• Press Room

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.

NBAF Receives The Governor’s Award For Arts And Humanities.

Atlanta, GA (October 9, 2018) NBAF is proud to be selected as a recipient of this year’s Governor’s Awards for the Arts & Humanities. Our sponsors, donors, board of directors and professional team are excited to share this award with our youth participants, volunteers, artists who have partnered with us, and community members who support the arts through NBAF. To receive this award during our triennial celebration represents an opportunity to honor those who have provided the platform for our organization to succeed in this present moment. NBAF was founded by the Fulton County Arts Council under the guidance of Michael Lomax and the Fulton County Board of Commissioners. We are indebted to his vision for NBAF and their commitment to the arts. We are also honored to be recognized alongside our peers who have uplifted their communities as arts advocates, educators, and public servants in Georgia; and we remain inspired by their invaluable contributions to the arts and humanities. To Governor and Mrs. Nathan Deal, the Office of the Governor, the Georgia Council for the Arts, Georgia Humanities, and the Selection Committee—NBAF offers special thanks for considering us for this prestigious award.

As we begin our new journey towards hosting 30 more years of arts programming, NBAF will cherish this award as motivation to fulfill our goals surrounding arts education and community outreach.

About the Governor’s Awards

The Governor’s Awards for the Arts and Humanities honor outstanding individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to Georgia’s civic and cultural vitality through excellence and service to the arts and humanities.  Presented by the Office of the Governor in partnership with Georgia Council for the Arts and Georgia Humanities, the Governor’s Awards recognize the value of the arts and humanities in the creation of a thriving economy and their contributions to education, innovation, growth and quality of life.  The Governor’s Awards pay tribute to the most distinguished citizens and organizations that have demonstrated a lifetime commitment to work in these fields.

To view the other 2018 recipients, click here.

View the article in Northside Neighbor, 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 he full article from Atlanta BeltLine, click here.