Dazzmin Murry — the “Dazz” half of acclaimed rock and soul band Dazz & Brie — has spent a lot of time performing on the road over the last several years, and now she’s trying to bring some of that experience home to Little Rock. Murry’s doing that through Creators’ Village, self-described as “a 501c3 organization that impacts the creative community by bringing awareness to the social and emotional needs that currently exist in low socioeconomic communities by providing artistic outlets and resources for not only children, but also adults who desire a space to create & thrive.” Already a multihyphenate — songwriter, producer, beatmaker, multi-instrumentalist, workshop facilitator, photographer — Murry is adding non-profit leadership to that list.
“I felt like I saw a need for it after traveling with the band, with Dazz & Brie. When we would travel to L.A. or Houston or New York, I felt a sense of community, and there were resources available we didn’t have here in Arkansas. Or don’t have yet.” Community practice spaces in those cities, she found, were not only available, but tended to be connected to a network of resources for renting gear and equipment, or for finding a stand-in musician for hire.
Another gap in Arkansas, Murry said, exists when resources like gear — or even mentorships and funding opportunities — are, in fact, available, but aren’t as visible to people of color. Just as important as making those resources available is making them inclusive. “Here, as I talk to other creative people about Creators’ Village, outside of my creative community and ethnic community, they’ll say, ‘Oh, that’s actually a thing,’ or ‘Oh, so-and-so can help you with that,’ but in the community I’m coming from, those resources aren’t as visible to people of color.” Part of the goal, then, is collecting knowledge from those kinds of individual conversations and making them available on a public platform. One way Murry’s doing that is through panel discussions online, viewable on the Creators’ Village Facebook page. Another: Murry is partnering with Haxton Road Studios in Bentonville to host the (socially distanced) Creators’ Village Writers Camp in Northwest Arkansas, Sept. 11-13.
And that “emotional needs” part of Creators’ Village? It’s something that gets overlooked a lot. In Murry’s work doing creative workshops with students at Brandon House Cultural & Performing Arts Center and in other venues, she said, it was important to try to understand creators first. “In my opinion, it’s impossible to provide a service to anyone when you don’t understand what their needs are, or the best way to communicate. I love getting to know the students and how they operate best so that we can create in a comfortable environment.” That skill set, she said, could prove useful in creative workshops with adults, too. “There’s nothing more awkward and counterproductive than an uncomfortable creative session.”
Catch last week’s panel conversation here, and tune in on the Creators’ Village Facebook page tonight at 6:30 p.m. for a discussion on “Understanding Profitability and Income Streams,” with Murry and panelists Dondrae “Ferocious” Vinson, Owner and Head Engineer at Ferocious Production Studios; BK Simmons, founder of Venture Noire; and Chris James, founder and owner of The House of Art and Roots Art Connection.