The music of the National Black Arts Festival is the heartbeat of the world. NBAF presents music across genres each year including jazz, blues, gospel, folk, classical, funk, pop, hip hop and R&B. A stellar list of national and international musicians have performed throughout the city of Atlanta in concert halls, clubs, parks, churches and the Festival’s host hotel.
Film programming has acquired a durable life in the NBAF. It explores the burgeoning field of African-American filmmaking and showcases the works of several generations of cinematographers, writers, directors and actors. This component features a mix of symposiums, screenings, sneak previews, and the premiere of full-length and short films, videos and documentaries from the U.S. and abroad. It has surveyed an invigorating range of films that span from classics to new cutting edge works.
NBAF partners with the popular Los Angeles-based Pan African Film Festival, the largest event in the United States dedicated to the exhibition of black films to curate its film offerings.
Held in Galleries and Museums throughout the metropolitan Atlanta area, the visual art component of NBAF presents exhibitions by visual and folk artists of African descent and make available some of the most important collections of art. The visual art programming collaborates with artists and art institutions across the nation and a host of local galleries, including the rich collections of the university community in Atlanta.
Featured events include exhibitions; gallery crawls that tour some of Atlanta’s finest studios, museums and home collections; the popular Artists’ Market featuring works selected from more than 100 national and international visual artists who attend the festival to show and sell their works and the fine art fair.
In the 23 year history of the National Black Arts Festival (NBAF) presenting dance, we have watched the history of the black dance form unfold. The likes of Katherine Dunham, Pearl Primus, Garth Fagin, Alvin Ailey, Judith Jamison, Dianne McIntyre, Forces of Nature, Urban Bush Women, Evidence, Ballethnic, Chuck Davis, George Faison, Philadanco, Rennie Harris and so many more artists, choreographers and dance companies have graced our stages. The presentation, commissioning and dance residencies at the National Black Arts Festival has aided in building a national audience for contemporary black dance. Additionally, NBAF’s presentation of African, Caribbean and Latin American choreographers and dance companies have illustrated the continuum of the African Diasporic experience.
A new class of choreographers have hit the scene and are boldly adding their voices to the vocabulary of the art form. Their work fuses together the lessons in movement and technique adopted from those who came before with work embodying the essence of today’s “in your face” politics, hip hop beats, out of control globalization, cultural freedom and multiculturalism/racism/sexism/capitalism. We look forward to presenting their work!
They say the world is a stage. National Black Arts Festival has presented the world on its stages-from the works of Pearl Cleage and the Negro Ensemble Company to Children’s Theater, Hip Hop Theater and plays from around the world such as South Africa based playright Yael Farber’s AMAJUBA. NBAF has brought new work and the classics to life.
NBAF’s theatre programming will expand to cultivate connections between artists and audiences through workshops, seminars and after-the-show discussions while providing opportunities for playrights to read and develop new work.
Education and Public Programs
NBAF’s year-round Education and Public Programs are structured to provide children, families, educators and the general public with the means to explore and understand the history and cultures of Africa and the African Diaspora. NBAF’s educational programming employs Experiential Education, a philosophy and a mythology in which the participants are purposefully engaged in direct experiences and focused reflection in order to increase knowledge, develop skills and clarify values. NBAF’s multi-faceted educational programs include: Professional Development Courses, Adult Workshops, Study Tours, an annual Summer Institute, and the ever-popular Children’s Education Village. NBAF serves approximately 12,000 people each year through its Education and Public programs.
NBAF’s Humanities programs allow us to go beyond the stage and beyond the wall, taking audiences into the creative process. Humanities programming includes conversations, panels and lectures. The very popular ‘Creatively Speaking Series’ began in 2004 and has evolved to an eagerly anticipated program of the NBAF.
The literary component of the NBAF presents a truly extraordinary gathering of writers of all genres, genders, geographical backgrounds and ages brought together to celebrate and explore the vitality of the African-American literary tradition. Leading literary figures converge in conversations, panel discussions, readings, book signings and performances. It features a huge book fair of African-American titles including novels, scholarly works, fiction, short stories, poetry and children’s books