The Milagro Center in Delray Beach has become a hub for multicultural learning since it opened in October 1998. Classes are offered in dance, African drumming, tai chi, pottery, and various other visual and performing arts by a racially diverse faculty, and artwork on the walls represents artists from myriad cultural backgrounds.
In keeping with its mission of community outreach and togetherness, the center staff has decided to set aside the third Friday of every month for its Black Box Coffeehouse, a sort of cabaret and open-mic affair at which anybody and everybody is invited to perform. Held in the Milagro's intimate, 100-seat black-box theater, the coffeehouse each month will feature a different lineup of local performers and open-mic time for all comers.
"It's a space turned into a black-box theater for musical and theatrical training," explains center artistic coordinator Matt Farmer. "Think of a small little off-Broadway theater. We're going to try to use the space as much as possible, and we wanted to use that intimate setting -- remove all of the seats and put in sofas, lounge chairs, and small circular tables -- for people to enjoy live music and eat dessert and coffee."
Indeed, espresso drinks and a deluge of decadent desserts will be for sale as the audience and performers -- which here are interchangeable -- settle in for the variety show. At the first installment, Delray guitarist and vocalist Mike Henderson and singer Carol Star will take to the stage, as will Farmer, who plays piano. Open-mic acts might present anything from a skit to a poem.
"We'll have little sessions, alternating [scheduled] performances and open-mic slots," offers Farmer. "We've always wanted to do something where we could bring local artists and performers together to perform for one another."