Editor's Note: Levi Todd used to write for the Daily News.

What started out as an idea for one Ball State senior has now transformed into a community-wide organization that encourages creativity and expression.

The group, Reacting Out Loud, has grown so much that they've switched their performance space for the third time to a larger venue. 

What: Reacting Out Loud poetry slam

Where: Cornerstone Center for the Arts' E.B. Ball Auditorium

When: Jan. 17 6 p.m.

They will now host poetry readings and slams at Cornerstone Center for the Arts in downtown Muncie. Their first event at the venue will be on Jan. 17. 

Levi Todd, a senior English major at Ball State, is the founder of Reacting Out Loud. The organization hosts monthly events that allow students and community members to share their own original works of poetry.

When Todd first arrived at Ball State as a student, he noticed there was already a strong art scene in Muncie — however, as many art programs as there were around the community, he noticed there were no groups that focused on poetry. 

Taking inspiration from an open-mic night that he attended in his hometown of Chicago, Todd decided to create Reacting Out Loud.

“I wanted to start a space where poets could gather routinely and show their work [and] reach out to their community,” Todd said.

Reacting Out Loud started by hosting events in a local coffee shop, The Cup. However, when the group gained popularity and needed a larger space, they moved to Two Cats Cafe. 

The group also outgrew Two Cats Cafe, and that was when Cornerstone Center for the Arts connected with Reacting Out Loud, allowing the group to host its future events at the downtown center.

“We’re really excited because Cornerstone is going to be our first venue that has a real stage,” Todd said. “It has a real spotlight and actual seating for our audience. It’s just the next step as we’ve been growing.”

Reacting Out Loud has a solid group of poetry readers who continue to return to each monthly event the group hosts. 

Christina Thibodeau, junior economics and international and development relations student, has been a frequent attendee since the group’s beginnings.

Thibodeau, who worked with Todd, was invited to Reacting Out Loud’s first event via Facebook. She decided she wanted to go and even shared her own original writing at the event. Since then, Thibodeau has returned regularly to read her own works while also listening to others’ poems.

“I think what makes Reacting Out Loud’s events special is the community that surrounds them,” Thibodeau said. “Everyone is so supportive and willing to listen to what anyone has to say. I love hearing the audience react out loud to what the other poets and I are saying and to the emotions that we've put into our pieces.”

For those interested in Reacting Out Loud and those who want to share their own original work, the group will be hosting its next event at 6 p.m. Jan. 17 in the E.B. Ball Auditorium at Cornerstone. 

The event will be in the style of a poetry slam, meaning poets will perform in front of a panel of live judges and compete against each other for various prizes.