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'Black Artstory Month' Celebrates Legacy of African-American Artists

By Alexandra Leon | January 26, 2016 9:33am
 Black Artstory Month celebrates the legacy of black artists by bringing art exhibits, films, performances and discussions to Myrtle Avenue in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill.
Black Artstory Month celebrates the legacy of black artists by bringing art exhibits, films, performances and discussions to Myrtle Avenue in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill.
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Courtesy Steven Mosley

FORT GREENE — Long before filmmaker Spike Lee or rapper Biggie Smalls brought their talents to the area, Fort Greene and Clinton Hill have been home to a vibrant community of African-American artists.

For the fourth year in a row, “Black Artstory Month” celebrates the neighborhoods' legacy by bringing free cultural events to Myrtle Avenue each Friday in February, coinciding with Black History Month.

Hosted by the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership, Black Artstory features performances, talks, film screenings, and public art exhibitions by African-American artists.

This year’s title is “Some Assembly Required,” signifying the importance of community building and the arts’ ability to expose, question and inspire when other forms of communication or action fall short. 

“The kind of change that is needed today can’t be done alone, can’t be done as an individual,” curator Daonne Huff said in a statement.

“It requires planning, building and a collection of hearts, minds and bodies.”

This year’s "Black Artstory Month" events include:

INSIDE/OUTSIDE Self-Guided Artwalk along Myrtle Avenue, Feb. 1 to Feb. 29 

A group of 15 New York-based artists have assembled interior and exterior murals and art installations on Myrtle Avenue between Flatbush Avenue Ext. and Classon Avenue. The artwork will explore the need for communities to gather and build themselves in both private and public spaces. An additional exhibit will be located at BLDG 92 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Black Artstory Month Kickoff: Meet Me at the Gym at Ingersoll Community Center, Feb. 5, 7 to 9 p.m.

Black Artstory Month kicks off with a night of performance, art and community building featuring gospel group Manifest, Sophia Dawson and her Roller Skating Crew, Victorious Dance Company, live painting by Ashton Agbomenou, art workshops with SONYA (South of the Navy Yard Artists), and more. All ages are welcome. To RSVP, click here.

Conversation: Art as Protest, Protest as Art at Leisure Life, Feb. 12, 7 to 9 p.m.

A panel of artists will discuss the collective power of radical artistic communities by sharing their experiences. The talk will be moderated by Erica Cardwell and feature performance artist Jamal T. Lewis, community organizer Janisha R. Gabriel, and NYPL exhibitions manager Isissa Komada-John. To RSVP, click here.
Film: re-work/re-frame at Pratt Institute’s Film/Video Center, Feb. 19, 7 to 9 p.m.

Short films and documentaries by Yisa Fermin, Lindsay Catherine Harris and Esteban del Valle will review and re-frame perceptions of black lives. To RSVP, click here.

Performance: The Glass Eye featuring Hot Hands & members of Victorious Dance Company at BLDG 92, Feb. 26, 7 to 9 p.m.

The Glass Eye delves into the disembodiment of the black body through police violence as witnessed by the police body camera. The multi-disciplinary performance will feature song, dance and film that capture cases of police violence and the subsequent protests that followed. To RSVP, click here.