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June 2021 Arts InFocus

JUNE 2021

Each month, ArtsGreensboro brings you stories about artists, arts organizations, and individuals whose lives are infused with creativity. Join us in celebrating our vibrant city.

Artist In Focus

BY BRAYLIN CAMPBELL
UNCG STUDENT AND ARTSGREENSBORO INTERN

In the midst of 2020’s chaos, America faced the hard truth of the virus that continues to marginalize and oppress minorities today, racism. Due to the fatal deaths of Ahmaud Arberry, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many others, the world was awakened by the brutal realities Black people continue to face. In outrage of the political injustice within society, nations across the globe showed their solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement by protesting and speaking up against the lack of inclusion and representation of minorities. Amidst protesting and initiating uncomfortable yet informative dialogue, these conversations led to the recognition of black voices. 

A year later, ArtsGreensboro continues to amplify the voices of black creatives by recognizing the importance of their representation and inclusion into the conversation of the arts. Within the surrounding Greensboro colleges and universities, lies many dynamic and unique black student creatives that are deserving of recognition. For example, UNCG student photographer Jaden Stephens exemplifies passion and authenticity through her work. “I think it’s important for my work to be put out there and shared to inspire upcoming generations, especially girls and young women. I want them to understand they can create things however they see fit and become whoever they want to be, creating whatever story or narrative they want,” stated Jaden. Behind many black creatives such as Jaden lies a story that is worth exploring.  

If you’d like to check out more black student creatives, please visit the ArtsGreensboro creatives directory here. {link here} 

ArtsGSO Black Student Creatives Directory

Arts Happening

EASTERN MUSIC FESTIVAL RETURNS TO THE STAGE THIS SUMMER

BY: KELLY SWINDELL, EMF MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR

When musician and educator Sheldon Morgenstern established The Guilford Musical Arts Center, now Eastern Music Festival (EMF), in 1961 on the campus of Guilford College, he had one goal: to start a summer music camp where the focused study would be oriented towards the young musician, something he had not experienced at other such summer camps. Sixty years later, EMF continues that tradition, bringing hundreds of exceptional young artist musicians (ages 14 – 23) from around the globe here in Greensboro to study and perform classical music.  

After canceling the in-person 2020 Festival due to the COVID-19 pandemic, EMF is coming home to the Guilford College campus from June 26 through July 31, 2021. The nationally recognized festival celebrates 60 years of musical excellence this season. Although this summer at EMF will look a little different from a regular five-week season, the Festival will produce more than 35 live concerts with stellar faculty artists and some of the nation’s most talented and dedicated young musicians. Performances will include full orchestras, chamber ensembles, and solo recitals.  

EMF is thrilled to be among the first arts organizations in the Triad to return to live and in-person concerts and educational programs this summer. Audiences, students, faculty, and staff are excited for the return to the Dana Auditorium stage and expect this summer to be a memorable experience. EMF has appreciated the enduring generosity of long-time patrons and partner funders to make it to this year’s return to the new normal.  

 

To learn more about this season’s concert programming and more, visit https://easternmusicfestival.org/calendar/. Tickets on sale now! (Seating is limited in accordance with current guidelines.) 

AG Making it Work

BY KATE TOBEY, LOCAL ARTIST, CREATIVE STORYTELLER, AND MEMBER OF THE ARTSGREENSBORO BOARD

When Laura Way and the ArtsGreensboro team came to me about an idea for their “Arts Through It All” campaign, I thought first of my friends and fellow artists, with whom I’d found ways to keep creating in some shape or form throughout the past year—collaborating virtually and making music from a social distance.  

Then I got to work with some of them. Brandon Davis, J. Timber, J. Vann (Vann Go), and I teamed up to write, compose, perform and produce an original song, Through It All, and accompanying video that embodies the sentiment that’s been echoing through ArtsGreensboro, our communities, and our minds: We’re here for each other through it all.  

It’s been an unprecedented year for everyone. We’ve seen a staggering number of lives lost, a country in turmoil, and so many cherished arts and life experiences canceled or postponed. Still, so many local artists and creatives have shown up, brought communities together at the most crucial times, and helped people express their collective grief, pain, and hope. 

As my fellow artist, producer, and co-creator of Through It All, J. Vann, put it: “What better way to participate in the healing and rebuilding of our community than through music?” 

When we asked the community to submit photos and videos showing how they stayed creative during their time in quarantine, they delivered. 

My fellow artist and longtime friend, J. Timber, co-created and performed vocals and guitar for Through It All. He told me art and music provide a snapshot of our community. “It’s a freeze-frame of how people feel and what they are going through,” he said. “Art has always helped make sense of things.” 

Our fellow artist and co-creator of the song, Brandon Davis, added that art and creativity are unifying forces. “Art is important because it crosses all barriers. It’s something that we all have and learning to express that creativity with one another is a beautiful process.” 

We’re feeling inspired by all that has happened and driven by everything there is left to do. I can’t think of a time in my life when communities have needed honest conversations, radical restructuring, and provocative expression more than they do right now. We’re lucky to have such a vibrant and diverse creative community to be the foundation of our cities and help satisfy these needs. They shape our identity as a place and make us who we are from the inside out. Now, our local creative community and infrastructure need real investment.  

ArtsGreensboro is talking with county and city leadership to advocate for allocating government funds to ensure the health and sustainability of our creative sector. With this music video and their continuing advocacy work, ArtsGreensboro is leading by example by empowering—and paying—local artists to create and raise awareness that the arts need vital support.   

Here are three ways you can support your local creative community right now:   

Share the story.

Share theThrough It All music video on social media and elsewhere. Tag ArtsGreensboro, the featured artists, and the other creative people you want to celebrate in your life.  

Raise your voice.

Click Here to submit your creative photos or videos and share your thoughts on why art is an important part of our community. Follow ArtsGreensboro on Instagram and Facebook to stay up to date on city council meetings you can attend (virtually or in-person) to advocate for funding and other policies that support our local arts.   

Donate.

Support theArtsFund at whatever level is meaningful to you. Your donation will help our local arts community recover, rebuild, and reinvent for the future. 

The post-pandemic renaissance is coming, and we’re here for it. As we re-enter and reimagine our future, I can assure you the artists in our midst will continue to show up for their community. So let’s all do our part to make sure their community shows up for them, too. 

Learn more about Kate TobeyJ. TimberBrandon Davis and J. Vann (Vann Go). 

My Art Story

BY DABNEY SANDERS, DOWNTOWN GREENWAY PROJECT MANAGER

The arts have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.  While not professional artists, my parents are both very artistic.  I grew up attending performances and museums.  My parents have served on boards and as volunteers with arts organizations throughout their lives.  So I think I gained an appreciation and a passion for involvement with the arts by example and experience. Sadly, I don’t have artistic talent in the traditional performing or visual arts, but I love cooking and entertaining, which is my creative outlet.   

I have been fortunate in Greensboro to have the opportunity to be in leadership roles in a variety of arts organizations over the years:  GreenHill Center for NC Art, The Weatherspoon Art Museum, Triad Stage, Eastern Music Festival, Public Art Endowment, and Greensboro Bound. 

Public Art has been a critical element of the Downtown Greenway since its inception.  In my role as Project Manager, I have had the pleasure of working with artists locally and from across the country to tell community stories, create destinations, and add beauty and value to functional items like benches and bike racks.  Public Art sets our community apart and is one of the things I most look forward to discovering in places that I visit.   

Ansel Adams said, “Chance favors the prepared mind,” and I have always loved that quote and tried to use it as a guide. 

Juneteenth Awareness and Arts Program 

The Juneteenth Awareness and Arts program, offered by Theatre of Movement, is a 3-module residency where participants will learn about the significance of Juneteenth, practice creative skills in the arts, and discuss or share their experiences with others. The program focuses on a model of “Learning, Leading, and Leveraging” in art, education, and social/restorative justice. Led by artistic director Duane Cyrus, this program is committed to raising awareness and understanding for all members of the many communities that make up our region. Cyrus states, “Juneteenth is significant to all of us because there were former enslaved Americans who were deprived of the knowledge of their freedom for two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Having access and awareness is the first key to exercising our rights in society.” 

The Juneteenth Awareness and Arts program is offered year-round and can be presented online or in a “hybrid” format that combines in-person activity with online components. Theatre of Movement instructors leads participants through the lessons and creative action, share professional-level creative work, and work with organizations and schools to create a safely distanced, educational, and engaging experience.  

For more info and to book a Juneteenth Awareness Residency visit  https://www.theatreofmovement.org/programs_juneteenth 

Additional information on JuneteenthGSOFest can be found here https://m.facebook.com/JuneteenthGSOFest/ 

 theatreofmovement.info@gmail.com or visit:  https://www.theatreofmovement.org. 

Juneteenth Video Description: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7Uo2Anm9EY&t=5s