A lyrical centre for arts in Second Life

Lyrical Café’s Cultural Centre – the Lyrical Café, March 2021

An entry in the Destination Guide for the Lyrical Café’s Cultural Centre recently caught my eye, prompting me to slot it into my weekend travels – and it proved to be a more than worthwhile visit, revealing as it did a new centre for arts in SL and the opportunity to chat with the driving force behind it, Mrs. Kamille R. Kamala – LIVE (Kamille Kamala).

Occupying just under one half of a Full region that boasts the private island LI bonus, the setting has been designed by Angela Viera (AngelFruiT) with the assistance of JJ Landar (Jucae). In looks, it might be said to present a West Coast urban vibe with a sub-tropical lean (although the region surround also suggests somewhere more temperate) and which is set under an evening’s sky cut through by the Milky Way (although I opted for more of a daylight EEP for the photos here). Within the provided space can be found a range of facilities that enfold visual arts, literary arts and performance arts and music, all of which are gently mixed within an environment that offers spaces and informal venues that include a beach and spa, that warmly invites exploration.

Lyrical Café’s Cultural Centre – the gallery exterior, March 2021

The main landing point is located alongside the entrance to the Lyrical Café itself, the home of the Lyrical Café Poetry Club founded by Kamille in 2009. This is the location for twice monthly poetry events (2nd and 4th Saturday of the month) that are streamed into the Café as a mix of poetry and music – Kamille is an accomplished poet. Its a place with a sense of intimacy in its décor, one that carries with it a sense of Africa that is both subtle and inviting.

To open a culture and art centre has been a dream I’ve had for years. I would spend time just contemplating it over and over, not really thinking I could pull it off. I had an event in my prior venue, but it got to the point where so many people came, it was too small. Once I realised I needed a bigger place, it gave me the courage to go for my dream.

– Kamille Kamala on the inspiration for the Lyrical Café’s Cultural Centre

Located just inside the entrance to the Café are a couple of teleport stations. The first of these is a wall sign – one of several to be found throughout the setting – that provides ease of access to the major facilities. Simply touch it and accept the local experience to display the TP directory from it and all the other identical signs to be found around the ground-level locations. The second teleport is a floor disk that will carry visitors up to a sample sky home – the region offers four such homes for rent, each with a 500 LI allowance and landscaped grounds, with the rental boxes located in a rear room of the Café.

Lyrical Café’s Cultural Centre – the Gallery, March 2021

While it may be tempting to use the venue teleport system, I would urge exploration on foot, as this properly reveals the care with which the Centre has been designed. Two routes of exploration are available from the landing point – through the Café itself and out along the road on the far side, or down the steps immediately behind the landing point.

My recommendation is to take the latter. It goes by way of an open-air performance area to the lower street level. With a broad board walk overlooking the beach, this route provides the most direct access to pedestrianised area that is home to little boutique shops and cafés, water features and four studio spaces available for rent as art galleries or shops, each with a 100LI allowance. Shaded by palm trees and completed by modern art sculptures (which are found throughout the location, further adding to its appeal), this area and the road running parallel to it offer the way to the eastern side of the parcel.

 Lyrical Café’s Cultural Centre, March 2021

This upper area is home to the venue’s main gallery, dance / ballet centre, night club and gardens. The former are all housed in a series of very modern structures that, together with the palm trees surrounding them, give the strongest sense of West Coast design. They make for a handsome set-up, laid out is such a way that they do not look or feel packed in, despite their relative proximity to one another.

My idea has always been to create a hub of some sort. A studio for the art of dance and music, a gallery to celebrate visual arts , a centre for literary art and so on. Angela made it happen; she took my vision and brought it to reality, and we even included a spa for relaxing, which you might say is part of the art of meditation.

– Kamille Kamala on the Lyrical Café’s Cultural Centre

Lyrical Café’s Cultural Centre – the gardens, March 2021

Currently the gallery is home to a diverse collection of African American art drawn from the physical world, with reproductions of pieces by the likes of Whitney Austin, Elizabeth Catlett, Chuck Styles, Charles White, and more offered for visual appreciation. In the future, the gallery will be host to similar exhibitions of art from the physical world, and also the work of artists active within Second Life, who will have the option of also selling their work if they wish.

Alongside of the gallery, and back-to-back to one another are the dance centre and the Mahogany Club. The latter is a venue for DJ events focused on soul music (dates and times available through the Centre’s in-world group), while the former is named for Misty Copeland,the first African American performer to be appointed as a principal dancer for American Ballet Theatre, and is open to anyone wishing to make use of it, with the barres fully animated.

Facing the entrance to the gallery building is an impressive garden that makes superb and colourful use of the space allotted to it to present a further open-air venue with dance area, a little café of its own, together with a bar space and a little cosy corner neatly tucked away awaiting discovery.

Lyrical Café’s Cultural Centre – the Lyrical Café, March 2021

There is a richness to Lyrical Café’s Cultural Centre that goes beyond words. There is a sense of balance through the setting that is genuinely captivating, be it the positioning of buildings and use of space around them, or the depth of greenery that offsets the muted tones of the structures, or the utterly artful use of water throughout in the form of falls, fountains, water walls and natural channels, or the manner in which nature, architecture and 3D all come together as a single entity. As a home for arts, it is truly sublime and richly diverse;  as a statement of art, it is equally exceptional, and I look forward to making many more visits – as I’m sure all patrons of the arts in SL will as well.

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