Introducing: Deep Under Ground

Cheyenne Lever Arts & Entertainment Contributor

Deep Under Ground, a collaborative event whose mission is “channeling discontent into creative outlets to create nonviolent direct action,” will be coming to Corvallis for the first time this Jan.

DUG was established within the inner city Portland area, created and curated by two women, Mia O’Connor and Madenna Ibrahim, who hope to share and expand this experience of a lifetime.

By realizing the need for a united community, more specifically “to be able to capture the underground scenes and the art scenes in this community and others,” O’Connor strives to build a creative outlet for artists of all backgrounds.

“It’s not a party, it’s not a function, it’s not anything you’ve really been to before, it’s really like a special space. Where things that don’t happen as often as they need to happen, actually happen,” says Monet Ezra, attendee.

People find the time to come together once a month—sometimes twice—to engage in what this event has to offer. It celebrates the awareness of community through the power of poetry, live music, spoken word, visual arts and performance.

“DUG is about the community, and all the artists being respected. It’s so important to have an outlet to speak,” said O’Connor.

Steven Christian, former football player and graduate of OSU with a Master of Arts in interdisciplinary studies, participated in the one-year anniversary of DUG this past Friday by demonstrating a live painting. This specific piece of work titled, A King On His Throne, depicts his own rendition of characters influenced by the TV show The Boondocks.

Now pursuing visual arts, Christian saw DUG as a great opportunity to showcase some of his work.

“Their thing was providing a platform for artists, specifically performing artists and I just figured I had talent to lend to the event to make it better.”

DUG has cultivated a regular audience of people ranging between the ages of 18 to 35 and welcomes everyone.

“We have achieved major growth. We’ve gone from 20 people to 200 people to a sold out show, it’s all been because of good people,” O’Connor said.

Many individuals find roles of importance within DUG, “We have the skills and the knowledge to express what people are feeling. In many ways we are the voice for the voiceless population because we are the ones that create art that people resonate with,” Christian said.

Also participating was Judah Mobley, a musician from Southern California who has lived in the Portland area on and off since 2006. Going by his stage name of Bel’air Verde, he performed a set of four original songs at the event. Mobley describes this experience as a “social event for people that are looking for honest interaction—genuine interaction.”

He finds art to be important because it is accessible to everyone, “It’s an organic thing and a neutral environment to discuss ideas with each other” Mobley said.

From the curator herself, O’Connor invites you to “Open your mind, free yourself, and just try it. I have not met one person that didn’t have fun at DUG or didn’t leave inspired.”

DUG will be making its way to Corvallis this Saturday, Jan. 23. Details for this event can be found via the following social media sites up to a day prior to the actual event.

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