The last two days have been inspiring for our Young Artists at Mosaic. On March 26, 2019, Detroit native, American theatrical producer and new funder of Mosaic, Jeffery Seller, stopped by Mosaic headquarters for an exclusive panel discussion with our Main Stage performers.
Our Young Artists prepared for weeks to meet the producer of ‘Hamiton’. Earlier this year, Seller invested $1 million in Mosaic summer camp and middle school programs to be disbursed for over the next five years. We were truly grateful and honored for this opportunity to meet Seller and perform our Living Brochure and two pieces from our Spring Concert “This is Me” and “You Are not Alone”.
Seller’s words about Mosaic will forever leave a footprint on our hard work and dedication, “Your work is phenomenal; your rigor is phenomenal; your focus is phenomenal,” he said, adding, “It’s rewarding for me to spend an hour with you because you bring the hope that your generation will make so many wonderful things possible.”
Before our performance, Seller joined Mosaic’s Main Stage singers, actors, and technicians for an interactive discussion about what it takes to be successful. Young Artists asked questions concerning fear, artistic creation, failure, work ethic, and determination. Our Young Artists were very enthused to hear meaningful words of wisdom from Seller.
On Fear: “I had no idea how I was going to get from 2020 Eastwood to New York to a life on Broadway. We were relatively poor. I was afforded the opportunity to attend the University of Michigan with a Pell Grant. Sometimes, we don’t know how we’re going to get there; we have to put one foot in front of the other and keep going,” Seller told our Young Artists.
On Success: “Don’t get focused on what’s going to happen down the road. Ask yourself, What am I going to achieve this year, then it becomes doable. Make a one year plan and team it up with a four-year plan but be flexible,” Seller remarked.
On Failure: “There have been many times I feel I failed. When my shows fail, I don’t say they failed because it rained, or any other excuse. I say they failed because not enough people liked it, then I ask myself how we can do better. We as the artist have to be brave enough to ask how we can do better.”
Young Artists had more questions than we had time, which speaks to the drive and determination of our artists and participants. Seller’s love for the arts, theatre, and for the youth became very evident. In the same light, his passion for ‘making’ stories and plays that are an integral part of society is just as evident. “What I produce is a representation of my values and the stories that move me and others,” Seller remarked. “Making something was more about the positive experience than it was escaping something oppressing,” he added.
His advice to our Young Artists; “Make what you love and put all your integrity into it and find out how the world will respond.’’ Seller continued by speaking to the importance and need for Mosaic Youth Theatre. “Mosaic is your safe haven to make stuff. By coming here, you’re laying the bricks for your life it’s not about having a hard time or easy time, it’s about doing the work” Seller remarked.
Our Young Artists were over the moon! This experience will forever mean something special to their artistic craft and the development of their lives.
The next day, on March 27, 2019, a group of Main Stage performers attended an exclusive student reception with Jeffery Seller hosted by the Detroit Economic Club. Participating was a great honor for Mosaic Youth Theatre, thanks to our sponsor, Detroit Public Television.
Young Artists were given another opportunity to ask questions, meet fellow creative youth theatre students, and attend the main luncheon, which included a conversation with Jeffery Seller, moderated by Devin Scillian, News Anchor for WDIV-TV Local 4. Attending Young Artists were exposed to over 100 prominent individuals in the Metro Detroit area and Mosaic was recognized as a recipient of Jeffery Seller’s generosity for his contribution to Mosaic Youth Theatre.
“Opportunities to dialogue with thought leaders in the arts and culture and adjacent sectors both increases young artists’ sense of agency and exposes young artists to a variety of careers in which their innate creativity can advance their communities and careers,” remarked DeLashea Strawder, Artistic Director, Mosaic Youth Theatre.