This past summer a group of girls attended the first Miami Girls Rock Camp. Organizers are overjoyed to be one of four finalists in the 2015 Knights Arts Challenge People’s Choice Award. If they win, they take home $20,000.
Steph Taylor, a camp organizer, said the community’s passion in wanting to pass on something amazing to the girls made the camp a huge success.
While the Miami Girls Rock Camp was held at the Miami Beach Community Church, the girls came from all over the county, including one girl from Homestead.
“They gave us the space for free. Everybody donated their time for free,” Taylor said. “We put in a lot of hard work to make this happen.”
In the first year, scholarships were given to girls who otherwise could not afford to attend. Organizers reached out to families of girls who wouldn’t have had the opportunity to attend a specialty camp like this.
Taylor said they were able to mix at-risk girls from low income families with girls from families who can afford a specialty camp.
The girls ranged in age from 8 to 17.
“You did not need to have any prior musical experience,” she said. “Some girls at our camp are in their high school jazz band. They all got along and wrote these incredible songs. It was the real rock and roll experience.”
The girls learned and performed, and they were treated to live performances by women who play rock for a living.
They learned about sound design and turned toys into musical instruments.
“It’s really all about community and creating sisterhood,” Taylor said. “We are trying to set the tone for the next generation of girls who can do anything they want to do.”
She said the idea is to help the girls find their voice and give it all they have.
“It’s really quite incredible what they can do,” she said. “How amazing it made us feel be a part of that. The power of a group of women getting together is unbelievable. It’s a life-changing experience. We’re excited to grow this.”
Taylor said everyone involved in the camp was a woman.
“This is from the women musician pool in this town. We had women running sound. We had women doing all aspects of the ins and outs of this industry. We’re trying to show there are talented women that are doing music fulltime and are bad ass rock stars. Anybody can do anything. We’re trying to shift that perspective.”
Winning the arts challenge can help ensure that more girls will be able to go to a rock camp.
Each of the winning groups received $2,000 for a marketing campaign. The finalists are:
Artefactus Cultural Project: Text ART1 to 22333.
Delou Africa: Text ART2 to 22333.
Rise Up Gallery: Text ART4 to 22333.
Miami Girl’s Rock Camp: Text ART3 to 22333
Victoria Rogers, vice president of arts for the Knight Foundation, said they began the People’s Choice Award because they wanted to highlight the wonderful work that small and emerging arts organizations do for our community.
“We may not see them in the media every day, but organizations like these four nominees continuously have an impact on our lives and neighborhoods,” Rogers said, adding the arts challenge brings needed attention to the groups.
The four groups were chosen from more than a thousand submissions. Voting ends Nov. 17 at 11:59 p.m. For more information go to knightfoundation.org.