Empowerment and Identity: Angelique Rački

We are so excited to have one of this year’s MCLP teams working with Breaking Chains Advancing Increase (BCAI), a school of arts in Bloomington-Normal that currently offers performing arts, visual arts, and martial arts to the community. Volunteer and internship opportunities are also available as young as high school. Their goals are to not only offer a space where artists can express themselves and unlock their own identity but also provide an atmosphere that exemplifies “awareness of self, community, and culture.” 

Angelique Rački, the founder and Executive Director of BCAI, describes their classes as opportunities for mentoring between instructors and students in which they mutually learn from each other. Their classes also put a focus on cultural competency by incorporating diverse materials and offering courses on international arts. Their focus is to use the arts that they offer to instill a value and awareness of self in the youth that come to them, to empower them in their identity and their community. 

When discussing why BCAI is an important part of this community, Angelique talks about the unrepresented and unreached groups in our community who may not consider pursuing art as a priority. In her words, “they choose between passion and survival.” Angelique believes that it is a right for people to be able “to be themselves and to passionately pursue everything that awakens and feeds their happiness.” Therefore, BCAI is open to everyone regardless of income or background. 

She also designed BCAI to be a space of empowerment and a platform for those who may not have had one before. The school is a “safe, protected space to breathe and exist as they are.” The school’s values also include, for example: accountability, a non-judgemental attitude, and social justice. 

Angelique contacted MCLP to put together a team to assist with a business/marketing/fund development plan, and she has been so happy with the results. The team has a constant attention to detail, and their attitude of “integrity, creativity, and power” coincides well with BCAI’s values. “They have gone above and beyond and are still going!”

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