City Walk Baham

Who will be performing at The World Games Plaza in Birmingham?

Who will play The World Games Plaza?

On a Saturday in late May, 16 artists auditioned for the second round of The World Games Talent Search. Earlier this year, the World Games launched an open call for musicians, singers, dancers and artists to perform for visitors from around the world during the International Sports Competition in July in Birmingham.

Selected artists will display their talents at The World Games Plaza in Citywalk BHAM, the massive park located under the I-59/20 bridge in downtown Birmingham between 15th Street North and 25th Street North.

Citywalk BHAM is a result of I-59/20 expansion. Currently under construction, the 10-acre, 31-acre development includes green space behind the Birmingham Museum of Art and the Boutwell Auditorium. Once complete, the project will have a mix of special features including green spaces, game fields, public arts and a performance area.

The Citywalk BHAM Suite is currently under construction. Once complete, the pavilion will feature a number of features including green spaces and an exhibition area. (Shauna Stewart |

[Read more about the upcoming Citywalk BHAM]

Check the progress of the I-59/20 Under Bridge Project

Skate park, backdrop and more planned for the park under I-59/20

A portion of four blocks of Citywalk BHAM will be dedicated to the World Games, which run from July 7-17.

The area, sponsored by the Bank of Regions, will be called World Games Plaza.

“In this particular arena, there will be a stage and we will be programming every day from 3pm to 9pm,” said Cathy Boswell, Executive Vice President of Community Engagement and Volunteers for the World Games 2022. Take a moment at that point every day to highlight local talent from across Birmingham, Alabama and across different states.”

The plaza, Boswell says, will feature activities sponsored by a number of organizations including Regions Bank, Shippit, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Mercedes-Benz. The plaza will also host a market with a number of vendors.

“The theater will be there as well, and there will be entertainment from 3:00 to 9:00 over the 10 days of the games, and these artists will have the opportunity to appear there. It’s very exciting,” said Boswell.

Complementing the roster of musicians performing at Protect Stadium during the Games’ opening and closing ceremonies, acts on the World Games Plaza will be an all-star lineup that includes Alabama, Yolanda Adams, Nelly, the Blind Boys of Alabama, and Young Blue. Leading the task will be veteran Parliament-Funkadelic and space age guitarist Bootsy Collins, who will grace the stage as master of ceremonies.

CitywalkBHAM جناح Suite

The Citywalk BHAM Pavilion, which is still under construction, is expected to be completed for the World Games (Shauna Stuart |

Meet Twyla Grider, the Alabama native who designed the costumes for the 2022 World Games

The artists appeared at Botwell Gallery in downtown Birmingham on a sunny Saturday morning. Some of them stood outside the auditorium, chatting and rehearsing their choices.

Inside, the auditorium was quiet except for the sounds of laughter and light banter as the World Games team checked the musicians and took them to the small audition waiting area behind a shroud of black curtains.

Vulcan and Vesta, the mascots of the World Games, roam in cheerful silence, waving, embracing people and shaking hands.

The waiting area was mostly quiet. Some artists have set up their instruments, set up the equipment, and think about how many songs they will perform. Others took sips from free water bottles.

Inside the audition room, Boswell sat with three additional judges: Tuskegee’s Lady K, who was in the top 10 judges on season 20 of American Idol. Gospel artist and award-winning minister Reverend Mike McClure, Jr., who will also participate in the World Games celebrations; and Sharifa Webb, mentor program coordinator at the University of Alabama in the Birmingham Office of Multicultural and Diversity Student Programs. Webb, who heads a number of fine art and design projects, will lead efforts around the show’s track and preparation for the World Games.

Jury to search for talent in the World Games

(From left) Cathy Boswell, Sheriff Webb, Reverend Mike McClure Jr., and Lady K (Shana Stewart |

Between performances, Boswell explained the talent hunt at the World Games to members of the media who were invited to attend part of the auditions.

after, after The World Games received more than 130 entries for the competition, narrowing the selection to 16 bands and artists from Alabama and neighboring states. Saturday’s goal was to pick the last round of artists in the arena.

The judges rated each audition that day with a rubric and issued scores based on the artists’ preparation and presentation, quality, stage presence, and creativity.

Talent Tests in the World Games

16 artists auditioned at the Boutwell Auditorium for a shot at securing space at The World Games Plaza (Shauna Stuart |

After each performance—which featured an anthology from bluegrass to rock, soul and classical music—Boswell, McClure, Wip and Lady K provided notes of praise and criticism.

Auditioned for a full ensemble, Logan the Entertainer performed racy songs including “Uptown Funk” and “Crazy in Love” – ​​a thrilling ensemble that put the judges on their feet.

“You turned the room into a full-fledged concert!” “You all brought energy,” said Mrs. K.

“I’ve been paying attention to how you two got in together,” Boswell told the group. “(All of you) walked in and greeted us with a smile. If you come together, you will talk a lot about how we work together.”

Logan the Entertainer

Logan The Entertainer performed a full ensemble audition for The World Games (Shauna Stewart |

Logan smiled as he and his band packed their gear. “I want the world to see me and I want the world to see me!” He said as he left the room.

The audition for classical pianist Ahmun Miles included a presentation on the topic from

Schindler’s List, the 1994 film with seven Academy Awards wins, including an Academy Award for Best Original Score.

After her appointment, Miles told the judges that she was initially nervous to play Logan. But the judges asked her to “stand up” for her talent.

Their faces were visibly touched and fascinated by her performance, when Miles said she was the founder of the Piaministry School of Music in Bessemer, which offers private lessons in piano, guitar, voice and music production.

Ahmon Miles

Pianist Ahmun Miles performs during an audition (Shana Stewart |

Despite criticism from the jury that Miles should “look up her audience” the next time she goes to an audition, the four judges excitedly asked how they can support her music projects after the World Games are over.

“When the games are over, we will still be over herein society,” Boswell told Miles.

Boswell is passionate about the outreach aspect of the World Games. She says the games are meant to showcase talent, diversity and inclusion.

“So when you start thinking about community, community is about identifying those groups of people who really have common ground on something,” Boswell said. “And art and talent are among the richest things outside of food that people have in common here.”

Kathy Boswell

Kathy Boswell, Executive Vice President of Community Engagement and Volunteers for the 2022 World Games. (Shana Stewart |

Some of the community engagement efforts at the World Games include projects for high school students. Late last year, the Games launched an open call for high school students in Alabama to submit designs for their 2022 Art Design Contest. The designs will be sold as limited-edition posters and T-shirts, and all proceeds will be donated to Birmingham Promis. Games also partnered with Create Birmingham to recruit high school student entrepreneurs for its marketplace at The Plaza. The two organizations launched a five-week virtual series to help young people develop marketing strategies and start their own small businesses.


The upcoming Games this summer will be the first time the competition has been held on US soil since 1981 when it was Santa Clara, Cali. It hosted the inaugural World Games competition in 1981.

“Having the privilege and gift of coming to Birmingham, Alabama in over 40 years is really something special,” said Boswell. “Because when you think about our place in history, Birmingham, Alabama is really in and around the civil rights books. And (we’ll have) 108 countries athletes will be represented here, coming to Birmingham for the World Games.”

“This will give us a chance in 2022 for people to come in and see a better Birmingham,” Boswell said. “And I say this everywhere I go. No In prime condition Birmingham, but a better Birmingham. And one of the best things Birmingham has to offer is its people. “

The artists will find out if they have been selected to perform at The Plaza by early June. The World Games expects to reveal the full range of activities at The Plaza, including vendors and artists, in the coming weeks.


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