Voices of Hope, the 2022 Julie Leven Artistic Project, is an active collaboration with the Black Seed Writers Group, a collective of poets and writers who are homeless, transitionally housed, or formerly homeless, based at St. Paul’s Cathedral in downtown Boston and led by James Parker, a staff writer with The Atlantic. Commissioned composers, both professional and student, read through collections of poetry to choose their inspiration for a composition of brand new classical music. Wherever possible, SMB connected the composers with the poets themselves to hear them read their poems and discuss the vision and inspiration of their pieces.
Through this project, SMB has been proud to be a conduit between people with lived experience of homelessness, substance use disorder, mental illness, and poverty and the audiences we are serving each month in shelters, recovery centers, and low-income housing sites. A project such as this fulfills SMB values, reinforcing the elements of our work that make our mission so unique and effective. It has been an honor to collaborate with such talented and authentic artists. All of the compositions featured in Voices of Hope have been recorded by SMB musicians and can be found on the Voices of Hope playlist. You can read the full text of the Poems here.