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Photos courtesy T.E.T. Entertainment.
*Image of artist Edward Parker (left), moderator Deidre McPherson (center), and artist Davon Brantley (right), preparing for their artist discussion that will occur during the Black Arts Showcase
It’s Black History Month and the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland will feature a day of talks and programming this Saturday putting the focus on some Black artists from Cleveland with "The Black Arts Showcase.”
"The Black Arts Showcase was created to uplift and highlight talented African American artists in Cleveland through an immersive experience,” said community engagement and education coordinator Bobbi Reagins. “I'm excited about the endless possibilities for the scope of this program and its years to come. My hope is that the Black Arts Showcase not only serves as a program but a vehicle that furthers empowerment, unity, creativity, collaboration, and growth amongst Black artists, now and forever."
This all-day event features a ton of activities including meditation with Valarie Willams, a poetry unplugged open mic session, an artist discussion with Edward Parker and Davon Brantley and moderated by Deidre McPherson, portrait drawing from Life Workshop with Theadis Reagins, A Sparrow’s Fortune writing workshop, and live painting with Nate Austin.
In addition, the event will include vendors and shopping such as Ivy Raheem, Aawful Aaron, Derek Walker, Crystal Miller, Dakar clothing, The Basement Vintage, Freezy Fran, Resi Archer, and more.
“The Black Arts Showcase is an experience for the public and art community to come into contact with more Black representation within the arts and outside of the traditional art world,” said Davon Brantley, a Cleveland artist who has been getting a lot of attention with his numerous and impressive self-portraits.
“There's yoga, meditation, and a panel discussion,” said Brantley. “All these access points expose that we have options in the community to support Black or BIPOC artists without the notion of being too hard to find. This is my first time being a part of the event as a panelist and it feels amazing to be able to discuss with Edward Parker the importance of community and supporting each other when some people do not find it important nor serious.”
This event is another part of moCa’s innovative programming which seems to be always expanding and exploring more ways to engage the community in Cleveland at large.
“By celebrating and making these types of events permanent in institutions' calendars, we help to show the world that Cleveland has a lot of talent to offer that are not just the big names or predominantly white leaders of the art world,” said Brantley. “We have Black artists here in Cleveland that are doing amazing work and deserve to get paid and recognized for that work. Equity is important in the arts, just like in society. If we are not giving Black artists additional support and resources when we have them, then why should Black artists be here in Cleveland? Or want to be in any of the institutions that say they are here for us but are not and do the bare minimum? Celebrating and making these events permanent and at the top of people's agenda helps a lot and says a lot.”
During the event participants can also check out some of the current exhibitions including Sam Falls' “We Are Dust and Shadow.” Falls experiments with the effects of sunlight, rain, and temperature, harnessing weather patterns and environmental conditions to create paintings, sculptures, and photographs in and with nature. This will be on display in the Mueller Family Gallery, Cohen Family Gallery, Kohl Atrium.
Meanwhile, Nina Chanel Abney's “Big Butch Synergy” explores and celebrates expressions of Black masculine women and those who resist hetero- or cis-normative gender roles. Chanel is recognized for their heavily stylized, graphic, geometric shapes against vivid backgrounds overlaid with symbols and patterns. narratives that speak to topics on politics, heritage, race, sexuality, and celebrity. This is on display in the Gund Commons, Kohl Monumental Stair, Lewis Gallery.
There's also “In Pieces of Me,” by Bruno Casiano. In this exhibition Casiano uses painting, collage, and stenciling to explore memories and experiences drawn from his Puerto Rican heritage and upbringing in the small town of Juana Diaz. He emulates silkscreen printing with these materials, highlighting the technique’s importance in traditional Puerto Rican artistic practice. feature mountains, mangos, ceiba trees, caves, lizards, and water.
Also, Amber N. Ford's “Someone, Somewhere, Something” will, interestingly enough, be on display throughout moCa in various unconventional sites to create poignant sound collages that make space for mourning while also supporting catharsis and healing. “Someone, Somewhere, Something” applies this content in a new audio work presented in various unconventional sites throughout the museum to create poignant sound collages that make space for mourning while also supporting catharsis and healing.
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