The Listening in Lynchburg, Virginia


We aim to engage, change and save lives with the performing arts.

Since 2013, The Listening in Lynchburg, Virginia has been actively been engaging Lynchburg’s creative community with regular events like open mic sessions, movie screening, and special performance showcases. From poets to dancers to singers to thespians, the stage was set at various locations around the city with an open invitation.

With the support of the community for the past five years, it has grown into a bolder purpose of youth focus and engagement but the original question remains the same: “If you had a room full of people willing to listen to you, what would you say?”

The Listening in Lynchburg, Virginia helps the local community by creating a network of creative citizens who care about helping our community thrive. Often, this means reaching out to our most vulnerable members, such as youth and marginalized groups.

We start conversations or amplify important questions. We’re here to not only hear people, but also, make sure they are heard by others.

That’s why we partner with other groups and organizations with a similar vision such as Freedom Schools or local open mic events.

Three Levels of Impact

We measure our success based on three levels of impact that we believe show how we’re building and transforming the local community.


44 Events

We’ve had over 40 events, each with its own theme and vibe. We’ve also had the opportunity to work with amazing local organizations with similar mission to change our world using our talents and passions.

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78 Artists

All kinds of artists have found a home on this platform, from poets to dancers to singers and thespians- and we look forward to connecting with a lot more!


Over $6000 raised

Through donations, grants, & sponsorships from our community, we have been able to raise funds to increase our impact, make a stronger statement and serve our mission. Not bad for our first five years!

Our Purpose

By forming The Listening in Lynchburg, Virginia, we have taken on the responsibility of communicating with our local audience. As our organization continues to thrive and expand, we focus on the core mission and vision to reach the world around us.

The Mission

Our mission is to engage, change, and save lives with the performing arts through community engagement and youth mentoring. There is a community where arts advocacy, social justice, and youth mentoring connect; where young people are encouraged to take notice of the world around them and engage passionately and with purpose. The Listening, Inc aspires to be that safe place, where young people are engaged to use the performing arts to ask questions, develop answers, perform with purpose and change the world around them.

With TLI, one sole question is asked: “If you had a room full of people willing to listen to you, what would you say?”

The Vision

The Listening, Inc exists to challenge the perception of the performing arts being strictly for entertainment purposes, and connect it to its healing properties. We seek to confront lethargy, illiteracy, stagnation, and segregation, by building intentional relationships and seeking diversity in our creative expression.

We have a bold vision to see our community changed by socially minded artists who have a burden to use their talent, time, and passion to change the world around them, as well as the world inside of them. We believe that the road towards a better tomorrow is best accomplished passionately, creatively, and intentionally - together.


"You can't use up creativity. The more you use the more you have."

-- Maya Angelou


  • CREATIVITY - With the performing arts as our main mode of impact, we strive for creative methods to use spoken word/poetry, dance, music and/or theater to achieve our goals.

  • AUTHENTICITY - We seek appropriate transparency in our altruism, recognizing that trust is an investment, earned with openness and accountability. In that same spirit, we honor the investments and charitable intentions of our supporters and donors to meet current and future community needs. 

  • INNOVATION - As a young organization, we champion efforts to discover new methods of engaging the world around us.

  • CURIOSITY - We serve as a safe space to explore and achieve understanding of our neighbors.

  • COMMUNITY - We strongly believe in working together, and seek to contribute to a collaborative narrative across sectors, perspectives and ideologies.

Media Coverage

As we shake up the local community, we’ve been blessed to receive coverage from the local media.

  • The Listening provides platform for creative communication, connection from The News and Advance

  • Eight city residents honored with mayor's, vice mayor's awards from The News and Advance

  • THE LISTENING filling a void in Lynchburg that no one knew existed from COLORS VA

  • "Celebrate Diversity" featured on City of Lynchburg TV from James River Council for the Arts and Humanities

  • Arts council project among Black History Month events from The Burg

  • Lynchburg to join national conversation with 'People’s State of the Union' from The News and Advance

  • Lynchburg residents work to start Freedom School in summer 2019 from The News and Advance

  • Local nonprofit to host screening of "Freedom Summer: Mississippi 1964" from The News and Advance

  • Poet Jasmine Mans to perform during The Listening's new Signature Sessions event from The News and Advance

  • Spencer's Vanguard, a project of The Listening, to host 'A Journey in Identity' from The News and Advance

  • Randolph College, The Listening partner to bring Freedom School program to Lynchburg from WSLS

  • Lynchburg's first Freedom School begins classes from WDBJ

  • Freedom School makes impact on Lynchburg students from The News and Advance


We have been honored to receive several awards, either as a group or through individuals in our community. While we are trying to make an indelible impact on our local community, we are not alone in this work. We would not be where we are without the support and network of the following organizations and communities.