ATLANTA, GA - "Meet Us at the Festival" as The National Black Arts Festival kicks-off their annual celebration July 29 through August 2, 2009. This year's festivities will take place at Atlanta's Woodruff Arts Center - the South's most dynamic visual and performing arts center.
Festival highlights include the International Marketplace, July 31st through August 2nd with artists and vendors from around the world; a Literary Salon and workshops covering everything from collecting jazz to writing screenplays; the signature Legend Celebration which this year will pay homage to Nina Simone and feature performances from Diane Reeves, Liz Wright, Lisa Simone Kelly and Joi; "Lush Life: The Music of Billy Strayhorn"; and Jazz Around Town with Rio Negro and Kathleen Bertrand.
NBAF will shut down 15th Street, adjacent to the Woodruff Arts Center, for an old-fashioned "block party" with Main Stage performances from Russell Gunn, Julie Dexter, Vinx, Mausiki Scales and the Common Ground Collective, Pepito Gomez, Gritz and Jelly Butter, Heidi Martin, Tracy Wynn, Ras Kofi and DJ's Salah, Vando, Kozmo and Cha-Cha. Additionally, NBAF partners with local music producer Rick Cook to present Rahsaan Patterson and newcomer Choklate July 25th at Center Stage.
The Los Angeles-based Pan African Film Festival returns on July 29th and runs through August 2nd with provocative films and documentaries from around the world, as well as conversations with highly-acclaimed filmmakers, actors and producers. This year's film retrospective, "In Retrospect" honors actor, director & producer Robert Townsend. NBAF screens 20 minutes of Disney's new film The Princess and the Frog and jazz trumpeter Russell Gunn, filmmaker Michael Rivoira and Emory University Associate Professor of Music Theory and African American Music, Dr. Dwight Andrews talk jazz in the now, following Rivoira's new jazz documentary Icons Among Us.
Other conversations include a very special Creatively Speaking with motivational speaker, Les Brown who focuses on the Art of Inspiration. Visual artists Fahamu Pecou and Lynn Marshall Linnemier discuss the process of creating art; singer/songwriter Vinx delivers dialogue and a workshop around songwriting; Farai Chideya and an esteemed panel discuss independent music, film and literature; and writer Nelson George shares his journey as is documented in his new book, City Kid.
For families and children, The Children's Education Village presents "Growing the Dream" -a "hands-on" exploration for children ages 3-12, about the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Children will be able to view and tour a child-sized replica of Dr. King's boyhood home while participating in a variety of interactive experiences. In addition, NBAF will host a workshop for educators on "Growing the Dream" on August 1st. Pre-registered camps and groups are invited to the Children's Education Village on Friday, July 31st. Families can attend free on Saturday, August 1st and Sunday August 2nd.
NBAF partners with Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) again this year to present visual arts of the highest caliber with "Mercy, Patience & Destiny: The Women of Whitfield Lovell's Tableaux" exhibition by MacArthur Fellow Whitfield Lovell at the ACA Gallery of SCAD at Woodruff Arts Center. Lovell will be in conversation with master photographer Carrie Mae Weems on July 30th. The Hagedorn Foundation Gallery will present the works of master photographers Malick Sidibe, Paul D'Amato, Wayne Miller and Dawoud Bey on July 31st. Proceeds from the opening night will benefit the National Black Arts Festival. Additional exhibitions will take place at Hammonds House Galleries, Mason Murer Fine Art, Atlanta Contemporary Arts Center, Avisca Fine Art Gallery, Sandler Hudson Gallery and Madison Morgan Cultural Center.
NBAF's theater component will take center stage with "for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow was enuf", produced by True Colors Theater Company and directed by Jasmine Guy at Southwest Arts Center; "A Cool Drink of Water", directed by Andrea Frye at Horizon Theater; an adaptation for stage of the award-winning children's book, "Mirandy and Brother Wind", directed by Shondrika Moss-Bouldin at 14th Street Playhouse and The Night Writers will be staged at the Alliance Theatre's Hertz Stage.
"Meet Us" at the National Black Arts Festival and experience a cultural celebration that you will not soon forget! For more information or to purchase tickets, visit NBAF.org.