The Hero Project was inspired by Mr. Rogers. During an interview, Mr. Rogers was once asked who are his heroes. Mr. Rogers listed a few marvelous, well-known, and impactful people and then discussed who he believed to be the most important hero of all –

The Unknown Hero.

The Unknown Hero is our neighbor, who’s story is untold and has yet to be celebrated. It is the responsibility of our neighborhood to honor, elevate, listen, and acknowledge the voices of our Unknown Heroes.

IRISHIA HUBBARD

An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times. I think that is true of painters, sculptors, poets, musicians. As far as I’m concerned, it’s their choice, but I CHOOSE to reflect the times and situations in which I find myself. That, to me, is my duty. And at this crucial time in our lives, when everything is so desperate, when everyday is a matter of survival, I don’t think you can help but be involved. Young people, black and white, know this. That’s why they’re so involved in politics. We will shape and mold this country or it will not be molded and shaped at all anymore. So I don’t think you have a choice. How can you be an artist and NOT reflect the times? That to me is the definition of an artist.” – Nina Simone 

What is your daily inspiration to create change?

When contemplating the impact I hope to have on our world, I can’t help but think of my art. I am driven by the climate of the world around me. I am often inspired by musical compositions, poetry and current events. With the current state of the Black Lives Matter movement, I have been inspired to read more works on black feminism, which has led me to investigate how my experiences are deeper than childhood trauma. I am currently researching the resilience of my culture in relation to our history and how the colonization of mental health has erased intergenerational and oppression-based traua. As well as how dance curriculum and the dance industry can use this knowledge to promote inclusivity. 

What is your favorite way to connect with others?

I love connecting through social media. Covid has changed the way we interact with others and provided new opportunities for people to connect from all over the world. Through various online platforms, programs and performances, I have been able to make new friends while continuing to cultivate my current friendships. 

 

How do you believe you help bring your community closer?

I believe my collective, The Hubbard Collective, is providing support and opportunities for our community. We originally started off as a dance company, but have transformed into something bigger. Our mission is to create pieces that challenge the audience’s perception of dance by combining strong musicality, narrative, and performance. We aim to support and amplify the voices of all artists by creating programs, events, and performances that give artists a platform to express themselves.

  

Our organization currently runs two other programs: By Artists for Artists &

Black Artists Matter.

 

The mission of the By Artists for Artists program is to provide financial

support to artists, businesses, and nonprofit organizations who have been

affected by Covid-19. 

 

The mission of the Black Artists Matter program is to

create a space where black art is celebrated by featuring weekly artists,

hosting art shows, and by providing virtual discussions on black-centered topics. 

 

I plan to continue expanding my collective and to share my art because it is my duty.  I am thankful for the community that I found within Ra and to be able to share my work with my fRAmily. 

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