On June 25, the Socrates Sculpture Park’s New Agora series is collaborating with The Fortune Society to present the Fortune Annual Arts Festival celebrating our community and healing through the arts. The day will be filled with workshops, performances and readings from our community members. Chon is a poet, pianist and Creative Arts intern who will bring his talents to the stage at the park during the event.
While incarcerated, Chon was searching for an outlet to express himself when he discovered the piano.
“I wasn’t into music before, but when I was incarcerated, it seemed like the most realistic thing that I could use to express myself,” Chon said.
Learning the piano became more than just achieving a new skill: his practice helped with his attention span and focus, while also giving him a creative voice.
Chon admits that performance was not something that he was always comfortable with and his first time playing for other people was an unexpected request: “I taught myself piano while I was incarcerated. I was asked to accompany the prison’s church choir one day when the regular pianist couldn’t make it and I got it done. I was nervous because I felt like I didn’t have the skillset to perform, but the pastor of the church told me, ‘You can do it – you just need the confidence to play.’”
Now on any given day at our Long Island City service center, beautiful piano music can be heard throughout the building, thanks to Chon’s talent and newfound comfort with sharing his love for the piano with his community. It has also provided him with a space to explore writing and performing his original poetry.
Chon also greatly appreciates that the community feels like a safe space where he can share poetry or music that he is working on and be accepted: “Everyone’s expression is respected and their participation is wanted. Everyone is taking the initiative on their own to be there, but now we have this environment that is welcoming. It’s definitely boosted me to perform and share more.”
Chon will be performing some of his original poetry during the headlining event of the Fortune Annual Arts Festival on June 25 when community members will take the stage and share their spoken word, music, performances, poetry and more with the audience.