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 plane 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 shared more information about the mural itself. Thanks for much for reading, and as always... feel free to leave a comment or two!
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:
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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