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Listen to Your Art 3 Music & Arts Festival - Fundraiser for The Trevor Project - Set for July 9

November 21, 2016
By Susan Trower

Listen to Your Art - July 9, 2017, at Mike Wallace Park in KingstonWest Sound Academy (WSA) students have organized and directed Listen to Your Art music and arts festivals in Port Gamble for the last two summers.  These entirely student-run festivals have raised over $13,000 for The Trevor Project, the nation’s largest suicide prevention hotline specifically geared toward LGBTQ teens.  The three founders graduated from West Sound Academy in June, but now current students are planning for a third Listen to Your Art festival, set for July 9, 2017 at a new location: Mike Wallace Park in Kingston.

Past Listen to Your Art festivals have tackled two goals:  promoting greater awareness to the Kitsap community of the problem of teen suicide, and raising funds for a nationally-recognized organization that is addressing the problem around the country.  "Listen to Your Art is important because it educates people about The Trevor Project, while providing a super fun day of music and festivities," Grace Schmitt, a WSA freshman, explains.

Listen to Your Art 2, August 2016 - Espen Swanson photoLast summer's Listen to Your Art festival in August was very successful, with 300 attendees, around $7,000 raised for The Trevor Project, and involvement of fifteen business sponsors and artists.  Espen Swanson, WSA senior and veteran of the first two festivals, is one of three student co-leaders of this year's Listen to Your Art team, serving as strategic planning manager.  "As we’ve started work on Year 3, one of our biggest challenges has been to figure out how to restructure with new people," he admits.  Swanson is using a web-based project management and collaboration tool to organize students' efforts in marketing, planning, and fund-raising. 

The Art Wall at Listen to Your Art, August, 2016 - Espen Swanson photoThe group is excited about the new location and changes planned for Listen to Your Art 3 on July 9 at Mike Wallace Park in Kingston.  "We will have more bands (two stages), more artists, and more educational opportunities like workshops," Swanson says. "One of our main goals this year is to increase community engagement, so we are looking for educational organizations, such as GLSEN or The Trevor Project, to participate more in the festival," he adds.

Listen to Your Art crowdsourcing page on YouCaringThe students have launched a crowd-sourced funding drive on YouCaring to raise the necessary seed money to stage the festival.  The overall fundraising goal this year is $10,000.  All donations are tax deductible, and all profits will go to benefit either Listen to Your Art programs or The Trevor Project. 

The group's fundraising page is at:

The Art Wall at Listen to Your Art, August, 2016 - Espen Swanson photoAs they work through all of the details of putting on a complex event, student organizers keep in mind their ultimate goal, stated in the Listen to Your Art mission statement: "We hope to overcome the taboo that is assigned to the topic of suicide and create a safe and open space that is willing to discuss and overcome the issue through a day of creative education."  Quinn Lanning, WSA junior and member of the team, says, "Being a part of Listen to Your Art has been an amazing experience. It's expanded my knowledge of event organization and it's brought me closer to my community. As an LGBT person and activist, I love knowing that this festival will benefit many other LGBT youth in need of a voice. "

Annika Nelson at Listen to Your Art, August, 2016 - Espen Swanson photoAnnika Nelson, another WSA junior, sums up the feelings of all of the students involved in planning next summer's festival.  "I've been involved with Listen to Your Art since the beginning. It started with a bunch of high school students wanting to raise awareness about the Trevor project and get people comfortable talking about the subject. Throughout the process, we've grown as a team professionally, as well as gained the opportunity to be advocates for an important cause. I can't wait to see how it all turns out."

More information about Listen to Your Art can be found at:
Listen to Your Art social media include: