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The NBAF (National Black Arts) 2019 Event Guide is live!

Atlanta, GA – (August 27, 2019) – Check out the annual publication of the NBAF 2019 Event Guide created by the team at the Atlanta ShowGuide.  This issue features the program highlights for the remainder of 2019 year and looks ahead to the exciting events planned for 2020.  Click the link above for more information and to see what we have coming up that you don’t want to miss!

NBAF partners with The Collective Culture to present the Apollo Theater’s stage adaptation of Ta-Nehisi Coate’s critically acclaimed “Between the World and Me” 

Atlanta, GA (August 22, 2019)

The Collective Culture Presents the Apollo Theater’s Stage Adaptation of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Critically-Acclaimed Between the World and Me at Atlanta Symphony Hall Oct. 22, 2019

Atlanta, GA – (August 22, 2019) – The Apollo Theater and The Collective Culture, (Ronald B. Williams, J. Carter and Erin White), today announced that the Apollo’s critically-acclaimed stage adaptation of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me is headed to Atlanta. The special presentation, originally developed and directed by Kamilah Forbes, Executive Producer of the Apollo Theater, and featuring original music composed by MacArthur “Genius” Jason Moran and performed live by his trio, had its world premiere at the Apollo in 2018, and will launch its national tour in Atlanta with other stops across the country to be announced. Forbes will join the tour in Atlanta to discuss the continued significance of Between the World and Me and the cultural relevance of the production, the connection between the Apollo, widely considered the epicenter of Black culture, its hometown Harlem, and Atlanta.

On Tuesday, October 22, 2019, the Apollo Theater and The Collective Culture will present Between the World and Me at Atlanta Symphony Hall at 3:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The cast for the show will also feature some prominent Atlantans, to be named at a later date.

The production deepens the conversation about the experience of being Black in America through the eyes and words of Coates. “We are thrilled to bring this Apollo production to Atlanta and to be part of the conversations on a topic that continues to resonate throughout our country,” said Forbes. “We are grateful to work with partners who enable us to share this important work with communities across the country.”

Based on his award-winning book, the theatrical event Between the World and Me, takes difficult, but necessary conversations around Black life and death and places them center stage. A profound work that pivots from the biggest questions around racism and police violence to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Between the World and Me offers a powerful framework for understanding our nation’s history and asks: What is it like to inhabit a Black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden? Between the World and Me, both the book and the theatrical event, is an eye-opening, emotional look inside these conversations.

Back by popular demand, after sold out runs at the Apollo Theater and Kennedy Center in 2018, this live performance features a cast of actors who bring to life Coates’ words, along with a breathtaking, digital backdrop and music composed and performed live by Jason Moran (Selma, Netflix’s documentary 13th) and his trio, direction by Apollo Executive Producer, Kamilah Forbes (By The Way, Meet Vera Stark; NBC’s The Wiz). Angela Bassett, Common, Black Thought, Joe Morton and Pauletta Washington are just a few of the performers who brought the words of Coates’ critically lauded book to life in the world premiere of Between the World and Me at Harlem’s Apollo Theater.

The production will be remounted at the Apollo Theater October 25-28, 2019. Full casting for all shows will be announced at a later date.

Partners for The Collective Culture’s Presentation of Between the World and Me are: Sundial Brands, Bank of America, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta and the National Black Arts.

NBAF Officially Announces New Direction in Atlanta Business Chronicle 

Atlanta, GA (August 2, 2019)

Fresh off the heels of our 30th anniversary year, we are excited to announce several initiatives that will lead to new growth and opportunities for advancement for the work of artists of African descent. Most importantly, NBAF has worked for several years to become known as more than a summer festival. Thanks to the support of our Board, volunteers, patrons and generous corporate partners, we have become a sustainable year round arts organization!

Over the past year, we’ve worked to cultivate programming that impacts the future through youth education, supports emerging artists and yet still provides festival-like arts programs for the public throughout the calendar year.

And we’ve already enjoyed tremendous success by eliminating the barriers that were imposed by a defined season.

Every step forward furthers our mission to expose, educate, engage and entertain audiences as we present and support fine art and artists of African descent, while broadening cultural experiences for all. Our mission and our fine arts disciplines are the same. We’re just no longer bound by time. To read the rest of our feature, visit the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

CEO Vikki Millender-Morrow Expands NBAF to Year-Round Celebration of Culture.

Atlanta, GA (July 12, 2019)

The National Black Arts Festival (NBAF) provides educational programs in music, dance, film, visual arts, theater and literary arts locally, nationally and internationally for diverse audiences. Founded in 1987 by the Fulton County Arts Council, NBAF began as a one-week summer festival. Today, President and CEO Vikki Millender-Morrow, along with the board, council, partnerships and donors, are working together to transform it into a premier year-round celebration of Black culture.

Rolling out recently sat down with Millender-Morrow to get the scoop on what to expect from NBAF in the coming months.

As the president and CEO, what is your vision for the National Black Arts Festival?

NBAF has been around for more than 30 years and has built a legacy as an organization that provides the opportunity to celebrate the arts and artists of African descent. By featuring artists from the African Diaspora we continue to bring diverse communities together. My vision is to operate in this same light to continue to open more doors through the artistic and educational programs that we offer.

To read the full interview on Rolling Out, click here.

National Black Arts Festival goes year-round as gala returns to Buckhead

Atlanta, GA (June 26, 2019)

The National Black Arts Festival continues to expand beyond its origin as a weeklong series of events, so much so that it’s dropped the word “Festival” from its name and now goes by NBAF.

The NBAF celebrates the African diaspora by showcasing artists in six disciplines: literary arts, dance, music, film, theater and visual arts, and is the oldest organization of its kind in the United States focused on the arts and artists of African descent. The U.S. Congress honored it as a “national treasure” in 2008, and last year it received the Governor’s Award for the Arts and Humanities in Georgia.

To read more, click here.

NBAF Hosts Music Event, Art Gallery in Conjunction with Atlanta Jazz Festival.

Atlanta, GA (May 21, 2019)

The National Black Arts Festival will host two events at the annual Atlanta Jazz Festival in an effort to unify fans of various ages and art disciplines. Jazz and hip-hop make for a rich collaboration at Talkin’ All That Jazz: The Jazz and Hip-Hop Fusion Concert at City Winery on May 23. And on May 25–26, the organization hosts Art in the Park, a pop-up outdoor gallery in Piedmont Park during the jazz fest.

The NBAF, a nonprofit organization that supports art and artists of African descent through education and entertainment, has supported jazz and its role as a social conduit for more than three decades. The organization is seeking ways to transcend the generational divide in jazz music.

To read more, click here.

NBAF Receives General Operating Grant From Its Founding Organization.

 Atlanta, GA (March 14, 2019)

Fulton County announces its continued financial support of the National Black Arts Festival (NBAF) with a $250,000 grant for general operating support for the fiscal year 2019. Fulton County recognizes the importance of NBAF, the oldest multidisciplinary arts organization in the United States focused exclusively on the arts and on artists of African descent. In 2008, the United States Congress honored NBAF as a “national treasure”, and in 2018 NBAF received the Governor’s Award for Arts and Humanities in Georgia. “NBAF is pleased to have this level of support from our visionary founders, Fulton County Board of Commissioners and Arts and Culture. This gift is in support of our transformation from a summer festival to a year-round arts organization that exposes and educates youth by delivering school-based arts programs in underserved areas, supports and elevates emerging visual artists, and creates public arts programs that entertain audiences,” says Vikki Millender-Morrow, President & CEO of NBAF.

To read more, click here.

To learn more about NBAF’s upcoming events, public programs and youth arts education programs, visit our website: www.nbaf.org. Follow us on Facebook and IG.

NBAF Grantee of the 2019 Grant Awards of NEA.

Atlanta, GA (March 3, 2019)

The National Black Arts Festival (NBAF) is pleased to announce that it is a grantee of the 2019 grant awards announced by the National Endowment for the Arts. This announcement of more than $27 million in grants, supports the National Endowment for the Arts in continuing its efforts to provide all Americans with the
opportunity to participate in and experience the arts.

This fiscal year 2019 grants will reach all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. This is the first of two major grant announcements in the fiscal year 2019 and includes three of the agency’s funding categories: Art Works and Challenge America to support projects by nonprofit organizations, and Creative Writing Fellowships. Through these grants, the National Endowment for the Arts supports local economies and preserves American heritage while embracing new forms of creative expression.

“The arts enhance our communities and our lives, and we look forward to seeing these projects take place
throughout the country, giving Americans opportunities to learn, to create, to heal, and to celebrate,” said Mary
Anne Carter, acting chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.

To read more click here.

NBAF Super Bowl Weekend Light Show in Midtown

Atlanta, GA (February 12, 2019)

On February 23 the residents of Atlanta and people from near and far celebrated Super Bowl LIII at Mercedez Benz Stadium and not too far away, NBAF celebrated the connection between sports and the arts at Colony Square. Digital images depicting “Art of the Sport” was projected onto the building.

The images appeared nightly between 6 and 11 p.m. The project was supported by the Woodruff Arts Center — just across the street from Colony Square.

The idea was to show the similarities between the two worlds, both of which depend on “passion, coordination, expression, discipline, talent, teamwork and the human body,” according to the festival.

“Art and sports help transcend and lift; they both bring joy to the human spirit,” said Pellom McDaniels III, Ph.D., curator of African American Collections at Emory University and former NFL player.

The National Black Arts Festival is an Atlanta-based nonprofit organization that for 30 years has brought the art and the artists of the African diaspora to Atlanta audiences.

To view the full AJC article, click here.

NBAF Celebrates 30 Years of Arts and Educational Excellence.

Atlanta, GA (October 28, 2018) The National Black Arts Festival (NBAF) celebrates 30 years of excellence at the elegant  Flourish Atlanta by Legendary Arts venue. The 30th “NBAF: What Makes A Legend” gala focuses on artists of African descent who create and push forth the innovative essence of African and African-American culture.

Among the dynamic artists who contributed their groundbreaking artwork includes Kenyan-born sculptor and painter Grace Kisa, who gleamed as she stated, “The gala reminded me the NBAF was more than an organization, it was a movement.” Artist and founder of YBE Magazine Okeeba Jubalo gave great remarks about the gala, he added, “30 years is a great accomplishment. Reimagining the role of the NBAF and their relationship with Atlanta’s arts community will be the key to another successful 30 years.” Pioneer fashion designer, Cedric Brown, and fine art master Maurice Evans was in attendance as well. Atlanta based fine artist Lillian Blades stated, “The NBAF Gala has raised the bar of excellence, incomparable and unprecedented!”

NBAF has a history of advancing artistic and educational programs in visual arts, music, film, dance theater and literary arts. NBAF is acknowledged as the oldest multidisciplinary arts organization in the United States which advances the arts and contributions of artists of African descent.

Following the art exhibit there was a performance by an all-girls youth band who twirled their cymbals with style and beat on the drums with fierceness and speed.  NBAF is known for supporting the youth and their artistic endeavors which contributes to the next generation of visual, performing and creative arts.

To view the full article in South Fulton Lifestyle, click here.

Artist Lillian Blades Hosts Workshop For Local Atlanta Students.

Atlanta, GA (October 4, 2018) On Wednesday, September 19 youth from the East Point-based nonprofit Future Foundation pitched in to decorate the Atlanta Hawks’ newly renovated $192.5 million home, which hosts its first home game Oct. 24.

They were led by Atlanta artist Lillian Blades, who counts honors from the consulate in her native Bahamas and from the National Black Arts Festival among her awards.

“Art is a way that people express themselves when they may not have the words or platform to convey their feelings. I think that it is really important that children are allowed to have that ‘voice,’” she said in a statement after the Sept. 19 event. “Working with the youth provides a chance to connect with and encourage those that are invigorated by art.”

Blades, students and festival artists Charly Palmer, Okeeba Jubalo and Tracy Murrel worked on what a news release called a “massive collage” during a session at the city’s Jefferson Park Recreation Center.

As in Blades’ other work, like “Quilted Passages” commissioned by Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the sixth- through 12th-grade students assembled mixed media materials.

The piece is part of a “True to Atlanta” series conceived by art consultant Amy Parry.

To view the full article with South Metro Neighbor click here.

About the Future Foundation

Our mission is to level the playing field for metro Atlanta youth by providing quality education, health, and life skills programs. We call ourselves the Future Foundation because we encourage kids to dream about, invest in, and prepare for their futures. We prepare students and parents to have the self-confidence to envision a better life, and stand out from the cycle of negativity and hopelessness, and affect change in their lives and communities. Whether it’s tutoring, college prep, guidance toward healthy choices, or providing a safe space to make those choices, our programs help our students draw on their resilience and thrive in the face of their challenges. We offer programs to help parents build stronger families, and encourage community members to invest in our youths’ future. In this way, we build a foundation for a better future for all of us.

To learn more about the Future Foundation, click here.

After 30 years of serving Metro Atlanta, NBAF Transforms.

Atlanta, GA (September 28, 2018) Over the last three decades, the Atlanta-based National Black Arts Festival has persisted in its mission to advance the contributions of artists of African descent by showcasing Black artists from all over the country in Atlanta.

In the process, it has become a staple in the art community for Black artists, who now have a platform to impress their art into the fabric of society.

Though the mission has always remained the same, the direction of the organization has certainly changed.

One of the driving forces behind that change is CEO Vikki Morrow, whose vision is to work directly with artists to progress their careers, implement programs to foster new talent and reimage what the organization can do for Black artists.

Founded in 1987 by Michael Lomaz, former Chair of the Fulton County Commission and President of the United Negro College Fund, the organization hosted its first biannual festival back in 1988.

Over the course of its 30-year history, the NBAF has engaged in partnerships with the High Museum of Art, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, the Rialto Center of Arts, the Auburn Avenue Research Library, Emory University, Spelman and Morehouse Colleges, and the Atlanta Beltline. The organization’s most significant partnership to date is one that it shares with Atlanta Public Schools (APS).

In honor of NBAF’s 30th anniversary, the organization offered an entire month of festival programming, showcasing a number of events and exhibits that capture NBAF’s past accomplishments and future goals.

To view the full article with The Atlanta Voice, click here.

A Focus On The Future.

Atlanta, GA (September 28, 2018) Over the last three decades, the Atlanta-based National Black Arts Festival has persisted in its mission to advance the contributions of artists of African descent by showcasing Black artists from all over the country in Atlanta. In the process, it has become a staple in the art community for Black artists, who now have a platform to impress their art into the fabric of society.

Though the mission has always remained the same, the direction of the organization has certainly changed. One of the driving forces behind that change is CEO Vikki Morrow, whose vision is to work directly with artists to progress their careers, implement programs to foster new talent and reimage what the organization can do for Black artists.

Under Morrow’s guidance, the organization now focuses more on implementing year-round programming to uplift youth and emerging artists. “(Morrow) is doing an outstanding job of reconnecting the NBAF with the community through partnerships and collaborations,” said Lionell Thomas, director of the Fulton County Arts Council. “She is thoughtful and deliberate in her actions and is perfect for taking the NBAF to the next level.” This year marks the 30th Anniversary of the National Black Arts Festival (NBAF).

With 30 years under its belt, NBAF has existed as a non-profit that provides artistic and educational programming in dance, fashion, film, literature, music and visual arts. Founded in 1987 by Michael Lomaz, former Chair of the Fulton County Commission and President of the United Negro College Fund, the organization hosted its first biannual festival back in 1988.

To view the full article in The Atlanta Voice, click here.

National Black Arts Festival Celebrates 30 Years

Atlanta, GA (September 14, 2018)  The National Black Arts Festival is turning 30.

In 1988, NBAF began as a one-week outdoor festival. The non-profit has since evolved into a celebration of all arts, from theatre to dance, around the city, according to Morrow.

“People always think about the people on the stage or in front of the camera or the artist that had a paintbrush. And we want to expose young people to the full breadth of the creative arts industries,” she said.

The organization has success stories that show the impact of their programs on young people.

To view the full article on Atlanta Plan It, click here.

The National Black Arts Festival turns 30.

Atlanta, GA (September 14, 2018) In 1988, NBAF began as a one-week outdoor festival. The non-profit has since evolved into a celebration of all arts, from theatre to dance, around the city.

Within the last decade, the non-profit has shifted its focus to providing the community with school-based programs, such as the Move/Dance Program that brings dance sessions to middle school students in Atlanta.

To commemorate the 30th anniversary, this year’s festival season included events, ranging from a jazz show to an art exhibit. Here’s what to expect from this year’s festival event lineup.

To view the full article from WABE click here.

NBAF 30th Anniversary Includes Exhibitions, Concerts, and Beltline Parade.

Atlanta, GA (September 10, 2018) The 30th-anniversary season of the National Black Arts Festival is gearing up with several noteworthy events slated for September.

The exhibition Without Stopping curated by Jonell Logan at the Westside Cultural Arts Center features the work of Atlanta-based and national artists who are exploring contemporary social, political and theoretical issues through their work. The show will be on view through September 24, with a special collectors’ reception on Saturday, September 15 at 3 p.m. Featured artists include Lillian Blades, Alfred Conteh, Ya La’Ford, Shanequa Gay, Mario Moore, Roni Nicole Henderson, Fahamu Pecou, Charly Palmer, Cheryl Riley, William Paul Thomas, Zipporah Camille Thompson, Cedric Umoja and Cosmo Whyte.

Another exhibition, Thirty Years of NBAF: Experience the Journey, running September 22 through October 15 at Chastain Arts Center, will feature a look back through photos, video and commissioned art pieces from throughout the festival’s 30-year history. A reception for the exhibition takes place on Thursday, September 27 at 6 p.m. A night of jazz at the High Museum on Friday, September 21, celebrates the festival’s long and storied connection to the art form. Jamal Ahmad from Jazz 91.9 WCLK hosts a lineup featuring different styles of jazz including bebop, freeform and the genre-blending sounds of horn player Christopher Allison.

To view the full article from Burn Away, click here.

Couture And Celebrating Young Talent Come Together In Fine Art & Fashion

Atlanta, GA (April 3, 2018) In March 2018, I had the opportunity to visit the National Black Arts Festival’s special event, “Fine Art & Fashion”. It was a unique opportunity to collaborate with a foundation focused on changing the lives of promising talent while focusing on providing unique opportunities to advance the arts of artists of African descent.

Held at Lenox Square’s Neiman Marcus, the event drew a diverse, stylish crowd, including several members of the GPB community. Morning Edition host Leah Fleming had the honor of hosting the evening’s affairs and was enthusiastic about collaborating with NBAF.

Additionally, the event was attended by those behind and in front of the cameras on GPB’s original show A Seat at the Table, including host Monica Pearson and producer Tiffany Brown Rideaux, as well as GPB President and CEO Teya Ryan.

After photo opportunities and hors d’oeuvres, guests made their way to the top floor of Neiman Marcus to recognize both contributors to the NBAF as well as the students recognized. As commemorative portraits were presented to the honorees, the ceremony also highlighted another GPB connection: Jessica Gurrell, one of GPB’s talented graphic designers, created some of the art used for the portraits. For other awards, the portrait art was created by Afua Richardson, a comic book artist with work in print from a variety of publishers and who is working on Marvel’s current Black Panther series. While Gurrell was not present, I spoke to Richardson after the show who was both humbled and excited to attend the event. The popularity of the recent Marvel film was not lost on the crowd, as guests buzzed in excitement over the portraits.

To view the full article from GBP, click here.

NBAF Pegs Fahamu Pecou For It’s Visual Artist Award

Fahamu Pecou, photographed by Alex Martinez

Atlanta, GA (February 8, 2018) The National Black Arts Festival, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, has selected Fahamu Pecou as the winner of this year’s Visual Artist Award. This year the award comes with a $5,000 cash prize, which will be presented to Pecou at the festival’s Fine Art + Fashion event on March 15 at Neiman Marcus.

The Atlanta artist, known for his figurative paintings that reference hip hop, African traditions and the perception of black men, recently received his PhD from Emory University’s Institute of Liberal Arts in visual scholarship, visual culture, anthropology, and race & gender.

Do or Die: Affect, Ritual, Resistance,” a traveling survey of his work organized by the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art in Charleston, will appear at the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University, January 19 – April 28, 2019. A book of Pecou’s work, Visible Man, arose from his dissertation and was published in conjunction with the exhibition.

To view the full article from Burn Away, click here.

Atlanta BeltLine Inc. and NBAF Host Art on the BeltLine.

Atlanta, GA (December 11, 2017) Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. (ABI) and the National Black Arts Festival (NBAF) launched  a new collaboration to enhance Art on the Atlanta BeltLine in Atlanta BeltLine neighborhoods. Working together, the two organizations will reach more communities and more artists, share resources and knowledge, and support and promote artists to continually push for a positive, diverse public art experience in Atlanta.

ABI is in the process of reevaluating its public art program with the goal of greater equity, access, and inclusion across the cultural sector. ABI has held meetings in order to receive feedback from communities with their suggestions for Art on the Atlanta BeltLine and other programming.

Results of the Art on the Atlanta BeltLine community engagement process highlighted an opportunity for greater outreach and connection to a more diverse group of artists from the juried selection through the final visual and performance works. ABI and NBAF will work to accomplish these goals by bringing together world-class art professionals, enriching artistic programming, and greater diversity in planning and implementation. This new partnership is the first step in a series of new collaborations that will reshape how Art on the Atlanta BeltLine connects with the broader community.

To view the full article from Atlanta BeltLine, click here.