Meet Benjamin Smith

Benjamin Smith is a music composer, vintage electronics tinkerer, and an overall glass-half-full dreamer aural/visual artist. He loves video game music, analog gear of all sorts, and old BBC television programs, but his passion in life is connecting and connecting with people through art and sound especially those who wouldn’t normally be presented with what he likes to call the “opportunity of community” collaboration. He believes that music is one of the greatest instruments of camaraderie, outside of Love itself. He uses and creates sometimes forgotten analog and acoustic (tangible) musical devices to bring a hands-on approach to “bringing us together”, teaching while creating. He truly believes that the sound of music is everywhere, and he strives to capture and share it. As a person of color, he has experienced firsthand how important it is to be seen and heard, as well as be accepted as a unique individual, so he seeks to teach that everybody, no matter how “different”, is to be treated equally and encouraged to let their light shine bright by putting our stories out there through the vehicle of music!

All compositions feature at least one handmade instrument and have been inspired by the African-American experience. Ben grew up in California but with a Military/Pastor Father, he has lived in 16 different states which gifted him the ability to comfortably interact with anyone from any walk of life. He started channeling music at age 15 and began tinkering with the visual arts as early as 10, building “toys” from disassembled tube televisions and various audio equipment.

Ben moved to Cleveland after the passing of his older brother Chris. Since then he has gone on to create and collaborate on various art pieces including the Splice Cream Truck, The Riff Mechanics School For the Riffted, and The See Our Light Art exhibit which is currently on display at the Glenville Public Library. Every art project that Ben involves himself in always has a central theme of bringing people together by any (positive) means possible — Which ultimately culminated in his 4-day round trip journey to purchase and pick up the Splice Cream Truck from Helena, Montana and drive it back over 2000 miles to Cleveland with no sleep. He is dedicated.

Benjamin Smith

Creative Impact Fund Project: The Splice Cream Spliced Team Dream Concert Series

The Splice Cream Spliced Team Dream Concerts series is a monthly pop-up concert series consisting of three 3-hour family-friendly concerts. These concerts will take place in the Buckeye Community, specifically in front of the Trumpet Man at Art & Soul Park. The aim of the concert series is to showcase the talent of three diverse artists who not only come from the area but also represent the surrounding communities. The performances will encompass a wide range of genres, spanning from hip-hop to classical, and from poetry to rock, R&B, and country.

The project’s main objective is to bring together a team of creative community members and provide a platform for them to showcase their talents to a local audience. The target audience includes individuals who may not have had the opportunity to experience live performances by specific musical artists in traditional venues. Each stage artist will be given forty-five minutes to perform, and they will be presented in a unique way – in a self-contained ice cream truck that doubles as a mobile stage. The ice cream truck will be equipped with lights, speakers, a mixer, and microphones. When it’s time for the concert to begin, the stage will be dropped, the speakers will be plugged in, and the lights will be turned on, setting the stage for an unforgettable concert experience.

The Splice Cream Truck, as it is called, goes beyond being just an ice cream truck. It features a fully analog recording studio, making it a tool to “splice together” communities that have historically been separated by color lines and virtual borders. The project aims to achieve this by recording and sharing the stories of these communities with other groups that may have been previously inaccessible to each other. As an incentive for participating in interviews, individuals will receive an ice cream treat or a SPLICEE (an Icee-like drink, if the Icee machine is installed as planned), as well as an on-the-spot “vinyl” 45rpm.

The project organizers have a strong track record, having previously collaborated with over 50 different organizations and participated in various events, such as FreedomFest, FRONT Block Party, IGNITE! Neighbor Nights, and FreshFest Cleveland. They are confident that their presence in the community will attract a substantial crowd. Additionally, the project aims to work with other musicians and artists who have applied for the grant, with the intention of bringing different creative individuals together, showcasing their talents, and compensating them for their services. Each artist will be paid immediately after their individual sets, recognizing the challenges of pursuing their passion while also securing funding.

The organizers are also open to collaborations with food trucks, mobile artists, and businesses. Each concert in the series will feature three unique flavors of ice cream/Splicees that represent each artist’s style, and these treats will be provided free of charge to concertgoers. Diversity is a key aspect of the project, as it aims to expose the community to various styles and genres of music that are not typically represented in specific areas. During the intervals between sets, mingling and discussions will be encouraged while enjoying an icy treat of one’s choice.

The entire concert series will be audio and video recorded. Additionally, a compilation of the performances will be made available for free download and streaming, and a vinyl record will be produced to commemorate the project. These recordings will be accessible at local libraries, event centers, and community gathering places. Furthermore, each participant will receive a raffle ticket for a chance to win their own copy of the compilation record.

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