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Conversations with Aquanza Cadogan

Today we’d like to introduce you to Aquanza Cadogan.

Hi Aquanza, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
My story begins with words. That may sound cliché, but in 2013 I wrote and self-published my own fictional book called “Summer Session”. A group of amazing friends would later help me turn that book into a Story Space event, and ever since then, I’ve used the power of words to entertain, enlighten and uplift my community. I’ve been blessed to be a part of some amazing local events – Pecha Kucha Orlando, Nerd Nite, City Arts grand opening and Immerse Orlando. Each experience has given me the opportunity to grow as an artist while spreading creativity and positivity throughout Central Florida.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I don’t believe there is such a thing as a “smooth road,” not in life and certainly not as an artist. Early in my journey as a storyteller, forgetting lines, nervousness and finding ways of connecting to all audiences was a constant work in progress. As an independent artist, finding ways to fund my ideas and building networks to grow in the creative space are still struggles I face with all my projects. Many of my ideas are self-funded and take a lot of financial backing to achieve. Hopefully, through making better connections, I can gain access to grants and donations that will allow me to focus on creating and not “how to fund the creation.”

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Looking back at my journey thus far, I am proud of everything I’ve been able to accomplish in a relatively short time. Having an opportunity to speak at the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center for two sold-out shows at Pecha Kucha Orlando is one of my favorites. My Soapbox Project, which was positive impromptu speaking throughout Downtown Orlando during Art in Odd Places and Immerse, has also given me some attention on this journey. But the project I’m most proud of is my Well Said… program started in 2019. Well Said… is a public speaking and mentorship club I created (in partnership with Route 7 Orlando) at the Levy-Huges Boys and girls club in the Paramore area. Empowering young people of color to be better communicators and leaders within their community is the legacy I hope to leave. I’m best known as an author, storyteller, creative and activist working to create change throughout art and culture.

What’s next?
The relaunch of Well Said… in August 2021. Due to the pandemic, we had to cut the pilot program short but returning to the Boys and Girls center is something I’m truly looking forward to. I’m working on a storytelling folktale series that I plan on performing in schools to inspire young people with stories using the traditional style with a modern twist. For the future, I am most excited about partnering with other local artists to create events that can introduce and create a love for art and culture in the black community.

Pricing:

  • 11.69 – Summer Session – Available on amazon.com
  • 14.99 – Alumni – Summer Session – Available on amazon.com
  • 14.99 – Sketches of a bluNote – Summer Session – Available on amazon.com

Contact Info:

Image Credits
ThissisTyla John VonMutius

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