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Black Arts Matter Festival goes virtual this year to build community for Black artists

courtesy: MGN Online
courtesy: MGN Online(KNOE)
Published: Oct. 30, 2020 at 8:04 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The Black Arts Matter Festival is one week away and will feature three virtual events to raise up Black art.

According to a news release, University of Wisconsin- Madison alumna Shasparay Irvin, an artist and slam poet, co-produced the festival along with the Wisconsin Union Theater. Irvin created the festival while she was a student and debuted it in 2019.

Irvin said the creation of the festival is meant to build a community around Black artistry and said she observed a lack of diversity in Madison-area arts performances.

“I decided to create this festival to prioritize Black voices in a predominantly white space, especially a white-centric arts space,” she said.

The first event of the festival will take place on at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5 for a play. Artist Ebony Stewart’s one-woman show named “Ocean” will feature themes of maternal love, motherhood and womanhood. Stewart will also participate in a Q&A after her performance.

The second event at 6 p.m. Nov. 12 will be a live concert performed by saxophonist and singer Braxton Cook. He will also hold a workshop about looping, or a short segment of music played seamlessly on repeat, in addition to a Q&A.

The festival continues at 7 p.m. on Nov. 17 where eight artists from across the country will compete in a poetry slam for cash prizes. The winner will receive the honor of being named the Second Annual Black Arts Matter Festival poetry slam winner.

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