongst people of color and women. I speak from experience and what I’ve witnessed I am the voice for the unheard.