This Saturday at Amsterdam in St. Paul, the newly formed Devin Smith Scholarship Foundation is working to raise money for an endowed scholarship fund to provide some extra help for graduates of St. Paul Central High with creative talent. The "Touch The Sun" show features Heiruspecs and Aaron and the Sea, two groups with Central alum, as well as St. Paul representatives Jordan Looney and The Homegrown Crew. The foundation honors the memory of 2007 Central graduate Devin Smith, who died in a boating accident last year but left behind a legacy of creative spirit.
A rapper, poet and writer himself, Devin earned a degree from New York University with honors in creative writing and Islamic studies, and his close friends began work to continue his dream of building community through the arts and education. This show marks the group's first big push in what will be an ongoing pursuit of aiding Central students, many of whom face financial struggle, to reach their goals of higher education. The high school maintains a high percentage of students who move on to college, as well as a number of respected alum in the music scene.
Live hip-hop institution Heiruspecs have used their pull in service of scholarship opportunities in the past, most pointedly with their annual fundraisers for their own Heiruspecs Scholarship, whose goals are like-minded with the promoters of "Touch The Sun". The band itself is a shining example of what can become of positive reinforcement and creative encouragement, forming at Central in their high school years and going on to become one of the biggest names out of Minnesota. More than simply a drive for finances, the Devin Smith Scholarship Foundation is hoping to foster this sort of community for future generations to reach their fullest potential.
"This is what St. Paul is all about. This is the community we grew up in, and the community that inspired Devin to pursue his creative passions. We are fortunate to have the support of many people in our community and grateful to the Amsterdam, Heiruspecs, and St. Paul Central High School for their assistance and support in our efforts", says board member Aaron Rosenthal, a close friend of Devin. "Losing Devin was a horrible shock for all of his friends. He had so much more creative energy to give us. We created the foundation to provide a way to continue to pass that on,".
The spirit of an event like this usually makes for a really great show, not only in the solidarity of the performers and the promoters, but also in keeping the memory someone alive by continuing to fulfill their strongest ideals. It represents one of the most empowering things about our arts community in the Twin Cities: The attempt to sustain positive creative movement, centered in and propelled by the community itself, all under the pretense of a really fun and worthwhile show.