Project Awake cast in rehearsal at Dance East

Long-time Dream Comes to Life


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One of our very first program ideas was for a school show, which was birthed this year as Project Awake. The dream for this abrasiveMedia project began in 2005 but shortly after articulating the program and putting it on paper, we knew deep in our guts that we weren't ready to do it—though we didn't really know why that was.

But as we began pre-production this year with a founding cast of some of the most delightful humans we've ever met, we knew why: we were waiting for them.

And, we were waiting for ourselves to grow and mature so that we could lead the kind of organization where vulnerable storytelling was not only welcomed but encouraged and protected. We had a lot to learn about recognizing the pain in our own stories, how to address our privilege and our marginalization, how to truly listen and make platforms for people whose voices are often silenced, and how much work is really involved in building an inclusive organization.
"The long delay for making Project Awake a reality has taught me to appreciate the idea of a backstory. I tend to think forward about what's next. How can we use art to help people become more, to discover their potential and become that? But we're not just our potential, we're also the sum of our previous experiences. This was a component I was missing when this project was first conceived (in 2005). I needed to learn the value in what has been, not just what can be, to make Project Awake into what it could truly be. Ironically, this idea became the very backbone of the show's story."
Justin Harvey, Director, Project Awake
Here's the other thing we learned: we will never stop learning. We haven't arrived at some pinnacle of “wokeness.” We have learned a lot about how much we don't know. We've begun to embrace a pace guided by the understanding that through a healthy creative process, all things will change and evolve (including us). And that through savoring the joy of the present moment, we may embrace each challenge as an opportunity to begin learning all over again.

Join Us

abrasiveMedia exists to help artists grow, connect, produce, and give back to their communities. We like to say that we're not an arts organization, but an artists' organization. We believe that people are the greatest works of art. By supporting people who make art, we support the arts!

Visit for more information.

We're on a mission to impact the lives of students in Tennessee.

Your help will make it happen.

1. Financial donations will allow us to finish production (lights, costumes, sets, score, etc.) and cover ongoing production expenses.

2. In-kind donations (production equipment, services, etc.) will reduce our initial production expenses.

3. Network connections with organizations that provide help to teens or opportunities for teens to help others will help us use our inspiring programming to galvanize change in the lives of students.