Call for Ideas: Black Artstory Month 2020

Thu, Oct 31st, 2019

IamaMan, by Steven Mosley from Black Artstory Month 2013

Call for Ideas, Artworks, Partners:
SOME WORDS: BLACK ARTSTORY MONTH 2020

SOME WORDS born in this neighborhood have changed the world. 

In the 1890s, civil rights activist and journalist Ida B. Wells relocated to nearby Gold Street, being mentored by Brooklyn’s own Dr. Susan McKinney, where she continued her mission to share SOME WORDS on the necessity of civil, suffrage and anti-lynching rights for Blacks in the U.S that sparked political awareness and upheavals. In the 1930s from a park bench in Fort Greene, Richard Wright wrote SOME WORDS that redirected conversations about systemic racism. Starting in the 1950s, Little Anthony and the Imperials sung SOME WORDS that inspired countless generations of musicians after to remake and remix them. Throughout the 1990s native young sons and daughters from Black Star to Biggie Smalls to Lil’ Kim spit SOME WORDS on street corners, rising to fame, changing the game, and inspiring generations to follow. Already a prolific writer on Black culture, Nelson George put SOME WORDS to screen in 2011 to visually manifest a Black creative Brooklyn Boheme scene nurtured right here in Fort Greene.  

Entire histories are created and carried by SOME WORDS, even if they are not always written. SOME WORDS carry lineages, memories, and traditions via oral histories sitting around fires, in a quilting circle, at barbershops or salons, or standing on a street corner. Throughout history, there are moments when writing, speaking, or singing SOME WORDS was an act of transgression that became an act of rebellion that became a signal of freedom of possibility of self-possession. Fort Greene and Clinton Hill have long-held space for Black artists that have creatively and courageously wielded their words in pursuit of this higher cause. Black Artstory Month 2020 is honoring that legacy while thinking critically about SOME WORDS in our present and future. 

At a time when 150 characters or less can make some feel powerful and equally others feel powerless, we challenge you to use your words. Speak them, shout them, chant then, write them, print them, tag them, sing them, share them with us. But whatever you do, don’t bite your tongue.

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: Program, Event & Partnerships Ideas

Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership is seeking ideas, artworks and curatorial partners to build a series of free arts & culture programs to take place in February 2020 on or near Myrtle Avenue in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. Potential venues and locations include small businesses, construction fences, storefront windows, event spaces, galleries, and more. In the recent past, Black Artstory Month has included events on four Friday evenings. This year, we’re interested in two Friday events (possibly opening and closing), and we are open to other event timeslots and formats throughout the month. The ideas below are meant to inspire and serve as a guide. We welcome submissions that can be presented digitally, in installation, as an event or any combination of all these. 

    • Poetry salon
    • A DJ’d vinyl night playing a curated selection of local artists past and present
    • Playlists featuring local musicians past and present
    • Social media posts featuring text, quotes, poems by Black writers past and present 
    • Oral history stations within businesses along the avenue that visitors can listen to/download
    • A marathon reading of the works of an author
    • A panel conversation with graffiti writers about transforming words into visual abstracted statements
    • A curated reading list featuring local Black poets and writers
    • A cold read night of in-progress plays or screenplays of aspiring filmmakers/playwrights
    • Acapella performances in public spaces
    • Poetry printed and displayed on fences or storefronts
    • Exhibits of artworks inspired by or incorporating words (textiles, paintings, prints, photography, Concrete Poetry)

TO SUBMIT

Send a brief description of your digital/installation/event proposal to blackartstorymonth@myrtleavenue.org.  Discuss how it connects to the curatorial theme, include participating or featured artists and partners, and describe artworks (existing or new) in detail (medium, size, text). Please describe your preferred venue(s), if proposing an installation or event. Include a short budget that includes estimated expenses associated with your proposal, including curatorial fees, artists fees, materials, equipment rentals, de/installation costs, printing, etc. Photos are welcome. The total production budget for Black Artstory Month 2020 is $4,000, which will support 4-6 projects/events. Deadline for the submission of ideas is November 20, 2019. 

ABOUT BLACK ARTSTORY MONTH

The title for Black Artstory Month 2020, Some Words, is inspired by Audre Lorde’s poem Coal, Black Artstory Month is an annual series that elevates and celebrates this neighborhood’s long-standing history as a haven for Black artistry, with past themes including Brooklyn style, healing, notions of home, and remembering. This cycle’s thematic focus was developed by Daonne Huff, who co-created Black Artstory Month with Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership in 2013. Check out past programs here

Many thanks to the Black Artstory Month 2020 Advisory Committee: Daonne Huff (Studio Museum Harlem), LeRoy McCarthy (local cultural advocate), Carol Thomas (Just Because Salon), Synyah Jordan (youth member), and Mutale Kanyanta (Locals Market) (additional members to be announced).

Freedom Band mural by Ashton Agbomenou, Black Arstory Month 2016

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