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African Festival of the Arts a Huge Success for the African Diaspora African Festival of the Arts a Huge Success for the African Diaspora(0)

By Unieros

African Festival of the Arts 2014 in Chicago will celebrate its 25th anniversary of celebration African culture.  The 25th African Festival of the Arts 2014 will be held Labor Day Weekend Friday, August 29- Monday, September 1, in Washington Park, Chicago.

African Festival of the Arts feature two stages of music, a main stage and a world music stage. Music by Musiq Soulchild,  Dee Alexander, Harriet Tubman Band with Cassandra Wilson presenting Black Sun. Salif Keita, and the Temptations Review featuring Dennis Edwards.

BVNews Coverage of 2013 African Festival of the Arts

The food, the music, and the art of black people from the African diaspora was on display at the 2013 Annual African Festival of the Arts in Chicago. Held in Washington Park on Chicago’s historic South Side, the four-day festival showcased the variety and diversity of African cultures around the world.  “Origins” was the theme of this year’s festival which featured over 300 artists and food vendors.

 

The walking paths of Washington Park were transformed to look like a African village. Booths along the paths displayed antique sculptures, paintings, handmade crafts among plenty jewelry and clothing vendors.

Watch video from the 2013 African Festival of the Arts Chicago.

Hundreds of Chicagoans attended the festival and night time concerts held during Labor Day Weekend.

Grammy Award singer Brandy Norwood headline the 2013 African Festival of the Arts.

At the end of each day, the main stage at the festival featured celebrity musicians. Music headliners included African American blues Blues legend Otis Clay,  R & B Diva Monifah, and Zimbabwean musician Oliver Mtuzudki.

 

The Afro centric items ranged included T-shirts from Historically Black Colleges (HBCU) to antique masks from Timbuktu and original paintings from Senegal. Attendees could eat food from African diaspora countries including fu fu from Ghana, Jamaican jerk chicken, rice and bean dishes, African American soul food greens.

The festival also featured a Drum Village where dancers and drummers of all ages played constant rhythms on congas and djimbes. Picnic tables dispersed throughout the lawn areas served as gathering places where festival goers mingled and enjoyed entertainment on small stages like the World Stage. A special area of the festival was Blacks in Green, where attendees enjoyed roundtable dicussions about healthy eating and living green.

 

One couple told Breaking Voices that they have been attending the African Festival of the Arts for more than 15 years because they find the festival to be a great event to network and meet people in the community.

The African Festival of the Arts celebrates black culture in a way that shows how black people regardless of where they dwell strive through their art, music, dance, and food to remember their ancestors, document their history, and paint their hopes for the future.

About Africa Festival of the Arts

The African Festival of the Arts is the flagship program of Africa International House USA, Inc. (AIH), a not for profit organization working to bridge the divides between the peoples of the African Diaspora in Chicago. This year’s festival included a special collaboration with Afro Entertainment Awards that honor musicians, arts, and entertainers from the African diaspora. Featured artist and art work for the festival was by “Asali” by Najjar.


The African Festival of the Arts is held over four days during Labor Day weekend and has become for many, the traditional way to end the summer. This not-for-profit organization was founded 20 years ago to bridge the divide between the peoples of the African Diaspora in Chicago with its unique brand of cultural programming.

In 1989, Patrick Woodtor, President, Africa International House, along with his late wife author and historian, Dee Parmer Woodtor, produced the African Festival of the Arts for the first time as a seasonal community event to honor African culture and tradition in the historic “black belt” on the South Side of Chicago.

Gallery Guichard and New Bronzeville Artists Lofts Grand Opening Aims to Revitalize Bronzeville, Chicago Art and Culture Scene Gallery Guichard and New Bronzeville Artists Lofts Grand Opening Aims to Revitalize Bronzeville, Chicago Art and Culture Scene(1)

By: See Brown

On Tuesday, June 24, City of Chicago officials including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Alderman Pat Dowell cut the ribbon on the brand new Bronzeville Artist Lofts and new home of Fine Art Gallery Guichard located at 436 E. 47th St., in Bronzeville neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side.

The opening of the Bronzeville artists lofts and The Gallery Guichard aims to revitalize 47th street’s culture and art scene.

The new Bronzeville Artist Lofts, 33,614 square foot mixed-use building with 12,233 square feet of commercial space on the first floor with 16-unit residential apartments on the upper floors and a 3,000-square-foot artist incubator.

The Bronzeville Artist Lofts will be a new stop on the Bronzeville Art District Trolley Tour that begins in July.

The Mayor called Bronzeville “a city within a city” with the artists lofts at the center of the revitalization of the community.



The Bronzeville Artist Lofts (BAL) are a live/work rental space open to working artists and their families. Artists must submit an application that include income requirements and questionnaire about their needs. Apartment rental prices and unit sizes for BAL are:

  • Studio $592 – $699 (600sq. feet -625sq feet)
  • 1-Bedroom $621 – $804 (780 sq. feet – 975sq feet)
  • 2-Bedroom $748 – $1,175(979sq. feet -1128 sq feet)

#BVNews walked through the Bronzeville Artists Lofts prior to residents moving in. Watch the video walkthrough of the living spaces.



Gallery Guichard will hold its own ribbon cutting ceremony to open its first exhibit in the new space called “Genesis.” The exhibit features paintings, sculptures, and mixed media art works from black artists from around the world.

Gallery Guichard “Genesis” opens June 27, 2014 from 6pm to 10pm. The event is open to the public. “Genesis” exhibit runs thru August 5, 2014.

#BVNews spoke to owners Andre and Frances Guichard about their new location. Watch the interview below.

 

Artists living in the Bronzeville Artists Lofts are featured in Gallery Guichard’s “Genesis” exhibit. Roger Carter, an artist and BAL resident paintings are featured throughout the exhibit.


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The development of the Bronzeville Artist Lofts was well supported by Alderman Pat Dowell. During a townhall meeting Alsderman Dowell discussed the inspiration behind the Bronzeville Artist Lofts. Watch #BVNews video of Alderman Dowell townhall.

Renovated from an historic building, the former Jones Brothers Ben Franklin Store at 436-442 East 47th Street, the development of the Bronzeville Artists Lofts construction began in 2013. It final cost $7 million was made possible by Tax Increment Financing (TIF) funds from The 47th/King Drive TIF District, Gallery Guichard, and the federal Neighbhorhood Stabilization Program, which focuses on revitalizing communities on the South and West sides of Chicago. The building’s development is a joint venture between Revere Properties, LLC and Three Corners, LLC. These two teams each are led by Lee Reid, Jr. and Rob Ferrino.

 

 

Chicago Loop Alliance second ACTIVATE series event for summer 2014 features art in its natural habitat Chicago Loop Alliance second ACTIVATE series event for summer 2014 features art in its natural habitat(0)

By: Vince Wallace

The other day I read a magnificent article by writer, reporter and well-reputed “St. Louis commenter” Sarah Kendzior on the dangers of using art as a tool to cover over so-called urban blight. Her recent work has included a lot of incisive commentary on the cultural fallout of economic inequality. About a North Philadelphia art installation which proports to tackle the dilapidated area’s aesthetic by essentially covering it over she writes:

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“People” are those who can afford to view poverty through the lens of aesthetics as they pass it by. Urban decay becomes a set piece to be remodeled or romanticized.

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She offers a lot to think about in terms of how modernizes often fail to build inclusiveness into the mix as they conceptualize urban spaces and design a city’s future. In this case, art is being used – probably unwittingly, but used nonetheless – to assist the nefarious project of gentrification. It’s being used to cover over the process of pushing out people who have resided there for generations to make room for a new, but strangely familiar brand of hipster appropriators and colonizers.

In other words, it’s a pretty bad rap for art.

Taking up Sarah’s challenge to abandon this kind of superficiality and think about how art can, and should be used to bring people together instead of rip neighborhoods apart, I can’t help but think about the work of the Chicago Loop Alliance and their ACTIVATE series of downtown events. Tonight they will transform a downtown alley into a space for artists from around Chicago. Some of the artists are established, some lesser-known. Some are artists of color and those representing various minority communities around town. Not enough, but some. And that representation is growing as the event series becomes more popular.

 

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The last ACTIVATE party (that’s really all it is, just a party y’all) took an alley section on Monroe between State and Wabash that Chicagoan have passed by perhaps thousands of times in our daily ramblings and made it into a space inviting all Chicagoans to enjoy some interesting (and sometimes a bit oddball) diverse multimedia sculptures, a few drinks, a DJ who could go from playing one track of ambient beats facilitating conversations between people who rarely get the chance to stop and talk to one another to spreading the gospel of Phantogram the next. It was a good show. It was art, and music, and business-people chatting with baristas, Occupy protesters having a cold one with non-profit pros. It wasn’t quite the North side hugging it out with the South side or the Gold Coast discovering the city west of Ashland. Not yet. But it’s getting there.

And now I still pass by that alley a couple times a week as I have for years. But instead of looking past it, it’s that place where they had that party that time and I met some very interesting people. Because why should cultural memory necessarily be connected places built for the purpose like Millennium Park or Wrigley? They can happen anywhere really.

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Tonight they’ll be doing it again on State St between Lake and Randolph, 5 pm til 10. 21 and over can RSVP for a complimentary drink ticket, or bottled water for those of us inclined to temperance in our off hours. Why not stop by? Everyone’s invited, yes even hipsters. That’s the point.

Two Chicago Loop Alliance street team volunteers who will be working ACTIVATE.

Actor Delroy Lindo Speaks About Black Males During “Question Bridge” Exhibit at The DuSable Museum of African American History Actor Delroy Lindo Speaks About Black Males During “Question Bridge” Exhibit at The DuSable Museum of African American History(0)

 

April 12, 2014 – Chicago, IL

On Saturday, April 12 English actor Delroy Lindo spoke to an audience at The DuSable Museum of African American History about the state of black males as part of “Question Bridge” exhibition. The exhibition focuses on black males and includes a series of video interviews by African American males. In the video series black men from around the country pose questions about their life and experiences as a black males. The questions posed are answered by other black males across the country.

ABOUT “QUESTION BRIDGE” EXHIBIT

“Question Bridge: Black Males opens a window onto the complex and often unspoken dialogue among African American men, creating an intimate and essentially genuine experience for viewers and subjects and providing new opportunities for understanding and healing. This project brings the full spectrum of what it means to be “black” and “male” in America to the forefront. “Blackness” ceases to be a simple, monochromatic concept.” (DuSable Museum of African American History)

As Executive Producer for “Question Bridge” exhibition Lindo said it is an important exhibit he believes everyone should see. Question Bridge: Black Males runs through May 18, 2014 at The DuSable Museum of African American History located at 740 E. 56th Place, Chicago, IL 60637.

Lindo who has 13-year-old son shared with #BVNews his relationship to his son and the teen generation of black boys. He spoke about the responsibility he and other black men have to help guide younger black males to achieve self expression.

“The most important thing we can embrace for ourselves is our humanity. And on so many levels we are the same as any other human beings on the planet and often times that gets lost,” Lindo said.

Watch Part 1 of #BVNews interview with actor Delroy Lindo.

#BVNews asked Lindo why question and answers are important ways to discover truth. Lindo responded by sharing how important it is for black men to have places to express themselves.

Watch Part 2 of #BVNews interview with actor Delroy Lindo

The museum provided a space during the evening where an audience that included black men young and old, who got the opportunity to hear Lindo speak and ask questions about his life and acting career.

Like a father giving advice to his children, Lindo spoke directly with words of encouragement to groups of young black boys seated front row at the discussion. Lindo acknowledged how important it was to have their presence in the audience.

“You are the future of this country,” he said. “The fact that you can take it upon yourself to come and to participate in an evening like this says a lot about who you are. So thank you very much for being here.”

Lindo’s film career began in 1970s after he graduated from the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. His film credits include Malcolm X (1992), Crooklyn (1994), Get Shorty (1995), The Cider House Rules (1999), The Core (2003), Up (2009), and The Big Bang (2011). His television acting credits include The Chicago Code (2011) and Believe (2014).

Lindo expressed the joys and hardships being a successful actor in Hollywood.

Watch the #BVNews video with Delroy Lindo talking about being a black actor in Hollywood.

 

About Delroy Lindo

On the stage and on the big screen, Delroy Lindo projects a powerful presence that is almost impossible to ignore! Lindo has been nominated for the Tony and Screen Actors Guild awards and has won a Satellite Award. He is perhaps best known for his roles as Harold Loomis in August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, West Indian Archie in Spike Lee’s Malcolm X, Catlett in Get Shorty, Arthur Rose in The Cider House Rules, Detective Castlebeck in Gone in 60 Seconds and Woody Carmichael in the Spike Lee film Crooklyn. He is also known for having starred as Alderman Ronin Gibbons in weekly series the Chicago Code. Currently, Lindo stars in the new NBC drama Believe.

Lindo was born in 1952 in South East London, England to Jamaican parents. He shared the historical facts that brought his family to England. Below is highlight of Lindo discussion his Jamaican roots.

 

130 Chicago Kids Paint Mural in Northside Neighborhood Inspired By San Diego Artist/Illustrator Rafael Lopez at Addison & Blue Line. 130 Chicago Kids Paint Mural in Northside Neighborhood Inspired By San Diego Artist/Illustrator Rafael Lopez at Addison & Blue Line.(0)

By : Anna Zolkowski Sobor , Addison/Avondale Mural Executive Committee & Vice President, Old Irving Park Assn.

 

Chicago, Illinois—it all started when one young mother got tired of trudging through a dreary, pigeon-spotted viaduct on the way to her local park.  Joanie Friedman’s hope to paint a mural at Addison St. and the Kennedy Expressway resulted in a transformation, but not only of a blank wall.  It snowballed into a cross-country, cross-cultural and cross-community effort.

130 children age 5 and older are scheduled to finish painting the 100+ foot long Addison/Avondale mural this Thursday, June 21 beginning at 9 AM.  A ceremony thanking mural designer Rafael Lopez is planned for 3 PM at the mural site.  Friday, June 22 marks a community celebration, with a group photo at 5:45 PM, and then a parade to nearby Athletic Field Park led by funky marching band Environmental Encroachment.

The mural was gridded, traced and painted in one week after a year long local planning and fundraising process. San Diego, California based artist and illustrator Rafael Lopez was welcomed at a reception at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen on June 13, 2012. He’d offered his design and one week of time to paint a mural with both experienced volunteer artists and over one hundred children on Chicago’s Northwest side.  Irving Park resident Cesareo Moreno, chief curator of the Museum, volunteered to be the Addison mural’s project manager.

Located at the intersection of the Avondale and Irving Park community areas, the railroad underpass is at the crossroads of the CTA’s Blue Line subway, the Kennedy Expressway and Addison Street.  It serves as an entry point to Chicago for hundreds of thousands of Cubs fans, as well as being a major bus and pedestrian commuter hub.

Over 500 neighbors responded to emails, a stencil on the blank wall announcing a mural and a Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mural-at-Addison-Avondale/136491123111933).  They came together to organize and secure donations of time, materials, food and funds.  As a result, people who’d lived and worked in the area for years forged new friendships and alliances.  Both pedestrians and motorists have stopped to cheer on the work in progress.  The effort spilled over onto the adjoining vacant piece of land on Avondale Ave., which is being transformed into a community perennial garden.

The impact of a little paint on the wall resulted in another ripple effect.  Ineffective pigeon netting & years of pigeon waste were removed from above the viaduct’s southern sidewalk and new pigeon spikes installed thanks to Ald. Rey Colon’s (35) intercession.  Pedestrians now have a healthier and cleaner environment when walking to the bus, park or Blue Line.


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