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Express Yourself at Café Lift's Open Mic and Open Canvas Events

By Marina I. Jokic

Cafe Lift in San Jose, California began as an outreach ministry at Gateway City Church in 2007 with the overarching mission of providing a safe haven and forum for creative artists and musicians in the Bay Area. The café has become a hub for all kinds of artists in the area, giving them a free podium to showcase their talents and jumpstart their careers.

Media promotions manager Sylvia Chow says that Café Lift's main goal is to "build a supportive community around the local music and art scene." Moreover, she has been astounded by the positive response from the San Jose community, and encouraged to continue her efforts to showcase some of the most impressive up-and-coming artists in the area.

Since the café's beginnings are grounded in Christian ministry, Café Lift endeavors to not only being a forum for aspiring artists and performers, but also to instilling a sense of hope and support in their patrons. "Although we do not preach sermons or sing hymns at Café Lift, we hope that the love and support we show to our guests would reflect the love that God has for all people," Chow points out. Furthermore, as a Christian ministry, Café Lift encourages the "God-given creative talents of each individual," which helps people in believing in themselves and trusting others.

Essentially, Café Lift's primary offerings and claim to fame are its Open Mic and Open Canvas for its guests which take place on the second Wednesday of every month from 8pm to 10pm. As part of the Open Mic, you'll see musicians spanning all genres, spoken word artists, poets, stand-up comedians, and occasionally even magicians.

In fact, Chow emphasizes, all kinds of artists are encouraged to participate. "Our Open Canvas provides free canvases, paints, and supplies for artists to come and paint on," Chow remarks. As a result of the empowering and supportive atmosphere afforded to participants, some exceptional artworks have been created during the Café Lift Open Canvas.

Chow also wants people to know about their menu of delicious, freshly prepared coffees and teas. Although they do not currently serve any food, Café Lift does offer a small selection of light snacks such as chips and various candy bars. The Caramel Apple Cider is Chow's favorite café drink at the moment.

Recently, Chow points out, Café Lift has introduced an online sign-up option for performance slots so that performers can now sign up a week in advance of each monthly Open Mic. The link can be found on the café's various social media outlets and in their digital newsletter. Doors open at 7:45pm on Open Mic night, and participants are encouraged to arrive early.

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