Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Don’t miss the once in a lifetime performance of “There Is a Message in Our Movement” at the Studio in Exile Theater Hudson Valley MOCA

“There Is a Message in Our Movement” is a choreographed performance by Sharon Simmons-Wright inspired by social justice photographs by Ocean Morisset and drawings from the “Arc of the Viral Universe” journal installation by artist Carla Rae Johnson.

Immerse yourself in the vibrant intersection of art and advocacy. Witness a compelling synergy of dance and visual arts that speaks to the soul of social justice. A blend of dance, photography, and evocative drawings awaits to take you on a profound narrative journey where each motion articulates a story ripe with change and brimming with hope. Join Sharon Simmons-Wright and Just The Place, for ‘There Is A Message In Our Movement” on Saturday, May 18, at 7:00 pm and on Sunday, May 19, at 3:00 pm, for a once in a lifetime performance  the Studio Theater in Exile at the Hudson Valley MOCA. 

Navigate Left
Navigate Right
Navigate Left
Navigate Right


“There Is a Message In Our Movement” is a social justice suite choreographed by Peekskill resident, artist, founder of Just the Place, and a 2022 City of Peekskill Black History Month honoree, Sharon Simmons-Wright. The production of was inspired by social justice photographs by former Peekskill resident and international and award-winning photographer Ocean Morisset and drawings from the “Arc of the Viral Universe” journal installation at the theater curated by Peekskill resident and artist Carla Rae Johnson. “The arts reflect our political thoughts as well as our human feelings,” said Mara Mills, Artistic Director of Studio Theater in Exile, “And Studio in Exile’s mission is to look at the world through the lens of social impact and artistic collaboration.”  Mills continued, “working with Sharon is a pleasure and privilege. Her broad experience and artistic intensity is awesome.”

Sharon Simmons-Wright, discussing the project, said “Every step we take, every action we make, echoes our message loud and clear. We move with purpose, with conviction, and with a message that resonates far beyond our footsteps. In every gesture, every word, every stance, there’s a message – a call for change, a plea for justice, a beacon of hope. Our movement is our voice, and within its rhythm lies the power to inspire, to unite, to transform. Let every stride carry our message forward, let every beat of our hearts echo its truth.”

More than half of the performers in “There Is a Message in Our Movement” currently live or recently lived in Peekskill. Performers include: Amanda Armenteros, Dever Gray, Rakeisha Smith-Williams, Stephanie Steele, Destiny Mosley, Symone Lassic, and Jenee Jackson.

There is limited seating for both performances. Purchasing tickets in advance is highly recommended before it sells out. Tickets can be bought on Eventbrite by using this link. General Admission are $20 and Students, Seniors, HVMOCA Members are $18 per ticket.

Sharon Simmons-Wright, the dynamic force behind “Just the Place, Inc. Cultural & Creative Arts Center.” With a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications & Dance, A Master’s Degree in Education, and an electrifying 33 years in the education realm, she is not just a dance studio owner – she is a visionary. Sharon’s dance journey began as a dance student at the age of 10, she transitioned into a passionate instructor, and evolved into a dance education powerhouse.

Breaking the mold, she founded “Just the Place, Inc. in 2001,” where every plié and pirouette is infused with creativity and character. Sharon’s approach is not just about dance; it is about unleashing the artistic spirit within. Her studio is not a mere space; it is a vibrant community hub, buzzing with workshops, performances, and outreach programs that break down barriers and make dance accessible to all.

In the pulse of the community, Sharon’s legacy is not just measured in years, but in the rhythm of countless lives she has touched. Her mission goes beyond dance steps; it is about igniting a passion for lifelong learning and self-expression. If you are ready to dance to the beat of your own drum, step into “Just the Place” – where Sharon turns every dance into an exhilarating journey of self-discovery.

Just the Place Cultural and Creative Arts Center started in the Bronx in  2001, but relocated to Peekskill in 2016. In 2020, Just the Place found a permanent home after many years, when Sharon’s husband, Derek Wright was able to purchase a new studio in the Highland Professional Building at 2 Stowe Road suite #3 located across the street from the Beach Shopping Center. Just the Place teaches ballet, modern, jazz, hip hop, tap, pom-pom, praise and afro-beats beginning at the age of 3.

Ocean Morisset self portrait

Ocean Morisset is a self-taught, award-winning photographer with nearly twenty years of experience specializing in Photojournalism and Documentary photography. A self described “humanitarian-with-a-camera”, Ocean also explores Fine Art photography and engages with a wide range of subjects in life, though his passion remains in telling stories with photos, captured candidly. Ocean often uses his iphone to capture fleeting moments, using the stealth of a ninja and a zen-like sensitivity towards his subjects. The iphone allows him to get close, remain stealthy in his approach and capture intimate moments that tell the story of the human condition. Peekskill fell in love with Ocean and got to bear witness to his amazing photographs when he often posted his captured intimate moments in Peekskill and his daily commute often adding them to the Peekskill, NY in Pictures facebook group. The Peekskill Herald also profiled Ocean Morisset in two articles: Giving Peekskill a gift through his lens: Ocean Morisset reflects on his years documenting daily life here and Seeing Peekskill through lens of photographer Ocean Morisset.

In addition, Morisset has received a number of awards for his work including the 2018 Peekskill NAACP Mel Tapley Award for his work as a photographer, and the 2017 Inaugural Larry Salley Photography Award presented by Arts Westchester. During 2020, Morisset was awarded a Peekskill Arts Grant by local entrepreneur Bre Pettis, who sought artists doing work around social injustice and the Black Lives Matter movement. Those photographs became an art installation in the windows of the former Worker’s Compensation Building in the center of Peekskill entitled “Peekskill Rises Up Against Racial Injustice”. The installation of oversized black and white photos come from various Black Lives Matter rallies that took place in Peekskill in 2020.

Installation at the Old Worker’s Compensation Building in Peekskill, Ocean Morisset

Visit the Peekskill Herald Events Calendar Features and the Peekskill Herald Event Calendar to see more local events.

If you would like to have your event publicized and advertised for free, please add your event to the Peekskill Herald Event Calendar. You may even get to become a highlighted featured event of the week. Do you like what you see? Click here to subscribe for free to the Peekskill Herald. Do you really like what you see and want to support local thriving journalism? Click here to donate and become a member of the Peekskill Herald. The Peekskill Herald is a 501c3 charitable organization and all donations are tax-deductible.


About the Contributor
Dave Mueller
As a Peekskill native, Dave is thrilled to be working with the Peekskill Herald showcasing featured calendar events. A 1999 graduate of PHS, he remembers reading and enjoying the original weekly print edition of the Peekskill Herald every Thursday. He especially liked the political stories, local features and sports coverage when it was written by Peekskill Runner columnist Jack Burns who always managed to weave history into the running times. An avid hiker, he enjoys exploring the local trails as well as the concrete ones in his job as a conductor for Metro North Railroad. He’s a former teacher and co-founder of the Friends of the Peekskill Dog Park, where he frequently can be found with his Koda. He’s happy to be part of the Herald’s growth as the source of local news for Peekskill and looks forward to highlighting a few of many of the events and happenings in Peekskill and the surrounding communities. Reach Dave at [email protected]