When I reached out to Brenda Miller Holmes years ago to inquire about getting involved in her project as a volunteer, I never imagined what would come with it or after. I shared a couple of posts in the past that touched on the Durham Civil Rights History Mural Project, one in July 2014 and the other in September 2014. This year, Myra Weise received an Arts About grant from Downtown Durham, Inc. (DDI) to fund a performance event inspired by the mural. Originally, she wanted to have Brenda create the temporary ground work, but being the equity-conscious person she is, Brenda suggested getting another artist involved and recommended me. At first, I wasn't sure if I could deliver what Myra envisioned, but I got more and more excited after meeting with her, getting an overview of the event, and sketching some ideas out on paper. We even met one weekend for a photo shoot to get images for promotional material (pictured below and also taken by Zoe Litaker Photography).
On the day of the event, Myra was busy going through a super long list of logistical tasks that included things like picking up road barricades and chairs and dropping those off along with supplies and setting up, etc. I arrived on site a little after 10 a.m. and began to mark up the parking lot. The goal was for me to lay out the design in the mock up shown that would both serve as a place the community could color in for a couple of hours before the performance as well as the stage space for the dancers to perform within.
Time flew as I started installing the stage's border. I quickly went through a number of the chalk spray paint cans and began to improvise when I was running out. In the home stretch, one of the men featured in the mural stopped by... Walter Riley, who was in town visiting due to a National Lawyer Guild's convention on civil rights (he's an Attorney who's done incredible work; look him up!). We talked for a while and I learned that he, too, is an artist and paints often with oils.
All in all, it was a great experience. I wrapped up and went to work, and when I finished my shift, I came back to see bits of the performance and to check out Derrick Beasley's exhibition inside of the Durham Arts Council building. Some photos from behind the scenes are in the slideshow below as well as two brochures that were handed out during the event that share more information about the mural itself. Thanks for much for reading, and as always... feel free to leave a comment or two!
Back again with another short post to share what's new. About a week ago, I had the pleasure to be a guest alongside Artist Nate Key on Episode Nine (~54 minutes long) of Open Convo, a podcast hosted by a mutual friend, Elviria Valdaz and edited and produced by her partner, Sidney. Nate and I have been working on a number of art projects with more on the way, so it was a great time to reconnect with Sidney and Elviria and be on the show to talk about our work and upcoming events. Check it out on her site (notes below provide a quick timeline of our conversation) or SoundCloud page!
00:00 - Podcast Welcome & Gratitude from Host, Elviria, "EV" Valdaz
00:50 - Intro of Nate "The Flow" Key & Cynelsa "C y" Broderick
01:47 - EV kicks off open convo with prompt and C y starts off in response
07:11 - Flow joins the convo and tells us more about himself and his artistry
10:31 - Were either of us involved in the recent post-Charlottesville rallies/riots (with a tangent on astrological characteristics)?
19:45 - How does the current state of society inspire us as black artists?
23:04 - What are we trying to communicate with our art? With the state of our country, what do you feel as an individual with your talent that you have to do [or contribute] to create the change [we need]?
29:28 - What does "being creative" mean to you?
30:34 - EV explains that she asked the question about being creative because she feels that sometimes "people create solely to gain instant validation" and shares her experience related to starting a podcast. As an artist/musician, how to you keep the faith or keep it moving and pushing if/when nobody is nobody is watching?
39:24 - Flow responds to the "throwaway culture" our generation currently faces and sees in our youth; and talks about how the speed in which music gets made nowadays changes its quality.
41:17 - EV asks Flow as a musical artist, what his artistry looks like? What does he convey (visual art versus music)? HE BLESSES THE MIC WITH AN A CAPELLA SNIPPET OF HIS MUSIC IN RESPONSE!
42:45 - 'God is so real...'
47:15 - Closing remarks; social media plugging and sharing of upcoming events
53:47 - Thanks for listening; farewell from Sidney
The upcoming events mentioned in this podcast are listed below, as well as the ["Pineapple Express"] t-shirts we launched in connection to the continuation of an expanded Letters, Locks & Lyrics show. To find more information about getting your very own shirt in support of our art, visit: https://teespring.com/thepineappleexpress and click the "I still want one" button. Thanks for checking out this post and stay tuned for more to come!
THIRD FRIDAY POP-UP ART SHOW
--Golden Belt Studios, Building 3, Suite 123
807 East Main Street Durham, NC 27701
6-9PM Sept. 15, 2017 | FREE
OFF THE WALL
300 South McDowell Street Raleigh, NC 27601
7-10PM (Doors will open at 6:30 PM) Sept. 23, 2017| | $10; tickets on Eventbrite
I am throwing it back on this Thursday to discuss the Annual Heritage Film Festival that occurred at the Hayti Heritage Center in Durham, NC over a three-day span in February. This year's festival was the center's 23rd annual and showed films relating to the themes: Blaxploitation; Social Justice and Our Legacy; Afrofuturism and Science Fiction; and Community.
I learned about the festival through Sherri Holmes of Triangle Friends of African American Arts (TFAAA) while mixing and mingling at the Triangle Art Works' 3rd Annual SMASH event. The main reason she specifically shared information about the festival with me was because it 1) wasn't very highly publicized, and 2) would be showing the premiere screening of Living Colors- the Durham Civil Rights History Mural Project Documentary. Last week, the filmmaker, Rodrigo Dorfman, announced that the documentary can now also be streamed online; so if interested, please watch it here on Vimeo!
Almost 20 long and short films were shown and I watched every last one of them (some from home and some [bolded on list] at Hayti)! These films included:
What a jammed-packed Labor Day Weekend (LDW) with friends and family - FRAMILY! My cousin, Shadlyn, spent her vacation paying me a visit, so I tried to make sure we had a good balance of things to do. It was a great time hosting and showing her pieces of my life while also venturing out to enjoy other parts of North Carolina. This post will be a complete recap of our weekend, starting with Sunday (the day before she headed back to Baltimore).
We slept in and did not make it to our scheduled morning church service or community yoga session, but the sleep was very needed. When we finally rolled out of bed, we fixed breakfast and watched 21 Jump Street (I'll only say "I've seen better"). A little after noon, I pulled out a blouse that urgently needed to be stitched, so I did that quickly and we got ready and were off to the Durham Civil Rights History Mural (DCRHM) Project wall. Shadlyn had expressed to me prior that she was upset I signed her up to paint, but I found it necessary that we put in a few volunteer hours in our schedule. In the end, she said that she had a great time helping out on a mural for the first time. Below, find some flicks in the slideshow of the site's progress!
We headed straight to my sister's house to visit her family afterwards. They had fried rice, peppered cajun seafood, and drinks waiting for us. SCORE! While there, my brother in law ran out to buy some fruit that I agreed to help him carve into a "wagon". More visitors came and we had a great time bonding with each other. It wasn't until close to midnight when we headed back home to get some rest. We all had a splendid time and I'm glad we convinced Shadlyn not to hit the road until early Monday morning. It's a blessing to be people rich.
The month of June was surprisingly packed with a number of activities that I had the pleasure of attending and being part of. Those included Wine and Painting at the Hayti Heritage Center, outdoor sketching and exploring with the Triangle Sketch Crawl meet up group, a Community Art Show at the Carrack and the normal leisure art and design. July is proving to be the same, but stay tuned for a follow up post about that!
On June 6th, I visited the Hayti Heritage Center (HHC) for the first time where Triangle Friends of African American Arts (TFAAA) hosted a fun Wine and Painting event. Instructed by Brenda Miller Holmes, Director of the Durham Civil Rights History Mural (DCRHM) Project, we learned about Artist John Wesley Hardrick (1891-1968) and recreated his painting called Forest Pool. It was a pleasant surprise to meet Brenda finally. I had been in touch with her after signing up to volunteer to paint when I heard that the planning and design process for the mural were underway. I am happy to say the mural is currently in the grid-drawing process at the wall and the TFAAA will team up and work on painting it this weekend. The gallery below shows pictures from the TFAAA event. Also, please find two shared Facebook pictures at the very bottom, one from TFAAA and the other from a day of volunteering with the DCRHM Project -- both link to their Facebook pages, so go check them out and hit like!
The next day was the meet up with Triangle Sketch Crawl and we met at Trinity Park. This was also my first time at the small, community park near the Duke's East Campus. I walked around until I found a shady, picturesque place to sit. Below are a few pics I snapped out what I saw and what I drew. In addition, that same weekend was the drop-off for the Carrack's quarter-annual community art show and third birthday, so I took "The Drum That Spoke" over to be displayed.
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