News

Multiple times a week, in the bars and public spaces where we run programming, I get to listen to others’ stories and last week was particularly great.  On Tuesday and Thursday evening we played Eric B. and Rakim’s Paid In Full (if you want to read up on it, Bruce, Skye, and George all have excellent articles) and I guess the late 80’s vibe really connected with our crowd, which makes sense when you consider how much Chaka Khan gets played on the jukebox before and after our albums.  Though the best way to understand the intimacy of the places we’re invited into is to join us, time constraints and distance keep many of you away.  With that in mind, here’s a little glimpse into those last Tuesday for those of you who couldn’t make it:

The first person I want to talk about is a guy who goes by T, a Camden native born in ’76, who’s probably attended four or five of our events.  T is reserved and genuine, the sort of guy who doesn’t jump at an opportunity to hang out with a stranger but will chat for hours with those he trusts.  Aside from 2Pac’s Greatest Hits, most of the albums we’ve played haven’t really connected with him.  But from the first hit of the bass on I Ain’t No Joke, T was with it, reciting lyrics with clarity and passion.  I spent the entire A side of the album listening to stories from his childhood, stories told with the fervor of a living flame ignited by nostalgia.  The content of those stories belongs to the confidence they were shared in, but they were meaningful, welcoming stories that helped us connect more with one another.

While T and I were talking, half the bar was dancing, plastic cups and bottles in hand.  A guy no less than twice my age sporting a seersucker-slash-zuit-suit-esque combo dusted off his toprock skills and almost broke out a windmill or two, while four others bounced to the beat.  Even the bartender had a spring in her pour throughout night.  At the request of the crowd, we rolled the B side right over into the beginning of the album to keep the party going.  Three months ago, we weren’t sure if our partnership at this bar would pan out.  Now, we’re an expected part of Tuesday evenings and the owners have begun sponsoring our youth programs because they believe in our mission.  Guess that’s growth, kids.

So these updates are about to become routine, and if I’m on my game, I’ll make publishing them an every few Mondays sort of thing.  We’ll quickly find out how I do with my caffeine intake and content writing based on how tightly that timeline holds.  Fluff introductions aside, I’m hoping to get out of the writing slump I’ve been in and give yall genuine content, not just generic, neutered, non-profit filler.  I’ll do my best to let you know about plans we have for The Muse Collaborative as well as our successes and failures.  Hyper-reflective ranting will probably make its way into these posts (because that’s just me as a person) as well.  And with any luck, as we grow, I’ll pass around the baton so others from the organization can speak their piece – no sense in monopolizing the voice represented in these posts.  To that end, if there’s ever something you’d like us to consider/write/discuss, please don’t hesitate to send a message so we can consider your thoughts as well.

This summer feels like a beginning long coming, like a deep breath of air and a powerful exhale at the summit of a mountain climb.  We’re starting to run consistent programming around the city and the foundation of our organization is taking shape.  While nailing down stable funding is a process we’re working through, we’re creating the connections we need in order to serve the hip-hop artists and community of Camden to the best of our ability.  No half-assing it allowed.

Right, it’s time to get packed up and ready for another night of albums at Serrano’s Tavern (aka Schemenski’s).  We’re playing Cookie Crew’s Born This Way tonight.  If you’re free, swing by and spend some time with friends.

Peace,
~ michael

Dear New Jersey Council for the Humanities, thanks for the support!  NJHC recently announced we were one of nine organizations who would receive their bi-annual Incubation Grant.  We applied for (and received) just under $5k to help fund the launch of our album listening series, and almost all of that money will be used to hire local authors who will publish content for the albums we use. Stay tuned over the coming months for details on the albums, locations, and times for these events.  For the sake of a quasi-legal disclaimer, we’ll go ahead and let you know that while they support us and our work, the content we publish may or may not reflect the views of their organization (federal money has all sorts of parameters).

You can find our more about the NJCH on their website.

Update as of 3/01/2018 – All positions have been filled

download position announcement  Download Position Announcement

The Muse Collaborative is looking for three research assistants to work in a team-based environment and create/curate content for its hip-hop library.  The researcher team will be tasked with studying and developing materials for a thematic set of 8 hip-hop albums, including but not limited to: accurate lyric sheets, links for sampled songs, original articles and publications for each album, artists’ biographies, and original pieces on hip-hop arts and culture. Researchers will also compile content for other album sets. While each member of the team isn’t expected to be proficient in every skill mentioned below, the group as a whole will have expertise in:

·» Research and journalism
·» Hip-hop history
·» Camden history and culture

Each researcher will be provided with office supplies, program training, and training materials, and will be compensated at $12.00/hr. Due to limited capacity, The Muse Collaborative cannot provide access to workstations at this time, meaning members must work remotely and have a strong sense of self-motivation.

Researchers are strongly encouraged to attend the events resulting from their work and are also welcome to join us in raising funds for further cycles of the program.

Requirements

·» Commit 15 hours per week for eight weeks
·» Able to meet with all team members once a week in Camden during the project
·» Passion for hip-hop arts and culture
·» Legally eligible to work in the United States (felonies are not a disqualifier)
·» Strong preference is given to residents of Camden city

Applicants should send a resume, a brief description of themselves and their interest in the position, and writing samples to michael@themusecollaborative.org.  If submitting a digital application poses difficulty for you, please call (856) 209-0730 to arrange an alternative application plan.

All applications are due by February 15th, 2018 at 5:00 PM and interviews will be scheduled for the following week, with positions beginning on March 5th.

The Muse Collaborative does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, ancestry, marital status, gender, sexual orientation, age, physical disability, veteran’s status, political service or affiliation, color, religion, economic status, or national origin.

Update as of 10/01/2017 – All positions have been filled

download position announcement  Download Position Announcement

The Muse Collaborative is looking for three research assistants to work in a team-based environment and create/curate content for its first community program.  The researcher team will be tasked with studying and developing materials for 8 hip-hop albums, including but not limited to: accurate lyric sheets, links for sampled songs, original articles and publications for each album, and interviews to support such articles.  While each member of the team isn’t expected to be proficient in every skill mentioned below, the group as a whole will have expertise in:

  • Research or journalism
  • Hip-hop history
  • Camden history and culture

Each researcher will be provided with office supplies, program training, and training materials, and will be compensated at $10/hr (for a maximum of 80 hours).  Due to limited capacity, The Muse Collaborative cannot provide access to workstations at this time.  While each member of the team is expected to contribute eighty hours of work to the project, additional volunteer effort is welcomed.

Researchers are strongly encouraged to attend the events resulting from their work and are also welcome to join us in raising funds for further cycles of the program.  While additional financial compensation cannot be offered for fundraising efforts at this time, support and training will be provided for any member of the team interested in nonprofit development.

Requirements

  • Able to commit ~15 hours per week until completion to the project
  • Able to meet with all team members once a week in Camden during the project
  • Passion for hip-hop arts and culture
  • Legally eligible to work in the United States (felonies are not a disqualifier)
  • Strong preference is given to residents of Camden city

Applicants should send a resume and a brief description of themselves and their interest in the position to michael@themusecollaborative.org.  If submitting a digital application poses difficulty for you, please call (856) 209-0730 to arrange an alternative application plan.

All applications are due by September 29th, 2017 at 5:00 pm.

The Muse Collaborative does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, ancestry, marital status, gender, sexual orientation, age, physical disability, veteran’s status, political service or affiliation, color, religion, economic status, or national origin.

We’ve been pretty quiet as per usual, working away behind the scenes on all the little details most people aren’t interested in.  The good news?  We’re gearing up to launch programming in 2017, meaning all our preparation, all the behind-the-scenes details like computer coding, document design, strategy meetings, and coffee drinking will finally pay off.  As always, we’d rather talk with you than have you read a post, so if you’re interested in where things are, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

From Camden,
~ michael

While all of us here at The Muse Collaborative have been working away behind the scenes for a while, we wanted to start reaching out to the world and this site is one of our first steps.  We’ll be rolling out a lot of new content over the summer connected to our initial programs (and a website that looks like it wasn’t designed in 2002) , but until that time posts might be few and far between.  In the meantime, feel free to add us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.  While we’re keeping a low profile until the real excitement starts, subscribing early means you’ll get all of our updates once they go public.

From Camden,
~ michael