Open Mic Night unites local artists


Daniel Simmons always lacked confidence in his talents, but that was before he performed last Tuesday at Open Mic Night.

The Ouachita Parish Public Library partnered with CC’s Coffeehouse in Monroe to host an open mic night. Creators of any art form were urged to share their talents with the attentive audience before them. Poets, actors, musicians and magicians came to CC’s Coffeehouse ready to share their gifts with Monroe.

Simmons performed two songs by himself on an acoustic guitar. Then, he performed a few more with his close friend, Hannah Beth Rowland. Simmons learned about Open Mic Night from Rowland who convinced him to go. He said he enjoyed the experience.

“[Open Mic Night] helps to improve the confidence in performers and helps bring others together. Aside from that, it’s great entertainment and I’m definitely planning on coming to the next one,” Simmons said.

Before singing “dear insecurity” by Gnash, Rowland talked about her struggle with learning to love herself.  Rowland was comfortable enough with the crowd at CC’s Coffeehouse to be vulnerable in front it.

Open Mic Night served as a way for Rowland to let her guard down and temporarily forget her insecurities as she performed with her close friend,  Simmons.

Rowland said events like Open Mic Night “give shy people or people who don’t really have a way to perform their talents an opportunity and a safe place to do so.”

Shanterrica Sampson read a poem from her poetry album series titled “Love Chronicles.” She agreed with Rowland that Open Mic Night was a safe place to perform. She found the audience to be encouraging of her work.

“It was such an intimate and welcoming atmosphere,” Sampson said.

Her favorite part of the event was getting the chance to share her love for poetry with other poets.

Rowland also said events like Open Mic Night give growing artists and local theaters like CA Studio, a chance to promote their work and find new fans.

A few members of CA Studio performed monologues from their upcoming play, “Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead,” and passed out fliers promoting the dates it would be shown. Their monologues gave a preview of what’s to come and intrigued audience members to attend the play.

Jade Wheeler, the reference librarian at the Ouachita Public Library, organized the event. For now, Wheeler said Open Mic Night will be held  quarterly which means the next Open Mic Night isn’t until April 30. If the event continues to draw in a crowd, Wheeler hopes to hold an open mic night each month.

Wheeler sees the potential for a strong artistic community in Monroe. Her goal with Open Mic Night was to unite local artists and begin forming a bond between them.  She said the “rich culture” of northern Louisiana is what makes the potential for an art community great.

Wheeler said, “We haven’t developed that community yet, so I think it’s very important to get the artists together so that they can get to know each other.”

A poet who goes by the name Random Straightface, has known Wheeler for a long time and has attended open mic nights organized by her in the past. He’s even hosted and co-hosted a few mic nights of his own.

He said that it is important for artists to share their work with each other and form a community. He believes it is a vital part of being an artist.

“Nobody understands the mind of a creative like another creative,” Straightface said.

CC’s Coffeehouse stayed open after hours for the Open Mic Night. The workers even continued selling coffee and treats during    the event.