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African-American Art Gets Spotlight in Fort Greene for Black History Month

By Janet Upadhye | January 20, 2014 12:36pm
 The month-long event is a celebration of African American artists — present and past — in the nabe.
Black Artstory Month in Fort Greene
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FORT GREENE — Richard Wright wrote "Native Son" on a bench in Fort Greene Park. Betty Carter sang jazz from her brownstone on St. Felix Street. Filmmaker Spike Lee still works out of his studio on South Elliott Place.

Fort Greene's history of trendsetting African-American artists will be celebrated by local businesses, organizations, and artists during Myrtle Avenue's second annual month-long event called Black Artstory Month.

This year's events will include a series of exhibits, performances, talks and music by some of the neighborhood's current black artistic pioneers, organizers say.

“Black Artstory Month is an opportunity to invite a diverse selection of artists and organizations, many from the immediate neighborhoods, onto Myrtle Avenue to share with first-time and recurrent audiences the inspiring work they produce every day," curator Daonne Huff who works at local arts organization, Groundswell, said in a statement.

Hosted by Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership, notable 'Black Artstory Month' events along Myrtle Avenue during the month of February include:

The Black Artstory Opening Reception

The Emerson at 561 Myrtle Ave., Feb. 1, 8 p.m.

This kickoff event features live performances by poet Emily Ruth Hazel and musicians James Hall and Sebastien Ammann.

How Much Longer Till We're Home: An Evening of Storytelling

Splitty at 415 Myrtle Ave., Feb. 13, 7:30 p.m.

This event features storytellers Heather Dockray, Jackson McKeehan, Daniel Guzmán and more speaking about their journeys across continents, countries, states, cities, boroughs or even streets in the quest for a place to call home.

Community Mural Workshop led by South of the Navy Yard Artists (SONYA)

Hadas Gallery at 543 Myrtle Ave., Feb. 16 1-4 p.m.

Local kids in graded K-12 sketched imagery that represented their personal heroes and participants in this workshop will have the chance to create a mural from those sketches. This event is open to all ages and the final mural will be installed on a fence on Myrtle Avenue.

The Influence of the African Diaspora on Fashion (Fashion Discussion) presented by FOKUS Leisure Life at 559 Myrtle Ave., Feb. 21, 6-8 p.m.

This event is a discussion led by fashionistas on "the African Diaspora’s impact on fashion, as well as how their own migratory experiences influence their work." Panelists include Ana Kata of Uchea Nwabuzor, Brandice Henderson of Harlem Fashion Row, Jennifer Nnamani of Beau Monde Society, and Charnier Corey of Leisure Life NYC.

Native Sons & Daughters Remixed (Live Music)

Five Spot Supper Club at 459 Myrtle Ave., Feb. 22, 8 p.m.

This dance party features music from Kiowa Hammons, Don Christian Jones, Ayodele Alli and more.

Cypher, A Night of Spoken Notes (Spoken Word)

Pillow Cafe-Lounge at 505 Myrtle Ave., Feb. 27 7:30 p.m.

Spoken Word will be performed by local artists Ishmael “Ish” Islam, Brittany “Blue” Bellinger, Reynold Martin, Dean Brown and Victor Arumemi.

Exhibits by local artists Ify Chiejina, Jules Joseph, Mirland Terlonge, Amber Doe, Sophia Dawson, Angel Garcia, Lissa Rivera, Teri Sanders, Jose Baez and Steven Mosley of Try Harder NYC will also be displayed on storefront windows along Myrtle Avenue during the month of February.

For more information on Black Artstory Month events visit www.myrtleavenue.org.