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Milwaukee Poet Laureate On Importance Of Creative Endeavors

Dasha Kelly Hamilton spoke with Lake Effect’s Becca Schimmel about how she has adapted to sharing her work and facilitating conversations online.";

Getting wrapped up in a spoken word performance and feeling a part of an artistic experience looks and sounds different since the coronavirus pandemic closed venues. Artists rely on gifting a connection to people in exchange for making a living. Performers have had to adapt to moving their creative endeavors into a digital space. 

Lake Effect recently launched the series Pandemic Performers — where we’re highlighting some of the work coming from Milwaukee artists, performers and venues at a time when many of us are still isolated. 

Dasha Kelly Hamilton is Milwaukee’s poet laureate. She is a writer, performer and creative change agent. She often holds workshops and collaborates with other artists in the community and even opened a new venue in October last year. Hamilton says while some artists are creating during this time, others aren’t because for many, their art isn’t the only thing they are responsible for.

“Because outside of creating stuff we still are partners and parents and neighbors,” she said. “Y’know we still are citizens also trying to figure this out.”

When Hamilton’s calendar of events emptied itself out due to the pandemic, she felt that nagging question of whether she was right not to pursue a practical career, such as accounting. Seeing how many people turned to painting lessons and creative hobbies reminded her of the importance of her work.

“These creative endeavors are keeping this planet alive, and sane and still human,” she said.