Imagine this: You're in third grade in a foreign country. You've done nothing wrong, but your teacher tells you to stand in front of the class. She asks you to read the cafeteria menu — in English. The twist? You're Haitian. You only speak Creole.
Yep. This happened to a rising Lake Worth star that you should know.
Back then, Maeva Renaud, 34, didn't know that her counselor at Miami Park Elementary back in 1991 had a plan. She wanted Renaud to face her peers, to perform on stage and to speak English.
“Ms. Basquiat taught me confidence. Since I didn’t know what I was reading, I started performing the lunch menu in a very dramatic way. It was pretty funny,” said Renaud.
Fast forward 26 years and it's 2017. The once shy 8-year-old girl is now a natural performer. She's also the new Executive Director for Common Ground Community Development, the organization that manages the Bamboo Room in Lake Worth. Renaud's goal: To inspire and help others face their peers and be “heard” through art, music and performances.
Renaud has impressive credentials. With a Bachelor’s in Media Production and double Master’s (Science and Special Eduation) along with her 15-plus years of experience in public relations, broadcasting, show touring and teaching, Renaud is confident she can manage the Bamboo Room.
“I want to bring back live music,” she said while giving The Palm Beach Post a tour of the venue. “I’d like to see something joyful on J Street, where people are walking by, being excited to see a show, and lining up outside while the artists are running around preparing for a show.”
Her vision sounds like a scene out of Lala Land. Renaud is very nostalgic. She admires the iconic history of the Bamboo room and wants to bring its shine back to Lake Worth and the county.
But not all lights are green on her road to Bamboo Room's revival. Her big challenge is, of course, funding.
“We’re always highlighted as a poor city, and producing events in the community might be hard if we don’t have the resources. It’ll take some planning and pitching to the city for monetary funding. But we’re hoping the city can collaborate with us, and the community can volunteer too.”
The Common Ground Community Development has plans to bring put the spotlight back on the Bamboo Room. A new calendar of events is being developed. It recently opened a free work space for artists to practice and work. And a new coffee bar — an extension of Coffee Grounds — is in the works.
“With Common Grounds, we want to give people a voice, a stage and a space to practice and feel comfortable. I am confident that together we can build a stage to really empower others,” said Renaud.
The Bamboo Room’s grand opening is Saturday, April 8th at 3 p.m. and though it isn't open to the public, The Palm Beach Post will be going live from there. Make sure you Like us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to get an insight.