FORT GREENE — Beginning in the early 1970's, Fort Greene became home to a burgeoning black arts community. Filmmaker Spike Lee, comedian Chris Rock, and rock star Vernon Reid are just a few young artists to come of age during a time in the small Brooklyn neighborhood that is often referred to as 'the Fort Greene renaissance' by local arts groups.
The first annual 'Black Artstory Month' celebrates that legacy and honors the talents and creativity of contemporary African American artists in Fort Greene with a series of "art exhibitions, film screenings, lectures, performances and hands-on art making activities," during the month of February.
“This is an opportunity to invite a diverse selection of Brooklyn-based visual and performing artists and organizations onto Myrtle Avenue,” said organizer Daonne Huff. “In light of February being Black History Month, the schedule highlights the ongoing creative and cultural contributions made by African Americans yesterday, today and tomorrow.”
Hosted by Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership, notable 'Black Artstory Month' events along Myrtle Avenue include:
James Baldwin Readings and Trumpeter Roy Campbell Jr. at Five Spot Soul Food, Feb. 5, 7p.m.
Local actors will read the classic words of James Baldwin in Myrtle Avenue’s oldest soul food restaurant Five Spot. There will also be a sneak peek of JACK Theater’s new season and music by trumpeter Roy Campbell, Jr.
“Middle of Nowhere” Screening at Ingersoll Community Center, Feb. 27, 6p.m.
Best Director winner at the Sundance Film Festival, this feature length film follows a young woman whose husband is incarcerated in a maximum-security prison. She drops out of medical school to care for the well being of her love as he endures an eight-year prison sentence. The film is presented by The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA).
Short Film Screenings at Ingersoll Community Center, Feb. 6, 6:30p.m.
Shorts include ‘Why Do You Have Black Dolls?’ which explores the history of black dolls through the eyes of a little-known group of black doll enthusiasts, ‘Divine Rite’ a short about losing virginity and ‘The Ultimate Wingman’ that tells the story of letting the love of your life slip away. Filmmakers will attend to answer questions after the screenings.
Freedom Fighter at SOCO
This exhibit will be on display throughout the month of February at SOCO restaurant. The artwork celebrates “the major personalities, heroes, and icons that assisted in shaping black history in America through their philosophies, socio-political activism, art and personal sacrifices for freedom.”
‘The Wizard of Oz vs. The Wiz’ at Trilok Fusion Center for Arts and Education, Feb. 26, 7p.m.
Presented by the Brooklyn Young Filmmakers, this guided discussion will compare these two classic films and their differing approaches to telling the same story. The films will not be screened but a history of the two will be explored while focusing on The Wiz ‘s urban black point of view.
For a full list of events and exhibitions visit Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership’s website.